An Atlanta school has been forced to forfeit its season opener for a rather ludicrous but simple reason: It doesn't have any equipment.
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Southwest Atlanta (Ga.) Christian Academy forfeited its Friday season opener against North Cobb (Ga.) Christian School because the team equipment it sent away to be "conditioned" simply hadn't arrived back on time. In fact, it's nowhere near returning on time, leaving a struggling program the indignity of missing one of its games for a reason akin to a dry cleaners losing track of one's button downs.
Conditioning equipment isn't a rarity in high school sports, particularly for schools or districts that can't afford to purchase an entirely new set of helmets and pads every year or two. The process involves sending a set of equipment out to a manufacturer or other certified repair service, where all dings or other blemishes are corrected. The equipment is certified for its safety, and is then returned to the school.
For that reason, conditioning is an important part of ensuring that high school football can be played safely ... provided the equipment is returned in time for the games to move ahead at all. That didn't happen at SACA, where Dwight Howard's father, Dwight Howard Sr., is the athletic director, and no one has stepped forward to address why the equipment never made it back in time.
For his part, North Cobb coach Harry Miles was not impressed with SACA's lack of gameday equipment, though there was clearly little he could do about it.
"They sent shoulder pads and helmets off to be conditioned, and they haven't come back yet; that's the story that I got," North Cobb Christian coach Harry Miles said. "I'm trying to find time to make it up, but it doesn't look good."
If the game isn't made up, neutral fans probably won't shed many tears. Both teams finished the 2011 campaign with 1-9 records, marks that are more notable considering how small both schools are.
Still, that may make the missed game all the more punishing for the players who would have taken part in it. When you only win one game in a previous season, a contest in which you feel that you have a legitimate chance to win emerges as a major motivating factor.
Now that game looks to be off the schedule, all because of a slowdown in equipment delivery.