It’s Friday night. Are you ready for some football?
Too bad. It’s probably going to rain. And lightning. Then stop. And start again.
Welcome to the first half of the Florida high school football season – productivity level: almost none.
The reason, of course, is because the only thing the state may have in greater abundance than a love of football is thunderstorms. Not just any kind, but fierce, lightning-filled, Shakespearean tempests.
Worse, they come and go so quickly – or pass close enough to force everyone inside, at least based on greater modern safety standards – that our teams get more practice filing in and out of locker rooms than they do running routes or improving tackling technique.
Perhaps the best “solution” is so novel, or ignorant, that it belongs on a different planet.
Here it is: Move Florida high school football to the winter. That’s probably in a tradewith boys basketball or wrestling, although neither is necessarily a must.
OK. You can stop laughing.
Below and in the accompanying materials are all the reasons it makes sense – and why it has about as much chance of happening as, oh, a reality TV star becoming President of the United States.
Along with a list of pros (hint: one rhymes with “honey”) and cons (how many can you count?), we also asked area football coaches and athletic directors to rank its hypothetical worthiness (all over the map) and chances it ever happens (they’d have used negative numbers if we let them).
George Tomyn, executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association, was nice enough to hear out our proposal, too. He also didn’t get far without a polite chuckle.
First, though, is understanding why so disruptive an idea might be necessary and all the negative byproducts of the current situation, which are myriad.
Since it’s what people secretly value more than safety, let’s start with a big one: money.
Chris Patricca, a Lee County School Board member and FHSAA board member, was preparing during last year’s storm-battered season to ask athletic directors in her FHSAA district to compile data on how much money is lost because of bad weather.