Not just sporting events can fall victim to the elements. People who work outdoors know this all too well, as do those of us who have hobbies that take us outside.
I wish I could tell you exactly how many years I umpired high school baseball and fast pitch softball. Suffice to say it was over a decade, if not closer to two.
It is been several years since I worked my last high school baseball game, but I was reminded of that portion of my life recently when my wife, Nancy, and I made a trip to Monroe city. As we drove past the ball field I pointed out to my bride that the last game I officiated had been there. Understandably, that piece of family trivia did not overwhelm her.
Just as I cannot recall how many years I umpired, neither can I remember the number of games that I was scheduled to officiate but did not because the game was called off due to weather, wet field conditions or a combination of the two.
A few games stand out in my mind even today that were played when they probably should not have been.
I once worked a game, probably an American Legion contest, at Clemens Field when Bear Creek was on the rise and had already encroached upon the outfield. Normally that would've been grounds for calling off the game, but as I remember the coaches wanted to get the game in and did not object to the fact that a sizable part of right field closely resembled a rice paddy.
The weather-impacted game that most stands out in my mind took place in Laddonia, where Community R-6 played host to Mexico Military Academy one frigid spring afternoon. Because field conditions were still okay the game was allowed to start despite the fact a light rain was falling.
Because I was working home plate and was constantly moving, I was probably the warmest person outdoors that day in Audrain County. In contrast, my umpiring partner, Paul Kreke, looked half frozen as he worked the bases.
It was so cold that as I squatted behind the catcher I couldn't help but notice the tick, tick, tick of sleet bouncing off his protective helmet. It was at about this time there was a single flash of distant lightning, at which point Paul threw his hands in the air and emphatically yelled, "We're done!"
Paul told me later he had immediately stopped play because he had once seen someone struck by lightning on a ball field. I remember thinking safety might not have been his only motive for stopping play. I'm sure he wanted to get off that ball field and to somewhere warm, which no doubt was a sentiment shared by everyone at the icebox of a ballpark that day - players, coaches and spectators. I know I certainly didn't complain.
Not just sporting events can fall victim to the elements. People who work outdoors know this all too well, as do those of us who have hobbies that take us outside. I was reminded of this fact just last week when I had hoped to photograph a lunar eclipse early Wednesday morning .
Rising during the night, I peeked outside and was concerned when I could see no stars. Rising around 5 a.m., although still noting the overcast conditions, I began the process of getting myself ready to venture out on a photo shoot.
Stepping outside about eclipse time I not only could find no stars, but I had a difficult time even locating the Moon in the western sky. I was prepared to stay in, but Nancy encouraged me to head out, rightfully noting that I would be kicking myself if I didn't try and the Moon appeared at the last moment. I drove out to the airport and waited, but never saw the Moon again.
As I returned home that morning I found myself thinking of all the times rain, snow, sleet, or floodwater had impacted my umpiring schedule. But rarely, if ever, had there been a time when something I had wanted to do was called on account of clouds.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.