Few things can beat a picturesque sunset at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium on a fall evening.
Mickey Wilson has taken in more than his share as head coach of the Myrtle Beach Seahawks. And last Friday – even as his team prepared for a pivotal clash with rival North Myrtle Beach – he took the time to observe it, along with temperatures in the 70s and a slight ocean breeze.
“Perfect night for football, right?” Wilson asked. “Wouldn’t surprise me if it is quite different next week.”
With Hurricane Matthew churning in the Atlantic and making a bee-line for the Grand Strand, it seems the Myrtle Beach football coach’s words were quite prophetic.
While focused on getting a leg up on competition, it’s proven a tad hard for players and coaches to think of anything other than what is going on in the tropics.
“Most important to everyone is that their families and homes are safe and secure,” said Green Sea Floyds head football coach Tony Sullivan. “But you also cannot stress about it. Best thing to do is wait and see … until then, we’re keeping things as close to normal.”
Earlier this season, squads on the Grand Strand moved games up a day in an effort to avoid Tropical Storm Hermine. The weather system inevitably dropped several inches of rain, but did not do significant damage to the area.
Matthew looks to be a more dangerous monster, however, packing maximum sustained winds of 145 mph – good enough for a Category 4 hurricane. Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency for South Carolina on Tuesday, closing all schools and government offices ahead of the storm.
With school not in session, football games for this week are postponed as a result. Rescheduling these contests may become a tad difficult as well, dependent on what Hurricane Matthew leaves in its wake.
“I’ll be surprised if we play any this week, or even next week for that matter,” said Aynor football coach Jody Jenerette. “This one could be bad, real bad.”
Even as Hurricane Matthew bears down on the area, coaches stuck with their weekly routine as if a game was being played Friday night.
“I’ve been through a bunch of these, and it is one of those things you learn to deal with,” said Conway football coach Chuck Jordan. “But just like I told my players, you have to learn to be flexible, be prepared for anything.
“It isn’t a point of emphasis other than the fact you may change your game date or the time the ball is kicked off. But trying to minimize the changes and distractions is key.”