It’s Official: Rain causes problems for title series

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.&uot; Those words from the old song by the Carpenters surely fit the feelings of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, Mississippi Private School Association and some of the baseball coaches involved in the state playoff finals.

If Cathedral and Houlka split their first two games, the two teams will meet for the state championship at Smith-Wills Field in Jackson on Friday or Saturday. The exact date is indefinite because nobody knows how many of the championship series will go to a third game.

Adams County Christian and Jackson Prep will play all of their Class AAA best-of-three championship series out on campus, with the two teams, hopefully, resuming play Tuesday in Natchez.

Email newsletter signup

The second and third if-necessary game will take place at Prep Thursday if weather doesn’t again interfere.

Rain delays do help those teams with short pitching staffs. The old Boston Braves of the National League had only two good pitchers, Johnny Sain and Warren Spahn. Their mantra was &uot;Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain.&uot;

Football, track, soccer and golf all keep on going in spite of rain. Lightning, of course, will shut down even those contests. Tennis (unless indoors, of course) can’t stand wet anymore than baseball. Basketball, volleyball and swimming are all indoors now.

Some are still around who remember when many small Southern high schools played basketball outdoors, on a dirt or concrete (if their school had plenty of money) court. Since most schools played only 10 of 12 games in a season, and travel was difficult, many games were likely played in spite of the weather. It must have been really hard to dribble a basketball in snow.

I have said before, and repeat now, I have the greatest admiration for those men and women who give of their time to coach youth sports. Many start out as &uot;daddy coaches&uot; (and &uot;mama coaches&uot;) and continue to move up age groups with their kids.

The ones I admire most are those who continue to coach at the same level even after their children have left the program. I’ve even known a few whose children came back and coached against dad.

Youth sports programs have a mostly undeserved reputation of being a platform for older men and women to relive their youth through their children.

An example of the good side of that equation happened last weekend. A team of 12-year-olds from Madison entered a baseball tournament in Southaven.

Rain kept pushing the start of the tournament back until it was decided that the teams would play all night Saturday with the Madison team scheduled to start a game at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Those kids not only had school Monday morning, but were starting exams as well. The coaches of the Madison team said, &uot;No way.&uot;

Am I wrong in praising the coach for withdrawing his team from the tournament? I don’t think so, but would welcome any arguments to the contrary.

Al Graning is a former SEC official and former Natchez resident. He can be reached at