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Published September 12. 2011 08:28AM

The wet weather that's blanketed the area for the past week has affected nearly everyone in some way or another.

One group of people most affected by inclement weather are high school athletic directors.

Rain can cause havoc to an athletic director's schedule. Rescheduling one game means contacting players, coaches, officials, bus drivers, game managers, score keepers and list of others.

So when I emailed several of our local ADs yesterday I wasn't sure if any would have time to respond.

But five of them took some time from their busy schedules to write back or call and tell me how the rain has impacted them and how they are handling it.

"We have done a good job of utilizing our practice fields and preserving our game fields for game days," said Lehighton AD Kyle Spotts, whose football team hosts Tamaqua Friday night. "The field workers have done a tremendous job prior to these storms and for them to be holding up this well is a testament to their work."

Area playing fields vary from wet to saturated to puddled as the the rain hasn't let up since Monday. Nearly all the ADs pointed out that grounds crews haven't been able to mow or line fields during the week.

"We need a dry day so we can get out and cut," said Northwestern athletic director Jason Zimmerman.

The weather impacts practice schedules as well as game schedules. At schools like Northwestern and Tamaqua, where there are three available gyms, teams can usually find space inside. At Northern Lehigh, AD Bryan Geist always has contingency plans in place for practices to move indoors. At Lehighton, a school with six fall sports teams, space is at a premium.

"Trying to get all of the fall programs to practice inside with only two facilities is not the easiest thing to accomplish," Spotts said.

Most of them agree that last spring was much worse, but this fall is just beginning. The fact that it is early in the season makes it easier to reschedule games.

"If it had to happen," Zimmerman said. "This is the week for it to happen."

"It's better early in the season," Geist said. "So you don't feel like you're up against a wall."

Compounding problems this week was a forecast that showed no mercy. Games had to be moved to next week.

"You don't want to schedule a game and then have to reschedule it again tomorrow," Geist said.

To figure out how to reshuffle their schedules, most athletic directors become amateur meteorologists.

"I am constantly on different websites and the weather channel and on three different apps on my phone," said Tamaqua AD Mike Hromyak "Honestly, ADs need to know the weather in order to ensure safe travels and safe playing conditions. It is challenging. If you study the forecasts from all of them, you can sometimes combine them and make your own forecast."

Zimmerman uses all the apps and media outlets as well. He also doesn't hesitate to shoot an email to WFMZ weather man Ed Hannah, who is happy to supply updates.

While some football games have been postponed to Saturday, Zimmerman said the Tigers will play their game Friday night at Saucon Valley and Geist plans to host Wilson as scheduled Friday in Slatington.

Lehighton and Tamaqua did not announce any changes as of Thursday evening.

"We are going to make a decision on the condition of the field [Friday] and go from there," said Spotts.

Lehighton, which plays again Thursday against Panther Valley, could face a week of short rest. The Panthers, who travel to Schuylkill Valley tonight, could have the same problem.

"Without the rain we are already looking at a short week," said Panther Valley AD Kristin Black.

The Panthers' home field will be used by Jim Thorpe this week. The Olympians host Line Mountain in Lansford, scheduled for Friday night.

"Panther Valleys football field drains very well," said Black. "However it had been raining since Monday so our custodians were not able to cut or line the field. Evaluation of the field will be made after the rain stops."

All the area athletic directors hope that time comes soon.

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