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Old Mon Aug 28, 2006, 04:05pm
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Stoppage for Thunder/Lightning

I was at Cedar Springs this past Saturday (August 26th) to watch my son play in the Varsity Soccer Tournament there. During the championship game it started to rain with about 17 minutes left in the 1st half. Thunder was then heard and the Varsity Game immediately stopped, however the JV Game was [U]never[U] stopped. The referee's met with the coaches and decided to start the game about 15 minutes after the first thunder clap was heard and about 3 minutes after the last thunder clap was heard. I thought that we had to stop all games regardless of Varsity, JV, or Freshmen for 30 minutes after the last thunder clap? Is it different for Tournament games because I for one do not want to take any child's life into my own hands if they are struck by lightning because I restarted a game too soon.
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Old Mon Aug 28, 2006, 08:09pm
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Are you talking about a HS tournament? Is it played under NFHS rules?

The NFHS has a guideline in the front of the rules book that states:
1. a 30-second or less flash to bang count calls for the removal of the athletes from the field
2. 30 minutes after the last flash of lightning is observed play may be resumed

However, that is merely a national guideline that serves as a default policy and the local association is supposed to design one of its own that meets its specific needs.

Usually the tournament staff will monitor this and come tell those at each field if they need to cease play and when they may start again. My area does not have a big problem with lightning. I have never had to stop a game in the state of NV for it. I have been to tournaments in ID and FL that have been stopped due to lightning. Each tournament staff took the issue very seriously and had hand held devices to monitor the situation. Both places used the 30 minute rule prior to resumption.
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Old Tue Aug 29, 2006, 05:00pm
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The 30/30 rule is an absolute in both of my states.
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Old Tue Aug 29, 2006, 07:49pm
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I was fortunate enough to work at a school for 8 years that had a lightning detector in the concession stand. We didn't have to count between thunder, lightning, etc. When it got to a certain distance we stopped the game regardless of what we heard or counted. It was great to have the scientific equipment right there to let us know what was coming towards us and how fast.
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Old Wed Aug 30, 2006, 11:31am
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Michigan rules

"When lightning is observed or thunder is heard and the contest is suspended, play may resume when lightning has been absent from the sky and thunder has not been heard for thirty minutes"

I always ask the game management though - every time there is a chance of bad weather what is the plan if we do need to stop. It's a good habit just like asking for a roster - do it every time.

The bad news is that some officials do stop and the crowd then goes to watch the football players practice on the next field - ??????

Also we have a field where it is quite a hike (2-3 minutes) to get to shelter. But be prepared anyway. It commands respect when you know as opposed to guessing.
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Old Wed Sep 06, 2006, 08:47am
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I am a football official in WI and we had to stop a jv football last night in the 4th quarter with 2 minutes left to play in a 33-14 game. We got together with the coaches and we decided to just end the game. As we are leaving a parent is yelling at us that "we only have 2 minutes left," then he pops off "do you have a hot date you have to get to." Sometimes I really can't believe how stupid parents/fans can be. The lighting the stopped the game was a bolt that seem to start at the top of the sky and hit the horizon.
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