September 12, 2007 Edition

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Postponed ASU game
is memorable night

Gretchen Hunt

I've always heard the saying, "When it rains, it pours."

Well, Saturday night, as I sat in the bleachers at Arkansas State University hoping to cheer the Indians to a victory over Memphis, it rained, and then it poured.

I was there with my sons, who are four and six weeks, my sister-in-law and her daughter, who is two, and a friend and her mother.

There was a chance of rain in the forecast, so my mother-in-law bought the kids ponchos and umbrellas. They were very excited about them, especially since Conley's was Spiderman and Anna's was Dora.

They asked me several times as we got ready to go the game to make sure that I had their umbrellas. They were already wearing the ponchos. I quickly realized that the kids were going to be more disappointed if it didn't rain than if it did.

I was feeding my youngest son, Colter, a bottle when the sprinkling began. I opened an umbrella expecting a quick shower, but soon realized the rain was getting heavier instead of lighter.

We headed for the concourse under the upper bleachers where we were able to get enough shelter to get ourselves organized and ready to head for the vehicle.

Luckily, my sister-in-law was wearing a poncho and she was able to take Colter in her arms under the poncho and keep him in the dry.

When we got to the van, Conley realized we were actually planning to leave. I'm a die-hard football fan and without the kids, would not have thought anything about staying in the rain. When Conley began saying he wanted to stay for the game, I asked the others if they would mind taking Colter with them. Conley and I would get a ride home with my in-laws, who were working at the game.

By this time, Conley and I were pretty much soaked, but the rain had stopped and the skies seemed to be clearing. We made our way back to the stadium to wait for the anticipated 30-minute game delay.

As the Memphis players prepared to take the field, the excitement level in the stadium was maxed out. I have to steal someone else's phrase, but everyone was definitely "ready for some football."

Then, the Tigers suddenly turned around and headed back to their locker room. Minutes later it was announced that another storm cell was moving in and was expected to have heavy rain and lightening. The game would be delayed at least another hour.

At this point, Conley and I were pretty much stuck. We didn't have a vehicle, my in-laws had to stay until the game was over, and to top it all off, I couldn't get service on my cell phone.

We moved back up onto the concourse and got up against a wall. We both had our ponchos on, and I had an umbrella. Much of the time, Conley was under my poncho, too, giving him triple protection.

Luckily the system brought mostly rain and very little thunder or lightning, so we didn't really have much chance of injury and Conley didn't get scared. In fact, he pretty much seemed to be having a great time.

Finally the rain slacked again, but what had started as a packed house was down to a scattering of fans. Conley was still convinced we were going to get to watch a football game, but those hopes were soon dashed.

Our first sign that the game had been called was when employees came onto the field and began gathering up equipment. One man was signaling to the stands that the game was cancelled.

I told Conley I was pretty sure they were not going to play, but he held out hope until the announcement came across the sound system that the game had been postponed. Conley was so disappointed that he cried.

I told him they would play the game and we would come back and that we would also be going to the game next Saturday. He was still disappointed, but at least he had a good time standing in the rain hoping for a football game.

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