Rule No. 1 when covering an assignment outside: check the weather. Typically, West Texas weather is pretty predictable, clear skies, warm with a light wind. Friday started out that way as I headed to Miles for a District 6-1A Division II game between the Bulldogs and the Eldorado High School Eagles. It didn't finish that way.
To be honest, I did check the weather before heading out and I knew that we were in store for a cold front to move through and with it a little rain. But from the reports it didn't look like anything was going to happen until 10:00 or 10:30pm, well after the game was going to finish. So, I was wearing my usual athletic shirt, shorts and tennis shoes when I got to the field. I was going through my usual routine of shooting some feature photos before the game started when I hear an alert ring on my cell phone. Apparently, the cold front was going to move through faster than earlier reported. I took a quick look at my weather app and sure enough, a long band of rain was headed our way. My best guess was that it was going to hit us right at game time.
I continued on with my duties keeping an eye on the building clouds to the north. I was over on the Eldorado side of the field getting a few shots of the marching band getting ready for the game when off in the distance I started to hear a noise gaining in intensity. Remember that scene in the first Jurassic Park movie and the stranded tourists are sitting in front of the T-Rex exhibit and they can hear something coming but the only thing they can see are the trees in the background being violently thrashed around? That's exactly what I was seeing, but instead of T-Rex popping out, this low-hanging, gnarly-looking black cloud zipped over head bring with it winds easily reaching 30mph and a temperature drop of at least 20 degrees. I quickly discovered that I was severely under-dressed for this occasion.
Obviously, with the new weather condition, which I'm sure no one counted on, the game strategy for both teams was going to change a bit. The initial gust of wind that accompanied the weather front never let up and the team that was going against the wind was going to have a hard time moving the ball up the field. Passing the ball was going to be next to impossible. Punting into the wind? Forget about it. Miles tried punting a few times into the wind and the ball actually started to come back toward the kicker.
Eventually, Mother Nature took it up to the next level and added a little lightning into the mix. And with just under six minutes to go in the second quarter, the game was halted and the stadium evacuated. I have to admit, I wasn't too torn up about leaving the game early for the shelter of my car. I had to turn the heat on full blast for a few minutes so I could get my hands and knee caps to stop shaking.
After getting back to the office I followed the game via tweets from the reporter. After the delay, Miles put up the first score of the game with an 18-yrad run from quarterback Cody Krueger. Miles continued to capitalize with the wind at their backs in the third quarter scoring two more times, one coming from a 33-yard Krueger to Shelton Hohensee pass and a loose ball recovery by defensive lineman Kaleb Carroll in the end zone to make the score 21-0. That's how the game would end because Miles killed most of the time on the clock in the fourth quarter with a long possession. Fortunately, the forecast for this Friday's game looks like it's going to be just about perfect. Perhaps I'll wear long pants this time instead of shorts.