COLLEGE STATION — Well, here we go again. Another day, another rain delay.
It’s real life’s version of the pause button and sports’ purgatory.
This time, I had just arrived at the 7-on-7 state tournament at Veterans Park in College Station. I parked my car and set out to get the lay of the land. But as I walked closer to the playing fields, I noticed athletes, coaches and fans were all headed in the opposite direction. Dark-ish clouds were hanging out on the horizon. I checked my weather app on my phone and there was no sign of the little storm cloud icons, so I began to wonder if maybe I had just arrived between games.
It didn’t take long, though, for the atmosphere at Veterans Park to definitively shift. Less than five minutes after I left my car, the wind picked up and gusts blew dust in the air all around me. I turned my hat around backwards to keep it from blowing away and donned my sunglasses to keep the dust out of my eyes.
I made it back to my car before the downpour began and here I sit as I write this at 4:03 in the afternoon wondering if today’s pool play will be replaced by pools of standing water. At the very least, I’ll be here for 30 more minutes because I just saw a flash and, we all know by now, every lightning strike resets the clock on the weather delay.
Since there’s very little else for me to do at the moment, I figured I’d write this column recounting my five most memorable rain delays of the last year.
In the interest of ending on a positive note, I’m going to list these in order of least to most enjoyable.
1. My own round of golf, July 10 last summer, Cottonwood Creek Golf Course. I had played five holes when a huge storm with heavy rain came upon me, kind of out of nowhere. At first I parked my cart under some trees, hoping the rain would pass quickly.
However, as thunder rolled in the distance, I realized my hiding spot was foolishly dangerous. So I left my clubs and cart where they were and hiked 50 yards to the shelter of the bathrooms building between holes No. 6 and 15. There were already a bunch of golfers crammed in the covered hallway, but I managed to find some space and even ran into a couple of people I knew.
Half an hour after the rain began, it was still going strong and we all came to terms with the fact that golf was over for the day. That was a bummer and so was the fact that I now needed to take a five-minute golf cart ride through the rain to get back to the clubhouse.
2. Texas Tech vs. Arkansas baseball game at the College World Series, June 20, 2018, Omaha Neb. Technically, this one happened little over a year ago, but it was a brutal one, so I’m going to count it.
The Razorbacks and Red Raiders were supposed to play a winners-bracket game on the evening of June 19, but it was postponed until the next morning because of weather. When the reset game time rolled around the next morning, storm clouds and rain were still dominating downtown Omaha. Yet some of the people with whom I was traveling (and who will remain nameless) decided to go ahead into the stadium. I acquiesced to meet up with them and, because we couldn’t leave and reenter, we were all stuck in TD Ameritrade Park, watching it rain for hours.
When the game finally resumed, Arkansas took control in the early innings and eventually won.
3. Lorena vs. Pittsburg playoff football game, November 30, Royse City ISD Stadium. My buddy Luke Webb, who is an excellent stat keeper and often accompanies me to playoff games, was with me as we headed out for this game as soon as he got out of school on a Friday afternoon last fall.
We ran into traffic going around the east side of Dallas and barely made it to the stadium parking lot before kickoff. Nonetheless, we managed to get ourselves situated and were witnessing a fantastic football game. Lorena fell behind by two touchdowns, but the Leopards had come back to take a 21-14 lead midway through the third quarter when a surprise lightning delay stopped the action.
This happens sometimes. When lightning is detected, even if you can’t see it, the game has to be halted and the players and fans must take shelter. On this occasion, we didn’t see the lightning because the storm was moving in from behind us. This made for a long delay as a huge blob on the radar took it’s time going right over the top of us.
Since we were only about 45 minutes from Luke’s grandparents’ house, he caught a ride out of there. I stuck it out despite the fact that the game didn’t resume until after the Trib’s deadline had already passed.
When the contest resumed, Lorena’s momentum had blown away with the storm and Pittsburgh came back to claim a 34-28 victory.
(Actually, these delays don’t seem to be getting more enjoyable do they? Hang in there.)
4. Lorena vs. Huffman Hargrave playoff soccer game, April 12, A&M Consolidated Tigerland Stadium in College Station.
This was another unseen lightning situation, but this time it was a much smaller dot on the radar. As soon as the delay was announced, I made a move to go find some dinner as it was about that time.
Around the corner from the stadium, I happened upon a local burrito place. The only downside was that it took a while for my order to be filled and I barely made it back to the stadium in time to see a Lorena goal. But the burrito was delicious and the Lady Leopards defeated Hargrave, 2-0.
5. UIL State Track Meet, May 11, Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
I had already planned to take a lunch break and Uber to my favorite taco restaurant, Taco Deli. It was beginning to rain when my ride picked me up and it was pouring by the time I arrived at the restaurant.
While waiting in line, I checked Twitter and saw that the state meet was in a rain delay. No surprise. I ate my tacos, watched the rain pass, then went next door for a coffee. By the time I Ubered back to the track stadium, the action was starting again. For once, the rain delay worked out just right.
I guess the moral to the story is the pain of a rain delay can be canceled out by Mexican food.