Rain, rain go away (no really, go away)

I’ve never been rained on during a football season more than I have this season. Over my 26 years at the Record, the sky has poured down on me on average less than once a year. This year I’ve shot football in the rain four times. Unlike baseball games which can be delayed or even called on account of the rain, football is played no matter what the weather is like. My makeshift garbage bag camera rain covers got a workout over the past several weeks.

The first rainy game was on Oct. 22 between Amador and Calaveras in San Andreas. With a rain hat and coat and the impromptu rain cover, I was able to keep dry against the steady stream of smallish rain drops. But it was only a harbinger of things to come.

Nov. 11 was the next rain night. Brookside Christian High played Big Valley Christian in the Sac-Jaoquin Division VI playoff game at the Lodi Grape Bowl. A new field and lights were great but did nothing to keep the rain off of me. The rain started off light, but, unlike the misting I got in San Andreas, it turned into a deluge. Perhaps it wasn’t of biblical proportions, but that didn’t keep me from looking for animals lining up two by two.

The very next day I had another football game, this time it was Delta College against Butte College at DiRicco Field in Stockton. Because it was a day game, I naively expected it to be dry, but no. The rain started out light but grew heavier as soon as the game started. Although it wasn’t as heavy as the night before, it was still steady enough to give a good soaking. Only at the half when it was time for me to leave did it stop.

My last day of rainy football was actually my last game of the season. Once again it was Brookside Christian at the Grape Bowl, but this time it was in a championship game against gainst Bradshaw Christian. The game, originally scheduled for noon (when I got there), was pushed back an hour to 1 p.m. in an attempt to avoid bad weather. The problem was it wasn’t raining at noon. What made things worse was at 1, the skies opened up and it started pouring. Both my rain hat and plastic rain cover held, but my jacket, which has several tags touting its weatherproofness, gave up the ghost. At some point in the first quarter I could feel my right shoulder and side becoming damp. It was a cold rain, which made things more miserable. I tried to ignore it the best I could and kept on shooting. By halftime it stopped raining, even revealing transient patches of blue sky.

It would have been a welcome change, but as the rain ended the temperature seemed to drop precipitously. Exacerbated by my damp shirt, it felt like it dropped about 5 degrees. After a while my knees began to shiver. I sought out patches of sunlight whenever they emerged from the moving cloud cover to gather whatever heat I could.

Because it was the championship game, I decided to stay until the end, and it was in the last few minutes the sun came out in earnest. After the game was over I got into my car and cranked up the heater to warm up and dry off . While the rainy season is just beginning, my football in the rain has come to end for this (and hopefully next) year.

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