It is that time of year again — time for football under the lights on Friday night!
To open this year’s season of Friday Night Lights, my dad and I headed to Regina for another edition of what has become the premiere high school football rivalry in Johnson County: Regina-Solon.
The forecast for the game looked wet. My dad showed me the radar before we headed out. County-sized patches of yellow and orange, bordered by green, were heading toward us form the west. For a moment we thought about skipping Week 1, staying dry at home, but the draw of watching local football, our weekly tradition in the fall, was too much. Equipped with rain jackets and umbrellas, we headed to the game ready for whatever colored patch on the radar passed over us.
We found a very nice spot to stand at along the home side fence in the northeast corner of the end zone. Above the level of the field and with no one standing on the sidelines in front of us, we had a raised and unobstructed view of the field. I thought, “Wow! This is going to be really nice watching the game from here.” So we watched the end of the sophomore (or JV) game and watched the varsity players warm up. Regina’s sophomore (or JV) players huddled in front of us for their coach’s post-game talk. I did not catch too much of what he was saying, but it seemed to be a somewhat intense, though positive, dressing-down. The announcer offered a pre-game prayer (Regina is a private, Catholic school), the national anthem was played, and the Regals stormed onto the field much like I would love to see the Hawkeyes do. (They also did it to what sounded like a hardcore punk song, which I thought seemed a little out of place for a Catholic school.)
However, almost immediately after running onto the field, the entire Regals squad turned around and started walking back off the field. That’s when the announcer informed the crowd that the game was delayed 30 minutes due to lightning.
I had not seen any lightning, but there had presumably been a lightning strike somewhere in the designated radius (10 miles, 20 miles?). By this time it was around eight o’clock (the varsity game was scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.) and only a couple drops of rain had fallen. A few minutes into the delay, though, the rain started. Dad and I stood and chatted beneath our umbrellas, waiting patiently. The rest of the fans seemed to be doing the same. With less then nine minutes left in the delay, the western sky lit up. The clock reset to 30:00 and a second delay began. A few minutes later, as my dad chatted with a photog, a bolt of lightning flashed. An audible “Ooooo” swept through the crowd, a third delay started, and my dad turned to me and smiled. Time to leave.
The game, I learned, was postponed and will be played tomorrow night. It was something my dad was hoping for as we walked home.
“I hope they delay it ‘til tomorrow,” he said.
“Yeah, but I bet we’ll still have to pay,” I responded.
“Well, fuck them then.”