COLUMN: An ominous start to the 2023 year

Published 6:49 pm Sunday, August 27, 2023

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On Sept. 13 I will begin my 41st year of covering sports for Leader Publications. 

It does not seem nearly that long, but the facts do not lie. I officially became the sports editor at the Dowagiac Daily News in 1982. I guess it is true when they say “If you find a job you love, you will never work a day,” or “Time flys when you are having fun.”

It has been a long, sometimes strange trip, but I would not change a thing from the last 40 years. I mean, I have gotten to do some pretty incredible things and meet some really great people as I traveled down this long and winding road.

But even after four decades, there is always something new that comes up. Just when you think you have seen it all, something like Wednesday happens. It was unexpected to say the least.

The weather forecaster called for heat indexes of over 100 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday. At one point on Wednesday my weather app said the “feel like” temperature at 113 degrees with a real temperature of  92.

What made Wednesday different than any other day I have had over the course of my career is that every sporting event got canceled. The athletic directors tried moving back start times or even switching days. But eventually, at about 3 p.m. the final event was postponed.

Now I have had games postponed or canceled due to weather, and even heat. But never had I had an indoor event canceled due to it being too hot outside. Even though many of the gymnasiums at the schools I cover have air conditioning now, I am not sure it would be able to keep up with the rising temperature indoors as the players and fans filled them.

It is always better to error on the side of caution. I hate it when athletic directors get criticized for canceling outdoor games due to weather. They have to make a judgment, sometimes before noon the day of an event to allow the visitors enough time so that they do not climb on a bus and head to the gam site, only to have to turn around and go home.

I have to admit that as I sat down to right this week’s column I started to wonder if this is an omen for the upcoming fall season. I certainly hope not because I have some pretty high expectations for a lot of our teams in 2023. 

I have been doing this job long enough to know that weather will affect the sports schedules more than once moving forward during the fall season. Too much rain, thunderstorms and even heat may rear its ugly head before we get to November.

But as usual, we will get through it all, play as many games and matches as possible and see how our teams do in the postseason.

As  I mentioned earlier, I am about to begin my 41st year. I would like to give a shout out to three other sports figures who have helped bring high school sports to our area for a long time.

Joe Jason is starting his 45th year of broadcasting, Dave Wolf, who many of you know from WSJM is in year 32 and Chuck Freeby, of WHME Channel 46, has been in the business for 38 years.

Have a great season guys. I am honored to be able to call you friends.


Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at