Just when it looked like District 4 was starting to get things right, it goes and flubs it.

District officials, long media whipping boys for the way they go about selecting, then put off announcing, sites and times of district playoff games, seem to have taken a step back after taking a step forward.

The step forward was the way district baseball chairperson Sean McCann of Williamsport actually got this week's pairings out on Saturday, May 25, at least 24 hours ahead of when pairings were released in the past. The thumping sound you heard in the early evening that day was sports editors at the district's papers collectively falling out of their chairs when they got the pairings via e-mail.

Now for the step backward. Wednesday's scheduled softball games, already pushed back a day, and rightfully, by Tuesday's rain and cool weather, were pushed back another day to today because, the reason was given, the fields at Elm Park in Williamsport weren't yet playable.

Huh?

According to The Weather Channel's website, Williamsport received .32 of an inch of rain on Tuesday. A decent amount but not overwhelming, comparable to about 1½ to 2 inches of snow in the winter. In further detail, it started raining, lightly, in Williamsport at about 6 a.m. and was pretty much over by 2 p.m.

That gave the fields more than 24 hours to be ready for Wednesday's games. On top of which, Wednesday's weather was picture perfect, maybe even a little warm. In addition, the last significant rain was last Friday, followed by three cool but very windy days in which the fields should have dried out.

Granted, Elm Park sits pretty low and the area around it is rather marshy, but come on. As central a location as Williamsport is for the district, if Elm Park can't have its fields ready 24 hours after light, steady rain, maybe it's time to put the games somewhere else. Participating teams and schools have other things on their minds this time of year than just playoff games. You know, graduations, final exams, things like that.

And if the fields really were so wet, maybe they can host district swimming next March.

Awful weekend

Speaking of cool, windy weather, the conditions at this past weekend's PIAA state track and field championships at Shippensburg University were probably as bad as the event has ever had, at least since moving from Penn State in the mid-1970s.

Friday was, in the memory of almost all veteran attendees, the coldest day anyone could recall. The temperature only reached the mid-50s and the westerly wind, steady all day, brought the windchill down to the low 40s. Not exactly track weather.

Saturday, while sunny and a little warmer, was almost as cold because the wind, if anything, got stronger. Runners talked about almost being blown over on the track's second turn, which took the brunt of the wind, and the windchill probably never got above 50 that day either.

As a result, times and distances in most events were adversely affected, and athletes who entered the meet with solid seeding performances from their district meets, in most cases failed to match them, even in medaling.

To be sure, there have been worse days. There have been cold, damp days, days when thunderstorms rolled through and caused dangerous conditions, and days when it's been so hot and humid that extra care has to be taken for the athletes' well-being, but hopefully it will be a long time before the event has back-to-back days like this past weekend.

It just wasn't much fun being there.

Didn't vote, don't feel bad

Last Tuesday came and went, and when I went to work that night I thought, gee, there's an awful lot of news people here this late. Then it hit me - it was election day.

And I had forgotten to vote.

I've been pretty good about this over the years, and initially, I was mad at myself. But the more I thought about it, the less ticked I got, even if it was a mostly local election.

First, it was just a primary. Until all Pennsylvania voters can vote in primaries, I say the things ought to be shelved. Because someone's an independent, or a member of a lesser party, they're not allowed to vote? They are Americans, aren't they? Besides, candidates can crossfile? What's the difference?

And frankly, given the performances of our elected officials, from Washington on down, over recent years, I think the system's broken anyway.

Yeah, I know, we're supposed to feel guilty over a 19-percent voter turnout. I'll feel guilty over that when our congressmen feel guilty about sticking so rigidly to their ideologies instead of working together and getting things done. I'll feel guilty when our county commissioners feel guilty about acting like children. I'll feel guilty when our school directors care more about the kids' educations than about the football coach's won-loss record.

And, in conclusion...

Some of you who read Jenna Wasakoski's fashion/culture column and know me. may have figured out that I'm the offending sports guy who wears mandals.

Damn straight, baby.

Jenna's entitled to her opinion, wrong as it is, and I'm grateful for the alternatives in manly footwear she offered. I've actually worn boat shoes in the past. They're all right, but I've found that a good pair of sandals are usually more durable.

Converse sneakers are an all-time member of the Footwear Hall of Fame, and will likely be as cool a century from now as they've always been. But have you ever smelled the inside of a Converse sneaker in mid-summer, after a humid week or getting caught in a thunderstorm? Break out the clothespins.

As for those checkered things, all I can say is, WTF? Jenna, maybe it's time to get the Lasik thing done again.

I wouldn't wear those things in my own home, much less in public, for fear the dust bunnies would laugh. As to what I really think about them, people are going to have to ask me away from work.

In the meantime, I think I'll go looking for a nice new pair of sandals sometime soon. It's going to be a long, hot summer.