With many schools still struggling to even turn the lights on and get children safely to school following the path of this week's storm, sports playoffs are on the back burner for now and this upcoming weekend's games will likely be postponed.
Section XI President and Patchogue-Medford Athletic Director Tom Combs said that chairs of the fall sports tournament committees are meeting Friday morning to determine the path of playoff games moving forward.
"It looks like Friday's games will be cancelled," Combs said Thursday morning. "And I don't expect Saturday's to be played, but we don't know yet. We're worried right now about getting the schools up and running for the kids."
Combs said that per state rules, Section XI has until the weekend following Thanksgiving to complete all fall sports games. However considering the extenuating circumstances Sandy brought along with her, wreaking regional havoc on high school sports schedules is at the very least one of numerous side effects, and state officials seemed open to being flexible with coordinators on the local level to make things work.
Robert Zayas, executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association – the state organization which oversees the state's 11 different high school athletic regions – said he is scheduled to speak on Thursday afternoon with members of some of the sections hit hardest by Sandy.
"We want to give any flexibility they would need in order to accommodate regional sectional events," he said.
"Something like this doesn't happen often, but when something like this does happen, we put what's in the best interest of the kids at the forefront of all decisions," Zayas added.
For now, said Tim Mullins, past president of Section XI, that includes making sure they get to class safely before getting on the field.
"We still have no power in one of our elementary buildings," said Mullins, athletic director at Bayport-Blue Point. "But it's not so much the grounds itself, it's the surrounding areas: downed wires, trees. Getting kids to school itself, with traffic lights being out, is a major concern from our perspective."