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— By PATRIC FLANNIGAN

Sports editor

The rain continues to play a factor in the baseball and softball season of local Ouachita County high schools. Because baseball and softball are outside sports, weather is always an issue. But this year, it’s happened more than usual.

Since the start of the diamond season, and at least two games have been rescheduled every week within Ouachita County. Away games are made home games and vice versa. Tuesday games are changed to Wednesday’s. It gets pretty complicated and its almost impossible to plan ahead. Baseball and softball players even had to practice through some of the most frigid temperatures I’ve ever witnessed in the spring.

Some may think it was expected after all of the rain we’ve already seen this school year. I mean, maybe it’s all just carryover from a rainy football season in which 7/10 regular season games had rain in the forecast. In the fall, I finally got to attend a football game with an hour long weather delay (Camden Fairview vs. Hot Springs Lakeside). I enjoyed being able to sit in the friendly confounds of Cardinal Stadium and talk among a group of legendary local athlete and accomplished sports reporters about things other than sports. I was also able to attend three fun mud bowls this year (C.F. vs. Hamburg, Harmony Grove vs. Smackover and Smackover vs. Osceola). All of which went down to the wire with one of them even going into over time. And I cant forget that I was able to attend a game that started on a Friday but didn’t end until Monday (Bearden vs. Fordyce).

Basketball season wasn’t much different. I remember trying to protect my stat sheets as I walked into the Hornets Nest for the first meeting of the season between Bearden and Harmony Grove and I remember it raining cats and dogs when C.F. hosted Star City. Then the majority of the post season was spent traveling on wet roads.

This is far from a complaint about weather, because I love rain. Especially when its getting rid of those thick pollen clouds for a little while. Plus, while a lot of sports have been surrounded by storms, I thank God that I can report no students or fans were involved in any accidents because of them. Even more thankful to say I didn’t see a student athlete experience any sort of season ending injury because of a muddy field.

Reflecting makes me thankful to every one of our local athletic directors, officials, coaches and student athletes and the jobs they do to make sure games still get played. The pride student athletes show when they are faced with such challenges shows an admiral amount of perseverance. A lot of occupations get to call in when its raining outside and sometimes events are canceled. Sports doesn’t always get that luxury. When it rains on softball game day, you better believe there’s still going to be some sort of practice. I cant imaging how hard it is to reschedule games - finding officials, getting the buses prepared, and finding a date that wont interfere with other school function or other planned games.

Kudos to all involved in making sure sports goes on despite the conditions that are beyond our control.

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