Prep Sports: Quick resolution on strike good for athletics

By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter

The recent strike from the teachers of Rockford Public School District 205 had absolutely nothing to do with athletics. But it had the potential for the biggest impact on most students.

Spring sports were getting into full swing, and after a highly successful fall and winter for area athletes, you did not want to see that momentum stifled.

Sports in the spring also sees some of the highest participation rates with more sports taking place like track, baseball and softball that involve a lot of athletes, giving a lot of kids the ability to end their high school careers on a high, and maybe even provide a last chance to get some kind of college scholarship.

With unseasonably warm weather, it seemed like it would be a best-case scenario for all athletes. The short strike just ensured it was like a normal Illinois fall.

We usually schedule a few extra games because we lose three or four to the weather,” Rockford Jefferson Athletic Director and current NIC-10 President Todd Zimmerman said.

The quick resolution also helped the schools and the conference avoid a doomsday scenario when it comes to scheduling.

Only one conference match-up in all sports was missed, and a few weekend games and tournaments were all that were ultimately affected.

As all of the athletic directors talked in the conference, they had all agreed to make rescheduling conference games the top goal, even if that meant canceling non-conference games.

Zimmerman said most of his time during the strike was spent on the phone, talking to athletic directors at other schools and letting them know if teams would be showing up or not.

We started with the canceling,” Zimmerman said. “Just had to track everybody down and let them know we weren’t coming. We all agreed that if it went on for a little bit, the conference games would be the top priority.”

The good news is everything was settled quickly, however, and all sports are back to action as normal. After a year spent thus far with state championships and impressive record performances, athletic directors, coaches and athletes all had the same reaction when the agreement was reached Saturday, March 31.

It’s a big relief,” Zimmerman said.

From the April 4-10, 2012, issue

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