Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fooling Mother Nature

The product, TigerBlog believes, was Chiffon margarine. The commercial featured Mother Nature herself, eating the spread on something, marveling over the butter taste.

When informed that it was margarine and not butter, the response was that "it's not nice to fool Mother Nature," followed by a raccoon, TB believes, who covered its eyes, awaiting the ensuing wrath.

All these decades later, it's good to know that Mother Nature hasn't lost her fastball. Not with what's going on around here of late.

The earthquake that preceded the hurricane, floods and more torrential rain and floods was only two weeks ago, so that's a lot packed into a short time.

Last night - actually early this morning - featured a massive thunderstorm, one with illuminating flashes of lightning followed in short order by gigantic crashes of thunder, all while even more rain cascaded down.

Princeton has seen rain on 16 of the last 28 days, much of it substantial.

Who knows? Maybe it's related to margarine.

If you watched the opening weekend of college football, you saw three games delayed by lightning, including two that were unable to be finished.

According to a stat TB saw, the last time a Division I-A game wasn't played to its conclusion was 2002; there were two last weekend alone - Michigan vs. Western Michigan and Marshall vs. West Virginia, both of which made it about three-quarters of the way through with one team up big.

The Notre Dame-South Florida game was delayed twice and finally finished six hours after it started.

As an aside, TB can't help but think that the sideline antics of ND coach Brian Kelley - a hard guy to root for after the way he dumped Cincinnati - that were caught on TV (screaming, cursing, berating players after mistakes they didn't intend to make) are part of a act that he thinks he has to go through to get his players to see how tough he is.

Anyway, Princeton hasn't, to TB's memory, had a football game delayed by lightning in all the years he's been watching - although maybe he's just forgetting it. There have been other games delayed, including a women's soccer game last year against St. Joe's that was cancelled after a big t-storm that came in at halftime.

Princeton's 2002 NCAA women's lacrosse semifinal against North Carolina was delayed by lightning with Princeton ahead 17-4 or something like that and only a few minutes left, but the game was resumed and played to its conclusion.

As TB watched South Florida take apart the Irish and their happy-go-lucky coach, the announcers were thrown into the unenviable position of having to fill time, an extraordinary amount of time as it turned out.

At one point, the discussion turned to the rules of when a game can be restarted, and the announcers seemed at a bit of a loss as to what they actually are.

TB was confused on one part as well, and that's whether or not NCAA rules apply to BCS college football.

Around here, once a game is stopped by lightning, there is a 30-minute clock that starts. If a subsequent lightning strike occurs, the clock is reset to 30 minutes.

The athletic trainers and the event management staffs are in charge of monitoring such situations, and there are computers and cell phones that receive automatic lightning warnings at every site.

Aside from the seats at the baseball field, TigerBlog is pretty sure that every outdoor bleacher at a Princeton venue is metal. The need to evacuate fans in the event of lightning is obvious.

Safety, of course, is the first priority, for everyone involved.

Tonight is the first home event for Princeton athletics in 2011-12, with a field hockey game against Penn State to be followed tomorrow night by a men's soccer game against Fairleigh Dickinson.

Hopefully, these events - and all others - will go off without having to implement policies for bad weather.

Still, those policies exist, the result of long discussions in meeting after meeting.

And when they're needed, it's a good thing those meetings happened.

As for now, TB is going to answer the messages he's gotten from the four people who can't get near here because of the floods.

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