Sports Commentary: Snow should mean no

Following a schedule not the most important thing

Schools around the state made wise decisions last week when they canceled classes due to the impending winter weather.

By the number of abandoned cars (particularly in Columbia), it was too dangerous and not worth the risk to send kids to school.

But some school districts dropped the ball when it came to extra curricular activities, particularly Friday night when a number of schools did not cancel basketball games.

To me, it sends a mixed message. Conditions are too dangerous to risk kids getting to school. That’s completely understandable.

But it’s more than fine to play basketball games on days when school is canceled.

I just don’t understand the risk. Road conditions were bad enough during the day area schools had to cancel classes. But it’s OK to bus kids to games, and to have parents and fans drive to and from games. In some instances teams travel more than 100 miles round-trip.

Many of those driving to games are 16-18 year old kids. Inexperienced drivers and even the slightest bit of winter weather don’t mix well.

All of this when officials spent the better part of two days telling people not to go anywhere.

The argument can be made by Friday afternoon and evening the roads were in good enough shape to drive on. At least in Jefferson City that was the case. Roads were for the most part fine. Jefferson City, Cole County and MoDOT did a great job of getting roads cleared once the snow stopped.

But it’s still the wrong message to be sending.

The fact it was district tournament week for Classes 1-3 compounded the problem. These games need to be finished by the weekend because the state tournament begins Tuesday and Wednesday.

Southern Boone got it right. The Class 3 District 8 Tournament was pushed back one more day with the boys semifinals Saturday and the boys and girls championships today.

It is a little bit of an inconvenience, and it gives whoever wins a short turnaround for Wednesday’s sectional game. But it’s better to be safe than have a senseless tragedy occur.

This week’s bout of winter weather appears to be on a crash course to collide with state sectional games set to for Tuesday and Wednesday. To play or not to play will be the big question.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association does not have a policy regarding whether extra curricular activities can be played on days when school is canceled. It’s left up to the schools.

Years ago, many schools would not think of having extra curricular activities when school was canceled. If it’s not good enough to go to school, it’s not good enough to play basketball.

Sports have their place in high schools. But they are not so important to disregard safety. Some schools still haven’t figured that out.

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