Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Season in Full Swing? Only if the Weather Plays Nice

FireDragons Fall 2009 Season OpenerTexas soccer is a funny thing: weather is too hot and we take water breaks. Weather is too cold and some complain and request cancellations. Lightning in the area? Yep, delay or call the game. But rain?

I'm from the Seattle, WA area originally and growing up rain was like taking a breath; it happened and most people didn't notice. A sun event was something to talk about; one that could create a frenzy as powerful as hyenas on a fresh carcass. Practice in the rain? Yep. Games in the rain? Of course. I remember slide tackling practices that now would be considered akin to slip-n-slide activities where a puddle 6 inches deep was the end goal, not the ball you struck somewhere in the tackle.

In a state where rain is frequently ushered in with thunder storms, most of them severe, it boggles the mind to have games canceled where no lightning is in the area and only rain has soaked a field. A tenet of the game is safety and while I can understand how soggy fields have a potential for creating hazardous playing conditions (too soft and knees can buckle and ankles can twist), most fields are fairly firm and sustain the pounding of TX rain. So what could be the real story behind games canceled from just rain?

Many associations in the NMCSL area do not own theirfields but either lease or are gifted use of the fields from their respective cities. Could it be that the cities, who invest in the development of their park space and consider it an investment, make the call as to playing conditions irrespective of safe play? Some fields, such as those in Keller, are pristine and may warrant the city's restrictive stance on excessive wear to the fields.

On a personal level I find the irony of managing field maintenance and field usage in an ironic conflict which in the case of Fall 2009 (current season) the conflict is brooding and impassioned. We're now 4 weeks into the season, I have one team (of 4) that has yet to play a game, 2 that have played just one and the final team that have played 2; all because of lightning-less rainouts. My players are eager to play and the disappointment is evident when a notification gets sent out the night before that yet again the game has been called off. While I understand the rules of safety and the economics of good field presence and condition, the irony lies in the inability to complete a season for the sake of preserving these principles. At some point the finite schedule will implode and something must give.

My vote: the giving point should be on the fields and obviously not on the safety of the players. Let the games go on and let's get this season moving!

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