Stadiums across the state typically host football from the middle of August through December. It’s a Friday night ritual for me to be in some city covering a game.
I was lost Friday when area games were canceled due to Tropical Storm Hermine. I can’t recall my last empty Friday night in September.
Oh, wait. It was my senior year during the 1979 football season for old Blackshear High School. It was September 21 and my alma mater had an open date. For the past 37 Septembers, I’ve found a stadium to my liking nearing 170 times.
I didn’t do that last week. I’ve survived many downpours and even sat in the stands through a Thursday night (September 21, 1989) Georgia Southern game when Hurricane Hugo slammed the east coast. Even though the game was televised on ESPN, I was there in a rain-soaked, sold-out stadium.
So, to my wife Sandy’s surprise, I stayed home and tried to spend quality time with her. That was the plan before the lights went out for close to 24 hours.
Between my son and her sons playing football, much of our time together in the fall the past seven years has been during travels to and from stadiums around south Georgia. We’ve also made a few playoff trips to the northern part of the state.
My travels this year will be lonely, though. With no sons to watch, Sandy plans on staying home, leaving me on my own. My first experience of loneliness started with covering a couple of scrimmages in early August and a couple of regular season games at the end of the month.
I can honestly say it’s not the same without her being in the vehicle beside me. The rides seem longer than ever. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, too. Old and lonely are not a good combination.
Anyway, my one football Friday night away from a stadium full of screaming fans was not that enjoyable. Just like many others, the night was full of darkness with no lights, no air, no TV and no water.
The sounds of bellowing bullfrogs outside the bedroom and an occasional “bah” from the neighbor’s goat were only interrupted by passing vehicles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the vehicles of the electric company.
There was no need to complain. The power companies servicing southeast Georgia were doing all they could to repair downed lines. Around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, my sleepless, sweaty night changed as the air conditioning unit powered on. Then I was able to rest.
Hope your weekend was more comfortable.