ANDERSON — Jimmie Howell's Hall of Fame coaching career began in 1978 with the junior varsity team at Frankton. That winter brought with it one of the worst blizzards in state history.
School was canceled for four weeks, and athletic schedules were wrecked.
This month has been the worst Howell can remember in the 36 years since. Tuesday brought another day of mass cancellations across the state as drifting snow made many rural roads impassible.
Meteorologists report January has been the third snowiest month in Indiana history, and more is on the way.
All the white stuff has created unique challenges for high school athletic directors as they attempt to balance safety, fairness and the financial bottom line.
"It's a challenge getting (athletic events) moved," Pendleton Heights AD John Broughton said. "The thing most people don't understand is you've gotta move the bus drivers, you've gotta move workers, you've gotta move officials. And you feel like you're always missing somebody important."
The winter weather really began to take its toll two weeks ago when the Madison County basketball tournaments were scheduled to begin. The events were supposed to start with girls/boys doubleheaders at three sites on Jan. 6.
Those games eventually were played Jan. 10, the original date of the boys championship game. The boys tournament played its semifinals on Jan. 11 and finished on Jan. 13. The girls played the semifinals on Jan. 13 and the final on Jan. 14, five days behind the scheduled finish.
Anderson's girls team wound up playing five games in a six-day span and won them all. Hopefully, the boys took notes. The Indians will play a regularly scheduled North Central Conference game Friday against Marion, followed by a makeup game Saturday against Lafayette Jeff that was originally scheduled last week.
On Tuesday, the Tribe hosts Indianapolis Brebeuf in a game pushed back from November by the Braves' participation in the Class 3A state championship football game. Anderson then plays for the fourth time in eight days on Jan. 31 at Kokomo.