Fairfield baseball rare exception when it comes spring break games

Most schools have decided to schedule few or no contests with optional practices, but Fairfield baseball, for example, will take the competition whenever it's available. 

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 3:06 p.m.

Spring break is upon us next week.

Many will leave the area for warmer, dryer climates.

Some will practice, but few will play from April 7-12.

A look at the high school sports calendar reveals few contests. The clear exception: Fairfield baseball.

The Falcons have games scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

"As tight as the baseball season is, it's been a tradition that we've practiced and played (during spring break)," says Fairfield athletic director Mark Hofer. "If we can get opponents to play, we might as well do it."

IHSAA by-laws allow for baseball and softball teams to play 28 games without a tournament or 26 with a tournament. All squads try to play as many as possible, which is not always easy with unpredictable spring weather.

Hofer says the Fairfield baseball has chosen to keep its momentum and its arms in shape to be ready for important conference games right after break.

What about softball, track, golf, tennis?

"Finding opponents in the other sports is next to impossible," says Hofer.

Those Falcon teams may practice, but there will be no games, meets or matches during break.

Concord has made it a policy not to schedule contests over spring break.

"Over time, its become too hard to expect kids and families to stick around," says Concord assistant AD Rob Miller. "Most of our coaches have optional practices if you are in town or give workouts if you are out-of-town."

Miller said the backlash of having athletes missing during spring break is just not worth it.

"A break is good for kids," says Miller. "Is it really hurting us to be gone for a week?"

Elkhart Memorial tries to recognize family time and has just a few baseball and softball games during break and most of them are toward the end of the week.

Based on feedback from coaches and athletes, Memorial has opted to schedule no track, golf or tennis with optional practices for those who choose to stay in Elkhart.

Those who choose to travel will not be benched.

"Kids are not punished or demoted if they go on a family trip," says Memorial assistant AD Phyllis Tubbs. "We want to honor family time."

Elkhart Central AD Brian Buckley looks to Saturday baseball and softball games as the only contests on the Blue Blazer spring break schedule.

"There is not a policy (to lay off spring break week)," says Buckley. "I'm happy to play, if teams want to play. It's just very difficult to have games and fill practice requirements."

Buckley said all Central spring teams have rules about practicing and playing time, but they vary by sport.

Central is calling for players to be back to practice by the end of the week to prepare for weekend baseball and softball. Track will practice all week.

"We will make sure that kids who are in town have a place to practice to hone their skills," said Buckley.

Much like Central, Goshen will have practices at the end of the week for baseball and softball teams that play on Saturday. There will be optional practices for the other sports. Golf is also scheduled to play Saturday.

While the timing of break may not be the best, Goshen AD Larry Kissinger said the pros of letting athletes take spring break off outweigh the cons of keeping them around.

"It's not worth fighting," says Kissinger. "In northern Indiana, with our winters, families have come to cherish (spring break)."

Kissinger says it boils down to expectations, noting that swimmers expect to swim and basketball players expect to have tournaments during Christmas break.

"Spring is just the most disruptive," says Kissinger.


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