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SMITH COLUMN: Area slate takes a hit due to ice

January 11, 2011

It has been a crazy couple of days around Starkville.
Due to the winter weather we received on Sunday afternoon into the evening, it caused churches to cancel services, schools to close and most businesses to shut down. Sports has also come to a halt.
Such is life in a small southern city when a couple of inches of snow and ice fall from the sky.
Even though the winter weather outside is pretty to look upon, it caused quite a bit of havoc on the local sports scene and trying to figure out the schedule on Monday was a challenge for our staff.
Usually on a Tuesday in the Starkville Daily News, there's a pretty good list of high school basketball and soccer games under the listing of Area Slate on the scoreboard page.
As of about 2 p.m. Monday afternoon, the schedule had Starkville at Columbus, Washington School at Starkville Academy, Montgomery County at East Oktibbeha, West Oktibbeha at Noxapater, Houlka at East Webster, Ackerman at Nanih Waiya and J.Z. George at Eupora in basketball and Starkville at Tupelo in soccer.
Many of the coaches in the area had intentions of playing those games, but when schools began deciding to close for the second-straight day due to lingering snow and ice on the roads, there was no choice than to postpone all of the action.

Through a text message early on Monday, Starkville Academy boys basketball coach Chris Lyle said the games with Washington were to be played as scheduled. A few hours later, he found out that school was canceled on Tuesday and the games would have to be rescheduled. He apologized for the confusion, but it wasn't his fault.
Many other coaches were in the same situation and until they learned schools were closed, they just believed it was business as usual and the games could be played as well. Coaches from Starkville High School and East Oktibbeha believed they were going to play until late in the day.
SDN prep writer Joel Coleman did a good job of eventually getting all of the coaches to confirm that there would be no games Tuesday night. What had been a full schedule on Area Slate became nothing. Joel updated the news on the SDN Prep Blog on starkvilledailynews.com.
As much as we'd love to see all of the games played when they are supposed to be, it's not worth taking a chance to get people out on the roads while there's still a possibility of ice in spots. All it takes is driving over one frozen patch to cause a pretty serious accident.
It was pretty tough on me Sunday trying to get from Humphrey Coliseum to the office after watching the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs drop a decision to Arkansas in Southeastern Conference women's basketball action.
Prior to the game, there was a lull in the winter precipitation and nothing was falling. There were no problems getting to Humphrey Coliseum.
Three hours later, it was a different story. Sleet and snow was again pelting the area with significant accumulations. The roads between the coliseum and downtown were getting its share of the ice and became dangerous.
After leaving the game, I approached the intersection of Main Street and Montgomery Street. As I applied the brake, probably harder than I should have at the time, my car almost started a skid. It was a good thing there were no other vehicles close or there could have been a fender-bender.
MSU women's coach Sharon-Fanning Otis tried to tell us what was happening outside as we ended our post-game meeting with her Sunday.
"Be careful, it's slick out there," Fanning-Otis said.
Whenever we have these types of weather events, it's generally a rule to be more safe than sorry.
That's why it was a smart move to go ahead and cancel everything on Tuesday night and wait for a better night to play ball.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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