With winter months, inevitably comes bad weather. And with bad weather, inevitably comes the cancellation of school and school-related sporting events.
Several high school basketball games have been canceled this week, and with weather forecasts calling for more snow, several more are expected to be canceled before the week ends.
But that doesn't mean the players can sit on their butts while they wait for the roads to clear.
"They're very aware of what's expected of them," Webster County girls' basketball coach Parker McCalister said. "I think as a coach, that's something that I have to do, make the expectations really clear to them. I expect you guys to get out and run. I expect you guys to be in shape when we come back. Not being here because of snow is not an excuse. You just have to figure it out, find a way, get out in the snow and run, shovel driveways, do something."
Madisonville-North Hopkins boys' basketball coach Matt Beshear said there are also a number of resources the players can use in the community to stay active.
"A lot of guys, they're going to go to the YMCA and play pickup ball and so forth," Beshear said. "And you've got Baptist Health Sports Medicine is another facility that our athletes of Hopkins County can use. If they get a physical through Baptist Health, then they have a free membership and they can use the gym and the facilities there."
Some teams were actually able to get games in this week. The Webster County boys' team beat Dawson Springs on Monday before the first snowfall came in, and the Hopkins County Central boys' team managed to play in Butler County Tuesday night despite the inclement weather.
The Storm came away with a 71-62 win over the Bears, snapping a three-game losing streak.
"It was really good for us, for sure. To come out of Butler County, out of our region, and get a win down there," Central coach Barrett Nelson said. "So of course we want to get back on the court as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, North had its Thursday game against Union County canceled and isn't scheduled to play another game until next Tuesday, a 10-day gap from its last game.
"High school kids, they need a routine and organization, that's the big thing," Beshear said. "When they go play pickup ball or go play on their own, there's not really that organization that you have when you're practicing day-to-day and you're on a couple-game schedule a week."
But Beshear added that the break could be beneficial for some of the team's more banged-up players, like senior Jaiveon Eaves, who has been playing with a lower leg injury for the past couple weeks.
"Hopefully, if anything positive comes out of this, it'll allow those guys to get some rest, to kind of get healthy again, and finish out the stretch run of the season," Beshear said.
While Beshear hopes his injured players will get the rest they need, he still hopes the rest of his team will get out and stay active.
"It's extremely important from the standpoint that you want to stay in a rhythm," Beshear said. "You take several days off, and you're not active and so forth, and it's a lot. You've got to get your conditioning back up to game level, and then having a basketball in your hands is extremely important, just because of the feel of it.
"Even if the kids can't get out and get shots up, there's always ball-handling drills, things that they've been given that they can do on their own, and some will do it, and some won't, and that's just part of it, but you've just got to trust that each student athlete's going to do what they need to do to stay ready to play."
But McCalister said his biggest focus is keeping his team conditioned mentally.
"Ultimately, to me, it comes down to mental toughness, and can you deal with adversity," McCalister said. "It's life, it's basketball, not everything's going to go as you plan it to go. How can you adjust? Can you be flexible? Can you figure things out when things don't go like it's drawn up?
"I feel like I gear a lot of my practicing towards working on their mental toughness, trying to get them to do more than they think they can do, and for times of year like this, when the weather's uncertain, the teams that are the mentally toughest are the teams that are generally the most successful."