Why inclement weather makes real#039; football

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 8, 2001

If you didn't get out to the stadiums last Friday, I'm here to tell ya, twas some fine feetsball goin' on!

I remember, as I was wading through about two feet of wet stuff on the Georgiana Panthers sideline something my father once told me (and try as I might, I couldn't provehim wrong).

It was something along the lines of "rain or snow brings the athlete out in a football player," and let me tell you, when you think about it, there's truth in them there words.

Email newsletter signup

It doesn't matter what type of cleats a player is wearing, when they try to move on the turf, the turf moves back.

And distractions – just imagine trying to concentrate on where you want to go, and what you want to do, while with every step you take about three feet of splash goes up in the air all around you, striking you in the face, eyes, and anything else in its way.

Coupled with the concentration needed, and for tracking your feet in the intended direction makes it

a real time-consuming effort.

It is during this natural event that the real athletes are able to overcome all the elements of nature, catch and hold onto) the football, and run where the opening lies.

And they good athletes can even side-step someone while still making that forward momentum happen, throwing the intended defender of lesser agility into the wide open turf.

Unfortunately; there are more injuries that go along with the play in bad weather, not to mention the maladies of getting wet and heated at the same time.

Weather has been the turning point for many a football game, because, unlike baseball, most football games go on, unless the lightning gets so bad that it becomes a hazard.

But another pleasure for me was seeing the filled-to-near-capacity stands in Harmon Field Stadium.

Made me downright proud to be there with everyone else who braved the wet environment.

Of course, I had difficulty writing anything down, so I depended a lot on recall and the excellent statistics taken by my friend Mike Middleton – he even had stats for both sides, not just Georgiana.

People on the north end of the county could learn a lesson here, though.

While the weather was certainly uncomfortable for many, the stands were full of supportive fans, and the players really appreciated it, too. Guess turnabout is fair play, since the students sacrifice so much to represent their schools and families in their athletic accomplishments – and so what if it was a little uncomfortable – no one was alone, everyone was equally wet, and all were laughing about it.

But then there was the feeling of wet clothing.

The next time I think it will rain while I am at a game, I will wear looser-fitting clothing, instead of those favorite 501 Levi's' – and I will have to say, in retrospect, my wife is absolutely right, they are just a tad on the too tight side of things, and that is when dry.

But don't forget that blue jeans, at least of the Levi's brand name, are primarily cotton.

While this is normally the most comfortable of all fabrics, when wet, it kinda draws up a bit, if you know what I mean.

Makes more than a soprano out of any tenor, I'm here to testify, especially if you drop something and try to pick it up.

But alas, the lessons must be learned somehow, and so I guess I will probably be shopping really soon for some jeans of a larger variety (just in case it rains, mind you, not that I am getting any larger in stature) so as to be more prepared.

Coach Sampley of Ft. Dale Academy said although he was told it rained all through the second half while the Eagles were playing in Hope Hull, he didn't seem to notice it, because he was too busy concentrating on other things.

But back to the type of game the rain causes.

In what might well have been a runaway sensation for the Eagles when they played against Hooper Academy, they managed to score three points, and prevent the other team from any score at all.

Survival of the fittest.

Mental conditioning comes into play also, as Coach Smothers of McKenzie pointed out.

He said his team just wanted to win so badly the rain didn't even phase them – I guess they were effectively blocking it out of their minds.

But just in case, I might be on the fields this Friday in scuba gear with a snorkel – or maybe not.

I will certainly be on the westward side, even if covered over with water, in what is otherwise know to many as Deep Left Field.