delays, oh my
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 7:46 PM
Neil Burk is the sports editor of The Paper of Montgomery County. This is his third year of covering sports in the county after graduating from Wabash College. You can contact Neil at 361-0100 ext. 31 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What an adventure we had Friday.
Those of you that were out at the Southmont football probably saw me as the guy running back and forth between administrators and bugging them about when (and if) we were going to get the games going. I was anxious for a decision, as were the fans, and there was a lot of pressure on the people in charge.
There was even more pressure because of the updated rule that, as of January, states thunder is indistinguishable from lightning. All my life, I remember not being able to play sports if it was lightning out. You could play in the rain, wind and even snow, but lightning meant a delay. And that made sense.
But now the powers that be at the National Federation of State High School Associations have decided that where there is thunder, there is lightning. And no matter how far away the storm is, the game still has to be delayed for 30 minutes from the last strike or thunderclap.
The reason I'm talking so much about this is because many fans didn't know about the new classification. They saw dark skies and occasional lightning and heard thunder to the north of New Market while the sun was shining overhead. We knew where the storm came from and that is was long gone, because it passed overhead and rightfully delayed the game. It was delaying Crawfordsville and North Montgomery while we watched.
But administrators were put in a bad spot because they weren't allowed to use any judgment. They saw lightning or heard thunder and couldn't start the 30-minute delay clock. I get it. Their job is to keep people safe and that's what they did. It's just unfortunate that the governing national agency doesn't lend enough credence to the boots on the ground to allow them to make a common sense-call to start the 30-minute clock.
By the time the 30-minute delay clock started rolling and the game got going it was 9 p.m. The storm was already out of the county, evidenced by North Montgomery and Crawfordsville starting soon thereafter. No one was hurt by weather, and that's always the goal.
It's just hard for me to agree with a national rule that handcuffs the folks that know what's best and are in the real-life moment of the situation. If schools start losing Friday-night profits because of cancellations from thunder (not lightning), schools will start speaking up. It's a tough reality, but football is a big-time money-maker for athletic departments and doesn't come close to drawing as big of a gate on Saturdays as on Fridays.
If the pocket books start getting involved, maybe the NFHS will lend some well-deserved credence to the administrators on the ground and let them decide what's safe and what isn't.
But enough of that.
We now have two weeks of football under our belts and Crawfordsville has the best record in the county.
Not a typo.
And doesn't necessarily mean they are the best team in the county.
Every team in the county would have beat Tindley (Crawfordsville's week two opponent) and every team in the county would have lost to Brebeuf (North Montgomery's week two opponent).
So it's hard to say that whether Crawfordsville or North Montgomery is better. We have to wait until the end of the month to sort that out.
But we will know on Friday who the better team is between North Montgomery and Southmont. The Chargers looked good against Benton Central and went up against one of the best running backs in the state with Brebeuf's Lavonte Bellamy.
Southmont got a dose of one of the best 1A teams in the state with Fountain Central and then beat up on a North Putnam team that has a long way to go.
To say that one team has the edge would be unfair at this point. There's no clear cut favorite, which usually makes the rivalry games even better.
It ought to be a good one.
I'll see ya out there!