Safe in the Storm

My Favorite Domer (AKA College Guy) called me around 9:30 Saturday evening to inform me their first football game had finally ended.

I already knew that, of course, because I was watching as much as I could. What I didn’t know was whether he was safe, so his call served to relieve my fears. Let me explain.

The skies over South Bend were wild and wooly, beginning Saturday afternoon as the Irish hosted South Florida.

Temperatures were in the mid-90s. It was sultry. Steamy. Still.

I don’t know how football players are expected to perform their best when conditions are that unbearable.

Maybe they’re used to that in South Florida — yeah, they probably are! — but not in northern Indiana.

Anyway, the Irish came into Saturday’s game sporting a #16 national ranking. To say they appeared full of themselves might be an understatement. To say the first half proved a comeuppance for them couldn’t be truer.

The Irish fumbled. Their passes were intercepted. They racked up as many personal fouls as a team of junkyard dogs.

South Florida led going into halftime 16-0.

As the Irish Band prepared to take the field, the weather began changing — rapidly.

The wind picked up. Dark clouds rolled in from the west.

The announcer told the Band to stay off the field and instructed fans to clear the stadium. A severe storm cell was approaching, with potentially dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning and heavy rain.

(College Guy told me it looked like a hurricane outside.)

Just over two hours later, the game resumed. The heat had broken; fans returned.

Finally the Irish were able to put some points on the board.

But in the fourth quarter, another severe storm approached, halting the game again. The TV station covering the action broke away to other programming; I scrambled to ESPN, where I was at least able to watch the scrolling scores.

And I worried. When your kid is away from home in bad weather, that’s what moms do.

I couldn’t do anything about it, but I worried.

All in all, it was a l-o-n-g game, six hours total. And the outcome was dismal, an Irish loss 23-20.

But when I heard my son’s voice on the other end of the line, I rejoiced. He was safe and so were the other attendees.

And that’s really the best news of all.