I think it was when I saw the large blow-up tunnel go flying by the Bruce Trojans’ field house door like a balloon spitting out its air, that I knew this wasn’t going to be the normal opener to the high school football season.
One minute we were admiring the large rainbow arching over Trojan Field, the next we were racing for cover as a torrential thunderstorm settled over the top of the stadium producing enough lightning to delay the start of the game with North Pontotoc for an hour and a half.
Dr. Bruce Longest and I had just made a couple of steps toward the concession stand for our pregame meal when the bottom fell out.
By the time I made it inside the field house, I was soaked from head to toe and regretting my decision to wear shorts to the game due to the anticipated heat.
Later in the evening my wife Lisa was texting me how unbelievably hot she was in sunny Coffeeville where Calhoun City was playing. It was a stark temperature difference from Bruce where I had to pour water out of my shoes on two different occasions.
It was almost an hour before the rain broke enough for us to venture outside and make that concession stand trip we were hungering for.
Bruce and Chickenbone firemen were busy pumping away the significant amount of water pooled around the perimeter of the field while I enjoyed my hot dog and hamburger with Dr. Longest, and chain gang members Casey Clark and Bill Cooper.
We huddled under the eave of the concession stand to finish our supper as more rain set in, raising the question whether a game would be played at all.
The lightning receded into the distance by 8:30 p.m. to allow football to finally commence. There was no coin toss on the field, no actual warmups by the teams. They simply jogged out to the water-logged sidelines, stretched for a minute and kicked off.
Halftime arrived at 10 o’clock. I squeezed a couple gallons of water out of my socks and used the field house wi-fi to catch up on my tweeting since my phone signal had vanished with the storm.
One of the few messages to get through was from sister-in-law Celia Hillhouse who reported a similar delay at Calhoun Academy, although they did get started by 8 p.m.
The wild game in Bruce had an appropriately wild ending when a snap to the North Pontotoc punter skipped like a rock across a pond and eluded his grasp. Latrell Marks was there to scoop up the wet pigskin and step a few yards into the end zone for the game winning touchdown.
It was just after 11:30 p.m. when the final horn blew. I walked into my house a little after midnight, my shoes still squishing on every step from spending the past four hours walking around in a couple of inches of water.
Hopefully, week one was not a sign of things to come the rest of the season, except for the exciting victory for the home team.
You may email Joel McNeece at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @joelmcneece