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Youth Sports Organizations Need Bad Weather Policies

Lightning Safety Is Critical

Lightning Flashes

It was a hot day in late spring. My son was playing lacrosse in a neighboring town. The game started late and it was beginning to get dark. The skies were threatening, the birds were silent, and a light rain had begun to fall.

I was standing with a group of parents on the sideline. We heard thunder in the distance, and began to become concerned, as it got closer. Halftime was still ten minutes away when we spotted the first flash of lightning. "Lightning!" we all yelled. The game continued. We exchanged worried looks and voiced our concerns to each other.

Then we spotted another flash. "Lightning!" We screamed even louder, hoping the referees would hear us this time. They seemed oblivious to the chorus. Incredibly, the game continued!

Finally, after the third time we bellowed, "Lightning!" The referees appeared to at least say something to the coaches on the opposite sideline. We looked on in disbelief as the coaches looked at their watches, as if to say, we'll call it at the end of the half.

As parents we were furious!

Finally, a fourth flash of lightning lit the sky. I had had enough! I ran up to the coach. "I know of one thirteen-year-old boy who died by being brave," I told him. All of your players are out there holding aluminum lacrosse sticks. If any of them are hit, they could be killed!

No sooner did I finish talking than he went straight to the referee, pointed to me, and then to the black sky. Both men then blew their whistles a number of times, signaling to the young warriors to belatedly retreat from the field of battle. As the boys charged off the field, I could tell by the fact there was no gap between the lightning and the ensuing clap of thunder that the storm was, at that moment, passing right over the field!

Seeking Shelter From The Storm

The rain started coming down in buckets. There was mass confusion as the parents tried to convince their son to "just leave your equipment and get in the car before you get killed!" God must have had a bemused look on her face looking down on a bunch of forty-something mothers grabbing their fourteen-year-old sons and scrambling up the hill in the pouring rain to the safety of their cars!