Before you ask, yes, this type of thing happens every year.

In fact, it’s better now, because the NJSIAA used to have a rule that games that weren’t official had to restart from the beginning. One year, IHA and Paramus Catholic started a game three separate times before finally finishing.

So bad weather this week was inevitable, and there really aren’t that many solutions. Well, there might be a couple, but Mother Nature does what She wants.

So as of Thursday morning, here is where we stand. There are four softball games that need to be finished/started.

Mount St. Dominic leads Pope John 10-0 in the third inning. They are supposed to start up again at 2 p.m. The winner of that one gets Immaculate Heart Academy in a game currently scheduled for Friday at 530 p.m. at Montclair State in the North Non-Public A final.

Morris Catholic and Benedictine are 7-6 in the fourth inning. They are supposed to start up again at 3 p.m. The winner of this one gets Immaculate Conception in the North Non-Public B final which is scheduled for Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Montclair State. This is the one I am most worried about finishing (the forecast is not so good).

Then in Group 2, Ramsey and Lenape Valley are scheduled to play today at noon in Ramsey in the North 1, Group 2 final.

The North 2, Group 2 final between Verona and Hanover Park is scheduled to resume at 2:30 p.m. today in Cedar Grove (which has turf and lights). That game is tied at 2 in the fourth inning.

The winner of those two games are scheduled to play Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Caldwell University.

Again, don’t look at the weather forecast. Although Friday looks good.

With so much uncertainty, the NJSIAA made the decision to move all of the group semifinals and non-public finals to Friday.

They could have had some of the group semifinals today, like West Milford and Chatham in Group 3, but this way kind of everybody ends up on the same schedule. (West Milford was hoping for the day off anyway).

And the state was never, ever going to make teams play two games in one day. Although that may be the last resort if things get bad today. That would be terrible, but you know what the other option is? Higher seed advances. The end.

But by pushing back the group semifinals to Friday, then there is no day off for some teams for the group finals on Saturday. (Which was why we could have tried to play some group semis today, hypothetically). Like, let’s say Ramsey wins today. Then they would play in the Group 2 semifinals on Friday and potentially the Group 2 final on Saturday against a team from South (or Central) Jersey who has had a day of rest.

The current plan calls for three group finals on Saturday and three more on Sunday all at Kean. And, I’ll just put it out there that IHA has its baccalaureate mass Saturday night at 5, and graduates at 10 a.m. on Sunday. So yeah.

But now, what can the NJSIAA do? First realize that the State Tournament schedule is now more compact than it used to be because of the three extra dates needed for the Tournament of Champions. I still like the TOC, even though its significance really hasn’t yet taken root. (It’s kind of like the football Bowl Games in that regard). Also, we end the season on Friday night, whereas baseball ends on the weekend along with spring track etc. I don’t really get why we can’t play the TOC final on a Saturday night. I get that it’s the first big weekend of club softball, but we’re only talking two teams here, right?

There are two different options, first is to try to steal a date in between when the State Tournament is seeded (this year May 13) and when the first round games are (May 16). You’d have to move up the seeding date.

The other thing though is Memorial Day. The other thing the state could look at is maybe playing some games on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. You could crown your sectional (by the way, for the love of all that is holy, these are Sectional champs, not State champ) champs and for most teams the season ends go party on Memorial Day weekend, while the sectional champs advance to the Group semifinals.

Of course….the other option which is being discussed privately and I have written about before is to End. The. Season. Later. Play another week into June. The NJSIAA is planning on starting the spring season later, but has made no decision on how to arrange the State Tournament dates (it’s kind of like two separate decisions). The spring season is way too short, and it would be nice to have a clearer delineation between the regular season, County Tournaments and State Tournaments. Because what ends up happening is you have teams playing regular season games, state games and county games all in the same week. The regular season games end up meaning absolutely nothing (a lot don’t even get made up) and that’s a shame. Adding a week on the back end makes a ton of sense, but the issue there is club ball, and graduations. And Mother Nature of course. Remember, she always gets what she wants.