Hoosiers have had plenty of recent reminders of the deadly threat posed by severe weather from the investigation of the tragic Indiana State Fair stage collapse last summer. While a just-released report places some blame on inadequate stage rigging, another faults evacuation procedures.
But the key point remains: If someone had monitored the weather and called the concert off, lives would have been saved. It’s a point that everyone should remember as warm weather provides for more outdoor activity and the unsettled spring weather increases the risk for dangerous storms. No event is worth risking a life.
Reminders of the State Fair tragedy might have prompted changes in football arrangements last weekend. In West Lafayette, Purdue University’s spring game was canceled, and the team scrimmaged at an indoor training center.
I don’t know how severe it got. Anytime you’re messing around with lightning, why take a chance? said Purdue football coach Danny Hope.
In Bloomington, Indiana University’s annual Cream and Crimson game was moved from Memorial Stadium to the Mellencamp Pavilion when the sky blackened and thunderstorms moved into the area.
Athletic officials at both campuses might also have considered the October 2010 death of Declan Sullivan, a student who died when the tower from which he was filming Notre Dame football practice blew over in 50-mph wind gusts.
In retrospect, the value of practice video compared to a life seems like an easy call. But someone failed to weigh the consequences when the decision was made to proceed as planned.
Similar calls are made countless times each year when threatening weather arises: Why call off the soccer game with just minutes remaining? There’s no lightning – why not go ahead with batting practice? It’s too much trouble to reschedule the track meet and the weather will probably pass.
Anyone involved in organizing an outdoor event should understand the responsibility of protecting those involved, but awareness of weather conditions should extend to everyone. No one should be hesitant to speak up when unnecessary chances are taken. No baseball game, round of golf, picnic or concert is worth a human life.