By JOHN SCHWARB
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 13, 2001
If there were ever a time for an appropriate rainout, Lisa Bitting believed Tuesday night was it.
On the same day terror struck Washington and New York, Palm Harbor U. traveled to St. Petersburg for a swim meet. But swimming was far from the minds of the participants.
With heavy rains, athletes and coaches got a little more time to tend to heavy hearts.
"I was not necessarily upset about that," said Bitting, the PHU coach.
"It was a difficult position to be in, knowing that we were supposed to go down there to (swim) and at the same time dealing with the fact that you want to be respectful to what happened during the day."
Many other Pinellas County teams dealt with the same emotions after superintendent Howard Hinesley elected not to postpone athletic practices and events.
Wednesday, several athletes and coaches said dealing with the news was difficult, but getting out to practice or play was a welcome diversion.
"We were sitting around waiting for someone to tell us we couldn't (practice)," Dixie Hollins football coach Mike Morey said. "We didn't hear anything, so the best thing we could do was practice.
"The bottom line is you can't sit in the house and dwell on it. You have to get your mind on other things."
Pinellas County athletic director Bob Hosack spent much of Tuesday afternoon delivering volleyball uniforms to middle schools but said most calls to his office favored the decision to play on quickly.
He compared the situation to the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Hosack was a first-year coach at Boca Ciega and said players then also returned to the field quickly.
"It doesn't compare to what happened (Tuesday)," Hosack said. "But I believe that (students) have the resiliency to bounce back after this type of thing."
Hillsborough County officials opted to postpone practices and games Tuesday, but a directive was issued Wednesday telling principals to resume athletic events as scheduled.
"Other activities taking place at school sites such as football practice, band practice, etc., are at the discretion of the principals," the directive read.
Jesuit athletic director Sonny Hester said a cross country meet scheduled for Saturday at Ed Radice Park, which will include between 1,500 and 2,000 participants, will be run "unless it is deemed by the USF people as a matter of public safety."
"I'm thinking major-league baseball and (pro) football would be two prime targets for attacks," Hester said. "I know this would be a significant amount of people at that cross country meet, which is why I think it's still under consideration."
FOOTBALL GAME OFF: Friday's game between Admiral Farragut and Temple Heights was postponed. A decision about rescheduling has not been made.
-- Times staff writers Rodney Page, Frank Pastor, Scott Purks, Bob Putnam and Mike Readling contributed to this report.
Osceola (2-0) at Pinellas Park (0-2)
LAST MEETING: Osceola 40, Pinellas Park 28 (2000)
THE SKINNY: Pinellas Park has not been competitive in 31-0 and 28-3 losses, giving up more than 500 rushing yards. All Osceola brings to the table is the county's leading rusher, Jason Teague.
Page: Osceola. Putnam: Osceola. Schwarb: Osceola
WHERE: Keswick Christian, 10101 54th Ave. N.
ADMISSION: $3 for adults, $2 for students.
TODAY'S MATCHES: Court 1 -- CCC vs. Pinellas Park, 3; St. Petersburg Catholic vs. PHU, 4:10; Keswick vs. CCC, 5:20; PHU vs. Clearwater, 6:30; Keswick vs. Tarpon Springs, 7:40; Clearwater vs. St. Petersburg Catholic, 8:45. Court 2 -- Largo vs. Tampa Catholic, 3; Countryside vs. Northside, 4:10; Shorecrest vs. Largo, 5:20; Seminole vs. Northside, 6:30; East Lake vs. Shorecrest, 7:40; Winter Park Trinity Prep vs. Seminole, 8:45. -- Compiled by Bob Putnam.