Don Disney, coordinator of athletics in Howard County, had a difficult decision Monday. With weather people telling everyone about a storm advisory and the possibility of freezing rain, Disney had to decide by 1 p.m. Monday if athletic events that day would proceed.
He decided to play it safe, postponing all games and canceling practices.
"No way did we want to get caught in an ice storm," said Disney. "The weather people were calling for ice. There was an advisory out. It turned out they were wrong, and it made us look bad."
It rained Monday, with the temperature staying just above freezing.
"By three o'clock, they called off the ice storm and said it was going to be rain," Disney said. "I felt bad about it. But I've got to make my decision by one o'clock."
Glenelg girls basketball coach Randy Wallenhorst was understanding of Disney's situation.
"He's got a tough call," Wallenhorst said. "I know from past
experiences that he's trying to make the best decision with the safety of the kids in mind. Don's always said safety comes before athletics. That's his main concern."
A concern for Wallenhorst, as well as other coaches, is the practice time lost this week.
"We haven't practiced since last Friday," said WallenhorstWednesday night. "On Saturday, we served breakfast to a homeless shelter in Baltimore, so we didn't practice.
"This hurts us because I wanted to put in some defensive things and another offense. It has really set us back at least a week."
The Gladiators' lack of practice was evident early in the game last night against Westminster but they recovered for a 54-47 victory.
Enjoying the day off
Oakland Mills indoor track coach Sam Singleton was happy to have the day off Wednesday.
"I welcomed this snow day," said Singleton Wednesday night.
Singleton was tired from overseeing last week's exchange program, sponsored by Pangaea Inc., that brought a Russian delegation of 24, including 19 athletes, to the United States. The visiting athletes stayed with families of the Oakland Mills indoor track team.
"Everything ended up very well," said Singleton. "We had a good time, and it was a good experience for the kids and everyone involved."
Melisa Hampshire, who throws the shot put for the Scorpions, housed two girls.
"I thought it was really cool," said Hampshire. "It showed how different our culture is from theirs. Just the way they practice is a lot different then we do. Their eating habits. . . it was weird. Every morning they had pancakes with sour cream on them."
Hampshire said the girls brought a photo album and showed her their families. She said the language difference was a challenge, but they used sign language to help understand.
Hampshire remembers waking up last Saturday and seeing the snow and ice and figuring -- correctly so -- that practice had been canceled.
"I tried to explain to them that there was no practice, but they wanted to run and I had to go out and run with them," Hampshire said. "I was there stretching [before the run] and they were looking at me like I was crazy. They didn't warm up. They just ran."
Hampshire said the girls loved the Columbia mall, enjoyed playing with the family dog and watching movies.
"We took them to see the new James Bond movie," Hampshire said. "They liked it."
Mike Dusenberg, who runs the 500 meters and the 1,600 relay, was host to a national discus champion.
"It was good. It was interesting," said Dusenberg. "He spoke a lot of English. His mother is an English teacher."
The visiting athletes spent 10 days in Columbia and returned to Russia last Sunday. Asked if he would do it again, Singleton said, "Probably not. The experience was good, but it was a bunch of work. I don't think everyone realized how much was involved until they got here. I needed a couple days of rest."