Friday, October 2, 2015

ESPN and the Weather Channel in a Battle of Wills

I believe that Mother Nature--no matter how...psychotic...her moods may seem while we're in the midst of enduring them--really strives to achieve some kind of harmony in her life. For example, this past Summer our region experienced plenty of (i.e. "too darn much") heat and humidity...but practically no rain. (I mean, at ALL--I remember one or two thunderstorms during the entire season, and that's about it.) So the past week's crazy weather makes sense, in a "tip the scales back into balance....right NOW" kind of way. However, while I understand and appreciate the need for...environmental equilibrium, I've gotta say that it certainly wreaks havoc on, say, one's outdoor activities.

Let's see, the Fall Freakfest kicked off on Friday, September 25th. How do I know this? Simple--because that's the first day the WestEnders family calendar shows an event written in the appropriate color for the participant (in this case, Derek)...and then neatly crossed off when it was canceled. Specifically, the Chapel Hill High School soccer matches for that evening were rained out. Little did we suspect that this represented only the beginning of the ensuing mayhem. It continued the next day, as Riley's game suffered the same fate. Then on Sunday--at which point soggy conditions had persisted, but it was NOT actually precipitating at the time--Riley and Husband dutifully trekked all the way to Raleigh for another round of soccer....but the other team never appeared. I guess they decided it was play? (Yet here's the funniest part: they were scheduled to run around on TURF. seems that some people can't hack a little...squishy adversity, I tell ya!)

Oh, but there's more! Yep, the following day (we're up to Monday, the 28th, if anyone's concerned) both Riley's cross-country meet and Derek's soccer match were--you guessed it--postponed due to the wet stuff. And I honestly don't even recall if there were still showers in the forecast, or if the ground was just too goopy by this time to have kids slipping and sliding around in what pretty much amounted to a swampy terrain situation. Either way, the list of  "save it for a non-rainy day" stuff just kept piling up.

And then--hallelujah--we finally got to squeeze in one lone contest: JV and Varsity soccer on Wednesday evening. I managed to make it by the midpoint of Derek's game, and was rewarded with one of the most entertaining halves of soccer I've ever witnessed. The score was 2-1 in our favor when I took my seat on the bleachers and prepared to cheer on the Tigers. During the next 35 minutes, Chapel Hill scored 4 times (while allowing no goals). One of the opposing players was issued a straight red card (for those more familiar with American football than the international version, that's an immediate ejection, without a prior yellow card warning having been issued) for...I don't actually know for sure, since it happened on the far sideline away from our vantage point....but presumably some kind of blatant, illegal action.

The excitement also included 2 subsequent yellow cards, one for each team. When the Chapel Hill player came back to the bench, having been pulled by the coach after his infraction, I heard him admit--with not even an ounce of remorse, I should note--"Yeah, I pulled him down by his jersey, and the ref saw me." (Ahh, yes...a prime example of that fine line between "acceptably aggressive contact" and "inappropriate offensive-lineman-type-behavior".) And for the final thrill, in the waning minutes of the lopsided game, someone on the other team (literally) RAN INTO Derek, bounced off, hit the ground...and didn't get back up.

He then proceeded to lie there for so long (receiving attention from the coaches, but fortunately appearing to be mostly okay) that the refs eventually decreed that the game clock should just be started up again and allowed to run, since the outcome was not really in question...and, who knows, maybe they were hungry, or something. Afterwards, Derek reported that he thought he had overheard the officials briefly discussing whether to yellow-card him. He proclaimed that he would have reacted to this nonsense loudly and vehemently, while leaving the field under protest, since the whole incident fell firmly into the category of "not his fault". He also mentioned that his coach had cracked them all up by joking, "Jeez, my wife could ref better than this guy...and she's 9 months pregnant!" was a perfect game for those who claim that soccer is boring, that's for sure!

Okay, our luck held on Thursday, as Riley's cross-country meet went forward as scheduled. It was cool; it was breezy; it constantly threatened to sprinkle...but the runners managed to squeeze in their 1.9 miles, regardless. I have to say, it's hard for me to tell from the sidelines, watching as the kids lope past, how the race is actually...going. I mean, it's obvious who's in front (I've noticed that they're typically very tall, long-legged kids). But after that, it becomes less clear-cut. There are usually groups of runners clumped together, and the packs are somewhat spaced out from each other. And since it's, well, "cross-country" they go off into the woods at some point and disappear for a while before re-emerging to finish the course.

So yeah, I just yell for Riley whenever he gets close enough, and clap for the team to encourage them whenever they come into view. However, Riley told me when he was done that his coach had called it his "break-through performance". He finished 7th overall, and 5th among his own teammates, which in the obscure, confusing scheme of score-tallying (that I will probably never comprehend, so I'll continue to take their word for it...forever) means that his time actually counted towards the team's win. So, yaaaay, Riley! When we got home, it occurred to me that I would be wise to hightail it outside for a run, myself, since I'd likely be housebound...or very, very waterlogged...for the next several days. And believe me, I patted myself on the back a couple of hours later--after I'd already worked out and enjoyed a nice, steamy shower--when my ears detected the unmistakable sound of the latest downpour commencing.

In fact, the most recent meteorological scene is being attributed to Hurricane Joaquin, who politely decided not to make landfall in the Outer Banks, as his original path indicated, but who nonetheless "gifted" us with torrential rainfall and potential flash flooding anyway. (Thanks a bunch for that, by the way. Worst. Visitor. EVER.) Therefore the high school deemed it best to make a preemptive strike 24-hours ahead of time, and postpone tonight's game already. Aaaannnd with the amount of total precipitation we're predicted to receive, Riley's match for tomorrow is pretty doggone unlikely as well. (In my opinion, the odds falling somewhere between "snowball's chance in you-know-where" and...."just freakin' fuhgeddaboutit".)

Eh, I suppose we'll just have to resign ourselves to a weekend, relaxation, and recuperation...hey, wait a minute, that sounds kind of AWESOME! Make some popcorn, settle down on the sofa, pass out the throw blankets, and bring on Movie Night!

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