With the odds against them, all of our local high schools appear ready to start fall sports practices on Saturday.

So, of course, the National Weather Service is calling for snow on Thursday and Friday and a wintry mix into Saturday.

Then again, I kept reading we were supposed to get 6-to-9 inches of snow this past Sunday, and I didn't see a single snowflake here in Essex.

(Yeah, I heard other parts of the state and northern Baltimore County got hammered. But I didn't see any snow, and that's all that mattered.)

(Come to think of it, that Nor'Easter the previous weekend was also pretty weak in these parts.)

(Yes, I get excited for snowstorms. I am not a functioning adult.)

Regardless, it's a minor inconvenience. The fall sports season is upon us, finally, even in abbreviated form with no playoffs. Getting to play part of a season is better than none at all.

But it occurs to me - I've never seen a high school football game in the snow. Mainly because most teams are finished playing in early November, but it's not unusual for this area to get snowstorms in March.

Schedules have been released, and there are a few oddities which should be expected when you have to put them together in a hurry.

All schools have been placed in four-school "pods;" each school in the pod will play each other, and the same three-four schools outside the pod (football plays six games; all other sports play seven).

Additionally, every sport at each school will play the same six-seven opponents. For example: every sport at Dundalk High will play Chesapeake, Patapsco, Kenwood, Milford Mill, Lansdowne and Woodlawn.

Owl teams with seven-game schedules will all play Western Tech for their seventh game.

The question here in Dundalk is why isn't Sparrows Point part of a pod with Dundalk and Patapso?

The Owls and Patriots are in a pod with Kenwood and Chesapeake. Sparrows Point is in a pod with Eastern Tech, Perry Hall and Catonsville.

The non-pod opponents for all Pointer teams are Towson, Hereford, Franklin and Dulaney.

Sparrows Point does not play Patapsco and Dundalk in any fall sport. It's going to be kinda hard for the Pointers to retain the Peninsula Cup.

Which is why, as Official Keeper of the Peninsula Cup Standings, I'm going to rule that Cup competition is suspended for this school year.

As to why Sparrows Point was left out of the "Southeast area" pod, one speculation was the county was too concerned about what schools would be fielding which teams and the quality of the respective soccer/field hockey teams.

So the Pointers will be playing Franklin in football. That is, 2013, 2014 and 2018 Class 3A state football champion Franklin playing a team that won two games in 2019, with one by forfeit.

That same week, Milford Mill plays Patapsco. Milford Mill is Franklin's rival, and they don't play this season. Patapsco is Sparrows Point's rival.

The obvious thing is to have the four teams switch opponents. But that might cause the whole schedule structure to come crashing down.

In field hockey, Patapsco is scheduled to play Kenwood and Lansdowne three times each, due to so many schools not fielding hockey teams.

And it looks like Kenwood may not have a team. So, the Vikings and Patriots play each other six times?

While County Executive John Olszewski Jr. allowed for spectators in his executive order (one parent/guardian per player), the school system has opted for no spectators, period (probably in the interest of not causing domestic conflicts).

So, how about streaming the games?

Well, for starters, it may be rough finding people willing to hold up their tablet or phone in the freezing cold for a few hours.  And students aren't allowed in to watch the games, anyway.

Ironically ... "the county is in the process of getting great camera systems installed," Pointer athletic director Paul Latanishen said. "They are sitting in our building."

"We have a camera for the gym, but are waiting for it to be fully functional," Patriot athletic director Chris McGuinness said. "We are waiting for it to be installed in our outside stadium."

***

It isn't so much that Tom Brady won another Super Bowl title; it's the game was so dull.

It was nice, however, to see the refs call all of those defensive holding penalties against Kansas City that they let Tampa Bay get away with when playing the Packers.

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