Before answering his phone on Saturday afternoon, Logan High School boys track and field coach Joe Hackbarth said he was in deep thought.
“I was just looking out the window and wondering if we’ll ever have a track meet this year,” he joked.
Hackbarth truly was joking.
As the weather wreaks havoc on the spring sports schedule for teams at schools in Wisconsin and beyond, it’s easy to get dragged into the negativity that accompanies missed activities and being forced to practice inside on a daily basis.
Hackbarth is choosing to remain positive while keeping his kids working hard until the good weather does come.
“I don’t feel bad for us as coaches, I feel bad for the kids, who have a maximum of four years of baseball or four years of track while they are in high school,” Hackbarth said. “But you can also make good memories from the goofy situations this causes, too.
“I try to stay positive.”
Baton handoffs in the hallways while avoiding teachers will be remembered by his runners when they think back to the spring of 2018, but they are also doing their best to salvage what will be a short season whenever the weather changes.
Logan is in the same situation as any other school as snow covers the ground and freezing rain falls from the sky.
Teams in all sports aren’t just getting events postponed, but they are seeing them canceled. There will be days to make up events that have already been wiped out, but there won’t be many.
“This is only my fourth year of being an AD in this area, but I’ve never seen anything this consistently bad,” said first-year Logan activities director Jordan Gilge, who got his start at West Salem High School. “Everything is becoming a challenge.”
Rescheduling events is one aspect, but finding alternative plans for practice on a daily basis is another. Gilge defers to Hackbarth for the formulation of that plan.
“That’s just something I have taken the lead on, but we all have input on it,” Hackbarth said. “I will put something together, run it by Jordan, and then it goes to coaches.
“But that isn’t me saying this is how it will go. It’s a rough draft, and we make whatever changes we have to make.”
Hackbarth said having accommodating coaches is a big help to the process, and he credited baseball coach Andy Ellenbecker, softball coach Matt Marohl and girls soccer coach Charles Nassar as being just that.
Gilge shoulders the responsibility of having enough staff available to get the events rescheduled, and is said his goal is to get a date for everything that has already been postponed.
But he also acknowledges that time is running out, especially with more bad weather in the forecast for the next week.
“We are caught up with everything so far,” he said. “I don’t know much more we’ll be able to do with additional weather, though.”
One thing the MSHSL decided last week was that conference baseball and softball postponements would automatically be rescheduled as two five-inning games the next time the teams were scheduled to meet.
Gilge said the WIAA followed that news with an email reminding its members that scheduled five-inning baseball and softball games wouldn’t be recognized as official.