Oklahoma's own Garth Brooks sang about lightning and thunder in his hit song from 1998. What he didn't say was that lightning is not a good thing for high school football or any outside sport. Ben Franklin may have played out in a thunderstorm to discover electricity, but we don't want any students out playing when it is dangerous. Elgin had their game against Plainview canceled on Friday due to thunderstorms that would not go away over southcentral Oklahoma. I was at the Lawton High - Ike game and the game got suspended and then canceled with a little over a minute remaining in the third quarter.
The National Federation of State High School Associations has created a guideline that is to be followed in bad weather situations: (a) When thunder is heard, or a cloud-to-ground lightning bolt is seen, the thunderstorm is close enough to strike your location with lightning. Suspend play and take shelter immediately; (b) Thirty-minute rule. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard or flash of lightning is witnessed prior to resuming play; (c) Any subsequent thunder or lightning after the beginning of the 30-minute count, reset the clock and another 30-minute count should begin. The problem arises when the storms will not go away. Then, it must be decided how long do you want to keep fans, players and all those involved waiting. It is never an easy task to call off a sporting event. Usually, it becomes a group effort between referees, coaches, school administration and the local weather team. It is easier to cancel a non-District game as District games must be completed in most situations. So, let's hope the rough stuff stays away on Friday!