Students aren’t back on the athletic fields yet, as some speculated might happen, after Justice James MacPherson’s denied a court injunction Monday to order teachers back to the classroom.
And NorWOSSA football convener Pete Fair warned that has “time is ticking” on the the league's football season.
The Muskies’ final regular-season game, which was slated Nov. 1 against the Dryden Eagles, was canceled and this Saturday's league final between Fort Frances and Kenora has been postponed until the strike is over.
“The last game between Fort and Dryden was a nothing game and I talked with Dryden coach Ward Cockreill and he said ‘forget it, you guys go ahead.’ And I've talked to [Muskie head coach] Bob Swing and we both agreed we need five days of practice for the final,” Fair, also the Kenora Broncos' head coach, said from his home Monday evening.
"It's not a question of skills, it's just that we don't want the kids to
get hurt and it's a matter of conditioning," he added.
Fair said whether the NorWOSSA finals are played depends on the length of the strike and when continuing the season reaches a “point of absurdity.”
“A lot of kids play hockey or basketball and if the split is too long we won't continue," he stressed. "But Bob [Swing] and I have agreed to try our best to play this game.”
But while Fair remembered a N-WOSSA championship lasting well into November six years ago, Swing felt the season should be played by Nov. 15.
“The window is really closing fast," he admitted. "We need a Monday to Friday practice schedule, at least for a Saturday game.”
Fair said because there has been no past precedent set on canceled
sports due to a teachers’ strike, no one has been designated with the
authority to cancel the season.
In fact, he predicted it would come down to a decision between the coaches, but quickly added they could be over ruled by either the principals or NorWOSSA board.
Fort High principal Terry Ellwood said no arrangements regarding
canceling seasons have been made so far, but he added weather may have a bearing on the cancellation of the football season.
“It’s not too cold to play football right now. We had the same type of weather last year. When it gets really cold that's when it's going to dictate when the season ends,” he explained.
Still, Swing stressed both clubs will have to battle other elements as well. With shortened days it will make it very difficult to prepare for the league final.
“It’s dark by 4:45 p.m. and daylight becomes a problem,” he noted.
He added the strike definitely will leave a bitter taste with his players, especially his seniors, who may have played their
"It bothers the seniors and me but the way I look at things,
they can't take away what we have already done. We’re easily the best
team this year, and it is unfortunate that it may end this way," he reasoned.
"Some kids join a sport knowing it's their last year and it is a shame
that it's interrupted,“ echoed Ellwood. ”Everybody in the school feels
there are some innocent victims."