Teachers strike puts District 300 sports on hold
When the District 300 teachers hit the picket line Tuesday morning, it also means athletic competition and practices will be shutdown district wide.
The list of postponed events will include the girls basketball game scheduled to be played Tuesday night at Dundee-Crown, where the Chargers were to host rival Jacobs as each team would have been seeking its first win of the season.
Beyond the daily events that will be postponed or canceled until the strike is over, the greater concern if the strike lingers will be two long-standing varsity holiday basketball tournaments -- the 30th annual Charger Classic girls tournament at Dundee-Crown and the Golden Eagles Classic boys tournament at Jacobs.
"If there is a strike and if it goes on for any time, I'll check with the other schools to see if they can host," said Dundee-Crown Athletic Director Dick Storm of the Charger Classic girls tournament. "We have given some thought to this and I'll be working on it (Tuesday)."
Jacobs boys basketball coach Jim Hinkle couldn't be reached for comment on any alternative plans for the Golden Eagle Classic.
The D-C girls tournament runs Dec. 26-29, while the Jacobs boys tournament begins on Dec. 22 then runs again Dec. 26-29.
If the strike isn't settled, each district basketball team would have to withdraw from its respective tournament.
The strike will also mean that athletes won't be allowed to use district facilities for practices, nor will their coaches be able to run any team-related practices or activities. Five of the six varsity basketball coaches in the district are union members; Hinkle is retired.
"It's a disappointment for everybody," said Hampshire senior girls basketball player Jenny Dumoulin. "I'm sure the teachers don't want it and I know the students don't want it, especially with finals coming up. And for the athletes, now our seasons are put on hold."
Dumoulin said the Whip-Purs talked Monday about how to stay, "in basketball shape".
"We all exchanged numbers and we'll try to find a place to hold an open gym," she said. "Fortunately a lot of us have hoops in our driveways. We're all just going to try to keep in contact and try to get together and stay in shape and not lose anything."
While most coaches contacted by the Daily Herald Monday were reluctant to comment, Dundee-Crown boys basketball coach Lance Huber showed his compassion for the athletes.
"While I can't comment on the work stoppage, it's disappointing for all the athletes involved who have committed so much time in the offseason and for some of them to possibly have four years taken away from them," said Huber, whose team is off to a 5-0 start to the season.
Should the strike linger through this week, the Chargers' matchup at home Saturday night against Fremd would have to be canceled or rescheduled. It is D-C's only scheduled game this week.
"We're off to a good start so it's a bad situation with the strike interrupting it," said D-C senior boys basketball player Dylan Kissack. "Hopefully it will be a short time and we can get back and play our game Saturday."
Kissack said the Chargers hadn't talked yet about workouts but will if the strike lingers more than a day or two.
"If it lasts, the team will try to get together," he said. "I'm not sure where we'll go or what we'll do but we'll try to get together."
Hampshire boys basketball coach Bob Barnett, on medical leave while recovering from multiple heart attacks he suffered Nov. 20, said he didn't know how it would be possible for his program to conduct voluntary player-led practices away campus.
"It's tough," he said. "I feel bad for the kids. But if we can't play Friday or Saturday, we'll find another time and reschedule those games and play them."
The District 300 co-op boys swimming team, comprised of students from Dundee-Crown, Jacobs and Hampshire, has been preparing for the strike. The team will conduct captains' practices at the Dundee Recreation Center in East Dundee for as long as the impasse lasts.
Swimmers will be charged the center's $2 per day lap swim fee for nonresidents. The swimmers already paid $150 each as part of the sport's participation fee.
"We have a packet of workouts and our $2 and we're ready to go," said Hampshire swimmer Josh Dedina, one of the team captains and a returning state qualifier for D300. "We're communicating through a Facebook page. We'll see what happens. We'll see who really wants to be here and who doesn't. These are voluntary. If you don't want to be here, don't waste my time or the team's time. The commitment has to come from each guy."
Dedina lauded Jacobs junior and fellow captain Alex Reinbrecht for his help in organizing the captains' practices and helping lead the team.
"The key thing is if this goes three days or a week, we have to retain what we've worked on and go from there," Dedina said.
District 300 coach Rick Andresen has complete confidence in his captains, particularly the vocal Dedina.
"Josh gets on the guys even when I'm there," the veteran coach laughed. "I have very reliable seniors and juniors that will do a good job. The captains will organize the practices and go over and run them and hopefully we'll continue on with the conditioning we have done. They will make sure things get done and take the other kids under their wings."
Andresen, who retired three years ago from U-46 after a 33-year career at Elgin High, is no stranger to teachers' strikes. He was involved in "two or three" he recalled during his EHS tenure, including a lengthy one that lasted more than 50 days.
"I've never been part of a strike this late in the year," said Andresen, who started his teaching career in District 300 as a permanent district sub (he was in that position a year before moving over to Elgin). "The ones I've been involved with have been in the fall and have messed up girls' seasons. This is the first time it's going to affect a boys' season. Hopefully this one won't go on too long."
Andresen noted the team's invitational Wednesday at St. Viator is obviously in jeopardy as is the Rolling Meadows invitational on Saturday at Elk Grove High School.