Day games are moved up, night games are called off

Midday decision calls for all games to end by 6 p.m.

High Schools

October 18, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Lil Shelton, Severna Park's veteran field hockey coach, described yesterday as "a two-phone day."

Shelton and other county coaches used one cell phone for calls and another phone for replies as they scrambled to reach their players on a non-school day. That's because of midday revisions made by Anne Arundel County that eliminated night games and called for all athletic events to end by 6 p.m.

Teams scheduled to play yesterday at 5:15 p.m. suddenly had to play at 3:30 p.m., and 7:15 p.m. games were postponed.

"This is horrible," said Severna Park senior girls soccer player Amanda Hindin, who rushed to her school with teammates to catch a bus to Meade. "I think we should be playing at the regular time and not calling games off, and basically everyone else feels the same way."

Hindin's remarks drew nods from her teammates.

As a result of the Washington area sniper shootings, the county announced that all varsity events today and Monday will begin at 4 p.m. The decision was made at the urging of county police. "When we sat down for our daily meeting to discuss the latest [on the sniper situation], we had input from the county police that we discussed," said Anne Arundel County coordinator of athletics Marlene Kelly, referring to the meeting chaired by Ken Lawson, the assistant superintendent of public schools. Lawson takes the feedback to Eric Smith, the county superintendent who makes the final decision.

"The police told us that it is much easier for them to supervise daytime activities than nighttime," Kelly said. "It came up that the sniper had struck more in the daytime than night, but the police pointed out that a lot of our stadiums around the county are lined by woods."

Kelly said the 6 p.m. curfew will remain through Monday.

"If we make any changes back, it won't be until Tuesday," Kelly said.

What if football games are dragging and in danger of not finishing by 6 p.m.?

"Well, we can use a running clock or shorten halftime because we want the kids off the field and will do everything we can to adhere to the timeline the superintendent has set," said Kelly.

Yesterday's late timeline of altering the schedule had coaches, players and parents upset.

"They changed our county championship to South River at 4 p.m. [today]," said Shelton, whose Severna Park team will play South River for the county field hockey title.

The game was to be played yesterday at 7:15 p.m. at North County, a neutral site.

Since North County has a football game at home today, Kelly changed it to South River because "even though both teams have 10-0 league records, South River has a better overall record," thereby gaining the home field by the tiebreaker.

The two teams had agreed Wednesday to cancel their regular-season game to play the championship on time.

As for yesterday's changes, everyone had an opinion.

"I have mixed feelings about all this," said Old Mill girls soccer player Kim Evans, who was getting ready to play against visiting South River. "I don't think anything is going to happen and a lot of my friends feel the same way."

Many parents agee.

"I'm upset with the county's decision to cancel these after-school activities. I think it's totally misguided," said Joe Poiter, a parent of an athlete from a private school which has followed the public school policy.

"As far as I'm concerned, they're negotiating with terrorists and we just can't do that. We're sending a terrible message to our children that they are unsafe by canceling these activities and I think they're probably more unsafe on the highways and byways. We can't change our lives and our children's lives because of what one maniac might do."

Said Julie Carrier, a parent of two Old Mill athletes: "I don't understand their rationale playing last Thursday at night vs. this week. Why didn't they cancel last week?"

Sun staff writer Glenn P. Graham contributed to this article.

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