Bleacher Bits: The goal should be player safety
First, nobody knows more than me how incredibly tight postseason games are scheduled in order to get all the championships played before the start of the spring sports seasons.
I get that.
There is a lot of timing and logistics that go into getting two schools together on the same field or in the same gymnasium on a certain date at a certain time. Canceling and needing to reschedule a game throws a major monkey wrench into the works.
But sometimes it should be done.
On Tuesday, Orland High's boys and girls soccer teams were both hosting semifinal games that kicked off at 3 p.m. Both games began under dark skies with storms in the forecast. Then the fun started.
Lightning first began appearing off in the distance, with the accompanying claps of thunder that can be timed to determine roughly how close the lightning is.
Then hail began falling, and the National Weather Service in Sacramento confirmed that the city of Orland was under a severe thunderstorm warning from 3:30-4:15 p.m.
The teams played on through it all, with the only stoppage being for intermission in both games.
Orland girls coach Tim Milhorn explained that it is the center official's call in regards to the lightning, and I believe it is a call that should have been made.
On March 16, a high school softball player in Seymour, Ind. was struck by lighting during practice, and three other players were taken to a hospital for observation. According to the Seymour Tribune, "Players said that they could see storm clouds in the distance, but coaches decided to continue practice because they were quite far off."
The National Federation of State High School Associations has established guidelines for lightning, and among the guidelines is the Thirty-minute Rule, which states that once lightning has been recognized, it is recommended to wait at least 30 minutes after the last flash of lighting is witnessed or thunder is heard. Any subsequent lightning or thunder after the beginning of the 30-minute count should reset the clock and another count should begin.
It's never wise to tempt fate, and with one ill-fated lightning strike I would have switched from being a sports reporter to covering an unfortunate and preventable news story.
The first goal should always be player safety, because the score of the game is nowhere near as important as assuring that all the players get to finish it safely.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.