Season openers for a slew of games were pushed back during the fall sport season after smokey skies in the area polluted the air quality. Now, three months later, the first winter storm has dumped on the Truckee Meadows and postponed the season debuts for prep basketball players across the region.
Are torrential rains in the forecast for the early March and the start of spring sport contacts?
"It's been a weird sports year," Reed High athletic director Ron Coombs said. "We had the smoke. That was a major issue. Today is a little different, but the school district canceled all activities because of the snow."
Washoe County School District officials made the call at around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning to implement early-release protocol for their students and to call off all after-school activities, including athletic events.
Tuesday marked Opening Night on the Div. I North's master schedule, meaning teams across the region were sitting home instead of suiting up for duals on the hardwood. The Reed boys and girls basketball programs were set to tip off their winter campaigns Tuesday at Galena. The Spanish Springs boys and girls were scheduled to play at Douglas.
So were coaches and players bummed about pushing the start of their season back?
"Oh yeah," said first-year Spanish Springs girls hoops coach Art Cardenas, who was scheduled to make his varsity coaching debut Tuesday. "I texted a couple of the girls and they were bummed too. We were all ready to go, but that's the way it is. What can you do?"
Some around the district wondered if it had been mid-January and district officials had a winter storm or two already under their belts, if the decision to call off athletic activities would have been done so early.
"All games were just canceled and all practices too," Spanish Springs athletic director Art Anderson said late Tuesday morning. "It's always frustrating. If we were already into the heart of winter, and we'd already had a snow storm, maybe the decision (to play) is a little easier because we're more used to it. But right now, with it being the beginning of winter, transportation is not all set up yet. That probably adds some complications at this point."
Spanish Springs and Douglas had already made plans to re-schedule their games for Wednesday night. Both the Cougars boys and girls teams are scheduled to play in tournaments Thursday, Friday and Saturday, leaving the local school's teams now set to play four-straight days.
"We were excited to play and then it was canceled, but we've re-scheduled for tomorrow so we'll move on," SSHS boys basketball coach Kyle Penney said Tuesday afternoon. "I'm OK with it (playing four-straight days). We'll get lots of different kids some playing time. It's not a real bad deal."
Penney was probably more disappointed that his team was not allowed to practice Tuesday after games were called off. The Cougars' seventh-year coach put together a film package for his players and asked them to study it Tuesday night in preparation for the Wednesday make-up game at Douglas.
"Not practicing is a downfall because we want the kids to know our sets and strategies so it's a day off of not reviewing that," Penney said. "But really, it comes down to the kids. Will they take the time to study and prepare? If they do, we'll be OK."
At Reed, Tuesday's postponed scheduled may have been a blessing in disguise, specifically for the Raiders' boys hoops team. Reed has gone through its preseason camp without a handful of varsity players, who are still competing on the gridiron for the RHS football team, which will play in the state championship game Saturday.
Reed likely won't re-schedule its games with Galena until after its football contingent gets back in the gym.
"We had our best practice of the year last night (Monday)," Raiders coach Dustin Hall said. "You could tell the kids were excited and ready to play. There was some build-up and they were excited. But now I take a step back and look at it, this is not the worst thing for us."
Reed is not scheduled to play again until Dec. 10. Hall liked the idea of getting an extra week of practice in prior to donning uniforms for the first time.
"I love it, the kids, probably not so much," Hall said. "I love having more time. We haven't gotten all of our stuff in yet, probably like most teams, but an extra week to do so, that doesn't bother me at all."
There was an exception to the district's calling off all activities. Reed football, which will meet Bishop Gorman in Nevada's large-school state football championship game in Las Vegas Saturday at 1 p.m., was allowed to hold an optional indoor workout after the school day wrapped up Tuesday afternoon.
"We were given permission for that," Coombs said. "It was a non-mandatory practice, purely voluntary, but we were granted permission by the the district. It's a unique situation. We are preparing for a state championship game and we're already missing a day of practice due to a travel day Friday."