Flu delays high school sports

Published 12:19 am Friday, May 1, 2009

Local coaches are waiting to see when their teams will take the field once again, after Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) executive director Steve Savarese on Wednesday postponed all post-season games due to the swine flu.

The postponement came after two probable case of the swine flu turned up in three school systems in Huntsville, according to a press release from the AHSAA. The two cases have since been confirmed.

“Right now, we are being advised by our Medical Advisory Committee to shut down all activities until further notice,” Savarese said in the Wednesday statement. “We hope to be able to resume activities by next Tuesday, but right now we must study the situation and take it one day at a time.”

For teams in Covington County, the games that were going to be played Thursday, today and Saturday will be postponed until the AHSAA decides when to allow play to resume.

Among the events postponed were the Straughn area softball tournament Thursday, the Pleasant Home area softball tournament today and the Andalusia area softball tournament Saturday.

In addition, the state track meet has been postponed and has been moved to the Gulf Shores-City Municipal Track. Florala, which competes in Class 1A, is now expected to compete at state on Thurs., May 7, and Fri., May 8.

Pleasant Home softball coach Jimmy Reeves said he does not feel the change will affect his team.

“We’re not going to let it affect us,” Reeves said. “It’s going to give us a couple extra days of practice and the girls are disappointed. They’ve been raring to go and we’re just going to keep practicing.

“We can always use that practice time,” he said. “We’ll practice (Thursday) and (today) and come back next week ready to play and hopefully stay healthy.”

Area tournaments and regional tournaments were slated for this week and the next, and it is not yet clear when these postseason games will be rescheduled.

Andalusia softball coach Anthony Mikel said that right now, he and other coaches are waiting to see when they will play next.

“We’re just kind of in a limbo,” Mikel said. “We have tentatively gotten the area tournament rescheduled, but we’re just waiting on the state to see if we can play. It’ll be ultimately up to the athletic association to tell us when we can play.”

Mikel added that the team will practice Monday and Tuesday to get ready for what happens next.

“I’m hoping for the best; maybe nobody else will get sick and we can play,” Mikel said.

Straughn coach Ray Wilson said he was not pleased that the games were postponed.

“You don’t really know until you play,” Wilson said. “I’m not crazy about the layoff because it’ll be over a week before we play, but there isn’t much we can do about that. “We’re just going to have to do what they tell us and when they tell us we can play again — we’ll play again,” he said. “It puts everybody in the same boat. Everybody is having to wait and see.”

Wilson said the reaction from his players was acceptance.

“There was not much of a reaction,” he said. “The news just kind of trickled down but the reaction was nothing good or bad, but ‘OK.’ We’ll just play when they tell us to play.”

Late Thursday, the AHSAA announced a tentative new schedule. A final decision will be made on Monday:

TRACK & FIELD: The 1A-3A meet Thurs. and Fri., may 7-8, Gulf Shores Sportsplex.

SOFTBALL: Any postponed area tournaments will be rescheduled or resumed Tuesday (May 5). Area tournaments may use a single elimination format if all schools in a tournament agree. The regional tournaments (May 8-9) and the state tournament (May 14-16) will be played as scheduled.

GOLF: All sub-state tournaments will be played Tuesday (May 5). The state tournament (May 11-12) will be played as scheduled.

The city of Andalusia’s recreation league play will continue its normal activities.