There's More To Life Than Football

View From the Press Box

Joe Kauffman
Technical Editor

June 28, 1997

ORLANDO, Fla. - I wrote in my May 31st View from the Press Box that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I was only referring to an Arena Football game. For those of you who saw my apologies for the tardiness of our game coverage , I am going to use this space to explain, rather than talk about the game.

There are many things in this universe that are important. To some, it is a job or a hobby or a football rivalry. None of those are more important than people. About 30 minutes from the end of our trip home from Orlando at about 3:20 A.M., Sam, Andrew and I witnessed a hit-and-run accident on Interstate 275 near the Howard Franklin Bridge in Tampa. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but at the time, we didn't know that. We pulled over to the side of the road to make sure that everyone in the car was okay. Using Sam's cellular phone, we waited for the Florida Highway Patrol to arrive, so that we could tell them what happened, because the car that was hit could not see the other vehicle.

Now, I'm not a person who normally preaches motor vehical safety, but I saw exactly what happened. A sports utility vehicle, going approximately 90 mph, changed lanes without using a signal. Instead of pausing before changing lanes again, the driver continued to go over into the next lane without looking to see if there was a car there. The SUV smacked into the side of the car, slowed down as if thinking about stopping, and then sped off.

The damage was limited to dents on the driver's side of the car and nearly knocking of the side-view mirror. It could have been much worse, but the passengers were wearing seatbelts, and the driver was alert enough to maintain control of the car. This occured on a 65 mph highway only 30 feet away from the 15 foot deep waters of Tampa Bay.

This incident occured only twenty yards in front of us, and it got me thinking. That's why I decided to use this space as a way to communicate to the Arena Football fans out there. We were on a road trip to watch the Storm-Predators game in Orlando. I'm sure many of you go on road trips to watch your team play. When driving back from the games late at night, make sure that you are using all the safety precautions available to you. The majority of AFL games are played during the 24 hour period when it is most dangerous to be driving, due to weekend party-goers.

Please, where your seatbelts, don't drive at excessive speeds, and, if you are tired, pull into a rest area until you wake up. You never know when some whacko driver will come out of nowhere and slam into your car.

Thank you for reading this. I needed to get it off my chest after what I saw last night. Like I said above, I don't normally preach, but I felt this was important enough to skip a column about football.

That's my view from the passenger's seat.

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