by Aaron Garcia
Jan. 13 marked the fourth consecutive day in which Union County Public Schools cancelled classes because of inclement weather. And while snow days often provide a universally accepted respite from the work/school week, it also means that all school-related events, including sports, are shut down.
And for Union County teams, the week hasn’t come at the best time.
Take the Sun Valley Spartans, for example. Coach Keith Mason’s team has won four games in a row but hasn’t played since Jan. 7, which has hurt any momentum the Spartans had built for the 2010-11 season.
“For a team like we are, that depends on conditioning so much, it definitely hurts us,” said Mason. “We run – that’s what we’re all about. You can’t ask the kids to go out and do anything. God forbid they go out and get in a wreck or something like that, so you can’t tell the kids to do this and that. You just have to pick up the pieces and go with it once we get back into the swing of things.”
But as with most unfavorable situations, there are silver linings to be found. For Mason, the unexpected week off has allowed some of his players to heal nagging injuries.
“Really, that’s the only thing it’s good for, is getting guys some rest,” said Mason.
But it’s not just athletics that have been affected by the snowfall. Union County high schools were slated to begin exams next week but have moved the test schedule back a week in order to give students time to prepare. But local sports teams will also attempt to play some of their make-up games during the week, so many schools will conduct a varsity-only schedule, with girls games beginning at 4 p.m., and boys games tipping off around 5:30 p.m.
“Mother Nature’s really put a damper on the season right now, as far as conditioning, any kind of momentum, school work, exams, (the students’) scheduling as far as what they normally do,” said Mason. “It sounds kind of simple but, really, anything that changes for these kids, they get out of whack pretty easily.”
But Mason won’t complain. After all, every team in the county is faced with the same obstacles.
“We’re really going to find out what these kids are made of,” said Mason. “Throughout the whole (Southern Carolina 3A/4A) conference, we’re going to see who can prevail through all this adversity.”