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Sunday August 2nd, 2015 2:19AM

Opinion: Winter weather should be an opportunity to teach, not a reason for shutdown

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
To all those school systems who close their doors every time a gust of cold air finds its way into the area, whom do I call about lost wages?

Human Resources? Accounting? The local tax assessor?

You see, every time you cancel school, and sporting events, I lose money. I understand about safety. I have kids in school at the moment. We all want to be safe. But accidents happen when it's warm and sunny. Why is it that we think cold and snow means we have to shut everything down?

For the rest of the world (i.e. businesses that rely on actual business to make money, which is basically everyone else) life goes on and moves forward. Closed doors mean lost revenue.

How in the world do the people up north or places like Finland survive? It gets below freezing and snows in places like that nine months out of the year. I know the argument about winter equipment. I don't totally buy it. When I was in high school more than 30 years ago in Alabama we never missed a day because of weather. And it snowed several times and I'm sure Tuscaloosa didn't have many snowplows at the time.

(Editor's note: Of course we understand it's better not to have kids standing at bus stops in sub-zero wind-chill -- this is referring more the cancellation of games, rather than school in general.)

Of course, I'm speaking strictly from a sports writer's view. When you close the gym doors on us, we lose the ability to make money and provide for our families (yes, even sports writers have families). It's not just about me. I'm also thinking of others when I say this.

How about the referees who earn a living by having to actually be at the games? No games, no whistle-blowing, no money.

How about the security people that get paid to be at the games? No games, no protection needed, no money.

How about the concessions of the schools, who use that money to help fund the various programs? No games, no hot dogs to sell, no money.

And that does't even take into account the headaches for area coaches and players, who miss practice, have to reschedule games and squeeze even more contests into an already crowded stretch run in January and February -- they rue these days perhaps most of all.

Was there any thought in your decisions to the economic effect closing the doors has on everyone else?

How about those parents who have to take a day off from work (usually unpaid) to stay home with their kids, who really should be in school. Family budgets take a hit because of cancellations.

I, for one, would like to be involved in the decision-making when the next blast of cold air goes through town, if possible. Just give me a quick call and I'll go check the roads.

While I am only half-joking, canceling games so often is yet just another symptom of a society that is becoming soft. What are we really teaching our kids? "It's OK to call off school, or work, because it's cold outside?"

With the logic displayed on closing school, where does it end? It's going to be pretty cold every day this month and most of February. Why don't we just go ahead and call things off until the spring when it warms up?

Uh oh, wait a second. Can't do that either.

It's going to be very windy in March (it can blow cars around I hear) and rain a bunch in April (flooding, you know). Too hazardous for sure. May looks good.

Wait, it gets pretty hot in May and can overtax an air conditioner. Maybe we shouldn't start then either. The summer. Nope. Sometimes it can get over 100. Very tough on air conditioners.

Which brings us back to the Fall. Pretty good conditions for school. I don't see any problems there.

Wait, just remembered. There's the lightning blast 10 miles away that we see in the sky and then suspend football games. Happened twice this past season.

Political correctness (not to mention fear) is a huge reason we make decisions we do in this day and age. If one place cancels and cites "safety," if another does not, then they are seen as insensitive. That is both wrong and unfair. If a school system wants to not disrupt their schedule and students, they should be allowed to make that decision to stay open without repercussions.

The point is that ALL of these things happened 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago and life moved forward. People went about their merry way and learned how to deal with things.

The world doesn't usually stop for normal weather. And cold is normal, even in Georgia. There will be hundreds, if not thousands of people driving around today (Tuesday) despite the cold and the conditions.

I praise Lakeview Academy for staying open. In an email the school released, they had it right, "It may be cold outside, but our school is warm." And, they have buses!

School systems need to teach kids that it's OK to keep living and doing things even in adverse conditions. That's what life is all about anyway.

School systems preach diversity. It's time to add adaptability to the curriculum.

-- Jeff Hart is a sports writer for accessnorthga.com
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