So our hurricane is about to run a button-hook pattern while we argue about football games.
From Greenville to Blacksburg, Va., and all over the South, football teams and school officials and fans and even sportswriters rearranged plans and schedules, some bickering back and forth, some postponing games and flights, others moving games to different states and different kickoff times.
No two situations were the same.
And now 24 hours later, we still don’t know where the storm is headed.
Which brings up a couple of questions: Did some schools act too soon? And just how important is it that we play these games at all?
Here in North Carolina, we all remember the day Matthew hit. The impact of that hurricane is still being felt down east. Lives were lost. Farmland was destroyed. Entire communities were displaced, towns inundated with water.
Despite the governor declaring a state of emergency and warning all residents to stay off the roads, we played football that day. In Raleigh and Chapel Hill and Durham and Winston-Salem, we played football games and sent thousands of fans into the streets and stadiums and played meaningless games at the peril of our citizens.
Because of football.
Now here we are two years later, still not able to immediately come to grips with common sense in the face of impending disaster. Again, we don’t yet know where the storm is headed, and all these people are worried about football. We should be closing schools left and right all over the South, using the stadiums as possible shelters and community centers for dispersing food and emergency supplies.
We should be watching the radar and making sure the students are safe, not whether they’ll be able to entertain us.
Now again, this storm appears to be running its own route in the ocean, and those schools such as Wake Forest or our high schools absolutely have time to get their games in long before the storm comes ashore.
But the unknown should be enough to convince leaders outside of North Carolina to make a call now and not risk waiting until it’s too late. This storm could be in Clemson or Athens or anywhere by Saturday.
Or it could spin in a circle and hit the same place twice. Or it could just stop and wipe out our beaches and our piers and our precious barrier islands.
And we’re arguing over football games?
Hurricanes reveal character, and this state has been through so many tough times dealing with storms and storm damage. We’ve learned some hard lessons. But we continue to build down at the coast and we fail to heed our own lessons over time. This time, we seem to have gotten it right after some initial arguing.
But a lot of other people still want to play football this weekend. Maybe some of the schools acted too quickly, but we know that a football game takes a few days to get ready for and a hurricane does, too.
But surely we’ve learned over time that hurricanes take precedent over football. Haven’t we?