So I'm commentating a soccer match in Clermont last night. Arles/Avignon made the trip to our city to take on our team, and as I'm pedaling the half hour to the stadium I look to the skies to see if the weather report will hold true. Apparently there will be more ridiculously stormy weather - ceaseless torrents of rain with thunder & lightening that frightens even me, and I like thunder.
But at the moment the skies seem to be clearing. Not even the tiniest puff of wind and you can almost see blue peeking out in certain spots between the thinning clouds. Perhaps the ginormous umbrella Rémy and I just bought was unnecessary. Oh well, I think. Better safe than sorry.
As the match starts there are even small pools of sunlight dancing near the goalposts. I'm sitting behind the goalie for Arles, up in the top row of bleachers out in the open, at the mercy of the elements, and it looks like perfect weather for a game both for players and spectators. Especially on a beautiful grass field like we have in Clermont.
Fastforward to the second half. The ref barely blows the whistle to restart the match and I look to my right and see giant black clouds rolling in. And they're rolling in quick. I can suddenly feel a strong wind coming from behind me and can see the streaks of rain hazing the horizon off in the distance. I open my umbrella and try to concentrate on the game. As a commentator I am not allowed to lose sight of the field while the game is in play for even a second or I risk being penalized. Luckily my giant rainbow umbrella could probably fit a large Mormon family under it, so I was not worried at all about staying dry. Spectators started to file out of the area seeking cover, but I stayed put. I was determined.
Then the lightening started.
At first it was in the distance, but with rain that pounded even harder, the lightening began to strike closer and closer. I assessed the situation. Here I was, alone, at the top of metal bleachers with a giant umbrella in the middle of a thunderstorm. I felt about as smart as Benjamin Franklin with his kite & key. Was there anything else as tall as me? Yes. The giant lights for the stadium at each corner of the field, two of which were at either end of the bleachers I was sitting on. Good. At least it won't strike my umbrella, I thought.
As if mocking my assessment, a huge bolt of lightening suddenly struck from the sky, with earsplitting thunder shaking the entire stadium at the exact same moment. I could feel the electricity running through the metal rod of the umbrella, and didn't have to look to know that the lightening had struck the very light I had just been examining, a mere fifteen feet to my left. I shuddered and mumbled something incomprehensible to my contact on the phone. I. was. terrified.
I obviously was not killed; I was certainly not injured, but I was definitely marked. A few bucks is definitely not worth getting struck by lightening, and next time I don't think you'll find me counting so readily on luck.
a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...
oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.
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