Anne Arundel decides to sit out

County joins others in postponing games

Terrorism Strikes America

September 15, 2001|By Katherine Dunn and Pat O'Malley | Katherine Dunn and Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Hours before teams were to take the field, Anne Arundel County school officials and some area private schools decided that yesterday was not a day for playing games.

"We felt that with the president's call for national day of prayer and remembrance that it was inappropriate to have competitive contests against other schools," said Jon Garman, Friends School athletic director. "Today should be a day of unity, and we just didn't feel that kind of competition would fit in with the solemnity of this day."

Some counties, such as Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George's, decided not to allow their teams to play yesterday and today. Some other Maryland counties and private schools decided not to play yesterday but to play today.

Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Harford County and Howard County played their games as scheduled.

"As a school system, we feel it's important for our students to feel a sense of safety and assurance by continuing the regular school day," said Ron Belinko, coordinator of athletics for the Baltimore County public schools. "What we're doing is we're trying to provide a healthy diversion in assisting our students in dealing with this sense of loss and sadness."

Officials of the metro area's two independent school leagues, the boys Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the girls Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, left the decision to play to the individual schools.

Most school officials chose to go ahead with their schedules. Friends, Roland Park, Bryn Mawr and Gilman were among the few schools opting not to.

At Roland Park, the first day of the annual Sally Nyborg Tournament, in which the Reds' No. 2 field hockey team was to play No. 1 Severna Park, was canceled.

The tournament will proceed today but without Severna Park or Montgomery County's Bethesda-Chevy Chase, The Washington Post's No. 1 team. Severna Park had been scheduled to play BCC today.

"We look forward to playing in that tournament and the states every year, but I understand the situation, " said Severna Park coach Lil Shelton, whose team cannot make up the lost games because of a tight schedule. "I don't know why they did this unless they thought something else could happen or out of respect. I know watching the national prayer service on television today brought tears to my eyes.

"But these kids need to move on and get back to normalcy."

Gilman postponed yesterday's events but will make up its football game tonight at 7 at Loch Raven.

The Gonzaga at Loyola football game was moved from today to tomorrow at 2 p.m. Gonzaga had a student and a faculty member with relatives who perished on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon and another who was on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center and is missing.

"We didn't practice Tuesday or Wednesday and felt our kids needed some time to focus before returning to normal, " said Gonzaga athletic director Jerry Radford, who appreciated Loyola's understanding.

Anne Arundel County moved its Friday football games, including No. 3 Broadneck at No. 4 Annapolis, to 4 p.m. Monday rather than the normal 7:15 p.m. starting times in order to be done by sundown and the start of the Jewish observance of Rosh Hashanah.

"I had received permission from the board to play Monday's football games at 7:15 p.m., but the superintendent's office reconsidered and told us to play at 4," said Marlene Kelly, Anne Arundel County athletic administrator.

Also, yesterday's Knights Invitational, a 29-team cross country meet, will be run Monday at 3.30 p.m. All other previously scheduled athletic events for Monday in Anne Arundel also will be played at 4 p.m.

Anne Arundel County, the only school system in the metro area to close on Wednesday after Tuesday's terrorist attacks, returned to school Thursday and played games. Anne Arundel schools and Board of Education received numerous phone calls disagreeing with the decision. That was a factor in school superintendent Carol Parham's decision to postpone weekend games.

"They probably should have called them off a couple days ago, " said Annapolis football coach Roy Brown.

"Just having one day [no practice Tuesday or Wednesday] to get ready for Friday's game is tough enough, but we all feel bad about everything that happened and needed a couple days to reflect before playing."

At McDonogh School, games were on for this weekend with one exception. Athletic director Mickey Deegan canceled the girls soccer team's trip to the Tennessee Challenge Tournament in Nashville. So many teams eventually dropped out that the tournament had to be canceled, but Deegan had made up her mind earlier in the week.

"Because of recent events, I wasn't comfortable having our girls and chaperons on a plane," Deegan said. "Obviously just getting a flight would have been a miracle, but our first commitment is taking care of these precious kids."

Deegan said she "must have had three or four parents come up and hug me" after she announced that the team would not make its annual excursion.

Eagles coach Maurice Boylan Jr. has been able to reschedule two tournament opponents for single games later in the season at McDonogh.

Sun staff writer Lem Satterfield contributed to this article.

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