Ugly Weather, NYC Traffic Caused Game Cancellation

If not for some high winds and a traffic jam last week, the men’s basketball team could have gone into tonight’s game already posting a 5-1 record.

The team was all ready to face an undefeated Hofstra program on Long Island last Wednesday night, but gusts of wind and a reported truck spill rerouted the Light Blue’s bus and ultimately forced the game to be postponed.

The team’s bus got as far as the Throgs Neck Bridge between the Bronx and Queens, only to find out that the bridge had been closed due to inclement weather conditions. They—and everyone else on the road—were redirected to the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, but the rerouting caused major traffic congestion and the team decided to call Hofstra to postpone the much-anticipated matchup.

“It was early in the trip, around 4:45, when we felt like we were going to have some trouble getting there,” head coach Joe Jones said. “I called [Hoftstra] head coach Tom Pecora, who’s a really good friend of mine, and told him we could have some issues here. I told him we would continue to try and make it through it.”

The team began discussing a delay at around 6 p.m., and decided to postpone the game a half hour later.

Columbia teams are not unfamiliar with traffic tie-ups, as they have resulted in many cancelled games over the years around the metropolitan tri-state area. Back-ups in New York City traffic, especially in weather conditions like Wednesday’s, are inescapable, but Associate Athletic Director Paul Fernandes said that Columbia does its best to limit its effects.

“We try to anticipate the amount of traffic that could be on the travel-pass we’re taking so we can figure out how long it will take us to get from point A to point B,” Fernandes said yesterday. “We try to build in some traffic travel time.”

Fernandes said that sometimes traffic problems cannot be anticipated, even by a generally reliable Internet map program.

“With the amount of traffic you experience at that time of day, it’s hard to get from Columbia to Hofstra,” Fernandes said. “If you use MapQuest, you can’t go by that.”

Hofstra and Columbia will finally face off on Dec. 22, and Fernandes intends to make sure that the Light Blue are in Garden City ready to play this time around. He said he is prepared to make any necessary adjustments to get them there in time for start of the game.

“We’ll see the time of the game and what time we left last time and leave according to that,” Fernandes said. “[One possibility is that] we might travel first and set up a meal close to our opponents’ venue.”

Coach Jones also foresees a smooth ride next time because by then his players will be done with exams.

“You have the academics that are very important,” Jones said. “So you don’t want to leave too early—guys have class. But this is after exams so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Ideally, Fernandes and Jones would like to do away with the team’s travel woes permanently and put an end to a recurring series of missed basketball games.

“Coach Jones and I are going to sit down and figure it out so that this doesn’t happen again,” Fernandes said. “Not just on this trip but on all the trips.”

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