Typhoons leave sports schedules in tatters
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A pair of typhoons have created a thorn-in-the-side effect on DODDS Pacific’s ambitious new “everybody-plays-everybody” football regular-season format to determine the teams that play in November for the Far East Divisions I and II championships.
Three games thus far, each inter-district involving air travel, have been postponed by Typhoons Bolaven in August and Sanba last weekend. One, Yokota at Kubasaki, is crucial in helping determine the top two D-I teams and pits the 2011 D-I title-game combatants. Osan American and Daegu High each lost a game. Kadena has been hurt worst of all, losing two games.
The weather-related monkey-wrench effect has officials scrambling to not only make up the games, but to seek solutions and workarounds in future seasons, DODDS Pacific’s Far East athletics coordinator Don Hobbs said.
“As soon as the season’s over, we’ll regroup, put our heads together and come up with best plan we can,” Hobbs said.
The Yokota-Kubasaki game has tentatively been rescheduled for Oct. 27, with the Kadena-Kubasaki game slated for Oct. 26 moving a week earlier to Oct. 19, Hobbs said.
It may be possible for Kadena at Daegu, scheduled for last weekend, to be made up Oct. 6 when each team has a corresponding bye week. “It’s being looked into,” Hobbs said. “I can’t make any promises.” Kadena and Osan don’t have similar coinciding byes, so that game may be lost.
One idea being floated is to move as many games involving inter-district travel as possible to October, when the chance of typhoons begins decreasing, and play as many intra-district games earlier, reducing the chances of postponements because air travel isn’t possible.
“September weather can be foul, especially on Okinawa,” Yokota coach Tim Pujol said. “Traveling in September may not be the best way to do things.”
But there are other factors to consider, such as how base closures and realignments will affect enrollment at Osan, whether Matthew C. Perry and Humphreys American will field varsity football teams in 2013, “a lot of things to consider,” Hobbs said.
While weather remains “above everybody’s pay grade,” Kubasaki coach Fred Bales said, it’s had the unintended consequence of truncating Kadena’s season. Originally scheduled to play eight games, unless the two typhoon-postponed games can be made up, the Panthers will only play six.
That comes on the heels of the Panthers having four weeks off last October and not having a homecoming game. “I’ve always wanted equity for our servicemembers’ kids,” lamented Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza of losing so many games in two seasons.
Now in their eighth season, the DODDS Pacific Far East football playoffs and season formats have featured some form of change or another every year. Hobbs said he and DODDS officials want to do everything they can to ensure that the current format can succeed.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Hobbs said.