It's February. A month most people think of for its odd 28-day calendar and Valentine's Day. However, in the MIAC office, February is viewed quite differently. More like Armageddon.
During the month of February (and into March), we are at our busiest in the conference office. Right now, I'm working extensively with all three seasons - fall, winter and spring - while also preparing for our busiest three-week stretch of postseason events of the year. I know the Ghostbusters said you're not supposed to cross the streams, but in February, it's inevitable that tasks for all three seasons are going to overlap. Despite its hectic nature though, February is also a lot of fun, and basically non-stop excitement.
Here's a look at what I'm working on, by season...
As of yesterday, the full 2013 MIAC football composite schedule is now online. A request went out today to all volleyball and soccer coaches to submit their schedules as well, which begins a big process of compiling all the schedules and making sure all the dates, times and locations line up. I know the season won't start for seven months, but that time flies. Believe it or not, the biggest reason we try to get them done so early is officiating. The earlier we can get the schedules to our officiating groups, the easier it will be for them to staff all our games, and make changes based on their officials' availability. And yes, my eyes do start to get fuzzy after a few hours of excel documents and conflicting soccer start times!
This should be self explanatory. I spent some time this afternoon analyzing the MIAC Playoff scenarios in basketball and hockey, applying the coveted asterisks in the appropriate places and updating our Playoff Pages. It's amazing that four of the women's basketball bids have been locked up already, and there are just three teams fighting for the final two spots. Men's basketball and both hockey races are still a little more wide open, although men's basketball is the one sport to already crown its champion, with St. Thomas continuing its incredible season.
Also, we're coming up on what is likely our most involved event each year, the MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. If you're a MIAC fan and you haven't been to the conference meet, I seriously suggest checking out a session - particularly on Friday or Saturday evening. The U of M has a great pool, and it's a super exciting event from start to finish. If you can't make it to the U, check out our live webcast of all six sessions, or at least log on for a bit to get a flavor of the energy in the Aquatic Center. The event is three very long days, especially when you add in announcing our basketball and men's hockey Playoff fields on Saturday, but they are three very fun and very rewarding days, and the S&D coaches and student-athletes are a fun group to work with.
Spring has officially started in the MIAC with the first tennis matches of the season taking place over the weekend. Also, we'll be rolling out the MIAC Softball and Baseball Previews and Preseason Coaches' Polls this week. The first baseball games are a week away, with softball starting a little over a week after that. I know it feels odd to be talking tennis, baseball and softball when its barely above zero and we're getting snow on almost a daily basis, but all those teams' practices are in full swing, and the schedules will be full of matches and doubleheaders before we know it.
-We're working to receive assurance from all our winter playoff hosts that we don't have any blackouts like the Super Bowl. I'm kidding, but as someone who runs athletic events as part of their job, I can't imagine what a nightmare that was for the good people of New Orleans. When Ravens' Coach John Harbaugh was yelling at a guy in a gray suit during the blackout, I was riveted, both because I wanted to know what he was complaining about, and I was thanking my lucky stars over and over that I haven't been the person getting screamed at because the lights suddenly went out in a huge game. I'm betting that guy wasn't an electrician, and Coach Harbaugh was verbally shooting the messenger. Suddenly live stat issues at baseball or webcast delays don't seem like such a big problem, so I guess I owe the Superdome a thank-you card?
-National Girls and Women in Sport Day will be celebrated tomorrow in Minnesota, with an event at the State Capitol in St. Paul at noon. If you've never been, it's a great event that recognizes numerous individuals who have been trailblazers and advocates for the advancement of women in sports. It's great that several individuals with MIAC ties - including Augsburg's Marilyn Pearson Florian and Saint Benedict's Janna LaFountaine and Toni St. Pierre - will be honored tomorrow, especially considering its the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
If you want to know more, last week's MIAC Media Video Spotlight focused on National Girls and Women in Sport Day. Check it out here.
-Saint Benedict's Mike Durbin was on the MIAC MediaWeekly Podcast with host Mike Gallagher to talk women's basketball in the MIAC. If you missed it, or any of the first four episodes, catch up on them here.
-Feel free to leave a comment below with feedback, or email me with thoughts or questions or ideas for future blogs. I'd love to make this more interactive.
Happy February! March Madness has NOTHING on a Frantic February in the MIAC.