CARY – The Cary-Grove Trojans looked bummed.
Thanks to a storm in the distance, Friday night lights had turned into Friday night lightning. The Trojans had waited all spring and all summer to play football, only to have their season opener against Wheaton North postponed with 10:23 to go in the second quarter.
C-G would have to wait until 6 p.m. today to pick up where it left off, with a 14-7 lead.
But then a heavenly voice comforted the group of disappointed athletes.
"Hey, football players," said Sharon Miller, who carried a tray packed with leftover food from the concession stand. "You hungry?"
Trojans offensive lineman P.J. Bardgett smiled. He was the first to walk toward the voice.
"I've got barbecue chicken and brats," Miller said.
Bardgett looked around at the rest of the small army of concession stand workers who had made the 100-yard journey to the players' clubhouse. He saw Leslie Wilson holding a tray full of burgers, Anne Ruffatti Szczebak holding a stack of pizza boxes, Megan Lucchese holding even more pizza, and others holding pretzels, bratwursts, you name it.
"Hot dogs anywhere?" Bardgett said with a sheepish grin.
Try 50 hot dogs. Maybe 75.
The specific number was anybody's guess. Miller shuddered at the idea of tallying it up.
"A whole lot," Miller said with a laugh. "Is 'a whole lot' descriptive enough for you?"
I wasn't about to argue. She was funny, and she smelled wonderful. Or, come to think of it, maybe that scent came from the barbecue chicken and brats.
As for the Trojans, they smelled like sweaty football players. They looked good against Wheaton North in 13-plus minutes of action, building two scoring drives that ended with a pair of rushing touchdowns by Matt Sutherland.
Then, distant lightning crashed the party.
"To be honest, it's kind of disappointing," C-G quarterback Jason Gregoire said. "It's your first game, so you've got to get those first game jitters out, and you're really looking forward to it. I think we got [the jitters] out, so if anything, I guess that gets us up for tomorrow."
C-G coach Brad Seaburg spoke with his players during an hour-long delay before the game was postponed. He said his players could not control the lightning, but they could control the way they responded when the game resumed.
"We told them before we came out tonight that there was going to be some adversity, whether it was a turnover or something else not going their way," Seaburg said.
If the Trojans are as resilient as the concessions staff, they'll be just fine.
Miller said she would be head to Sam's Club around 10 a.m. Saturday and return to the field with the next day's supplies. The postponement was not a failure. They had sold plenty of food during the sophomore game and early in the varsity game, and they had wasted little.
"We took it to the band first, and they took a good chunk out of it," Miller said of the leftovers. "And then we offered it to the football players, and they were drooling.
"So, it was good. It was a good thing."
* Tom Musick writes occasional columns for the Northwest Herald. He used to work full-time here too. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.