Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Prevailing Winds

On paper, the upcoming weekend promises to be a good one--but there is caution in the wind (literally).

To the first point, all seven Big South football schools have home games scheduled for Saturday, with all seven intended for video streaming on The Big South EDGE. Add to that streaming mix a pair of volleyball games each for Winthrop and High Point that day--and men's soccer for UNC Asheville, and that makes a dozen offerings from ten different schools: unprecedented even in the busy video streaming history of the Big South Conference. Naturally there will be plenty of additional campus events, athletic and otherwise, across the Conference, on this first weekend after Labor Day.

So what's my problem?
The weather.
Too many question marks about potential hurricane impact, schedule changes, general disruption, and widespread anxiety--not to mention the very real possibility of danger to people and property at the same time.

Put another way, Charleston Southern in a week went from playing the Hurricanes of Miami to watching the hurricanes off the coast.

I grew up in Florida, so I know from hurricane threats, but things have changed over the years from once-relaxed attitudes to trepidation-inspired actions for three legitimate reasons: they are named Hugo, Andrew, and Katrina.

A quick storm history lesson...

1-Hugo: any tropical system threatening the Carolinas will always draw thoughts of this destruction engine from the late 80s, with the high-water marks still shown with awe in Charleston and the inland wrath of the storm remembered soberly in Charlotte (and everywhere in between).

2-Andrew: the devastation to South Florida in the early 90s from this hurricane shattered jaded attitudes about storm preparedness among many and drastically altered perspectives on building construction, insurance, and other formerly routine matters.

3-Katrina: a few years ago, as we all vividly remember, there were the fears for the worst for New Orleans--then a brief and deceptive sigh of relief when it seemed the storm had passed...only to see the levees give way, setting new standards for the horrors of a storm's aftermath.

There have been many other named storms over the years, but in the last two decades, I would contend these three have done more to shape our perception of these swirling wraiths of water and wind. Perhaps the worst thing of all is the sheer unpredictability of hurricanes. Obviously you must err on the side of caution because lives are at stake, but any storm can defy predictions, change directions, or basically do whatever else it darn well pleases (part of the fallout from naming the storms is giving them personalities--it offers us "someone" to blame, but the storm simply doesn't care).

Bottom line: we must hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and evaluate everything when the winds calm and the rains stop. Wanting to play the games is all well and good, but safety for everyone will be the top priority.

Developments will be changing rapidly on this for the remainder of the week--even as I began typing this post, Coastal Carolina notified us that the weekend women's soccer tournament planned there has been called off (including the games planned to be streamed Friday, CCU vs. GSU, and Sunday, CCU vs. Longwood). So stay tuned to for updates as the weekend approaches--and "Hanna" along with it...

I'm not trying to be a downer today, I'm just putting the warning out there--be ready for shifts in schedules and understand the reasons. Obviously I would've preferred an upbeat football review, a salute to the four-goal-game performance of Daniel Revivo from Winthrop (8/31), or another plug for that super-cool Vortex, but consider this post our public service announcement for the day...keep your eyes and ears open out there, and stay safe!

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