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Sun, Aug. 25

Column: Breaking serve by Fishing and kayaking on Willow Lake
'My Point'

Last week my two boys and wife decided to go out kayaking on Willow Lake for a couple hours in the evening. It’s become a fun recreational time with the family, checking out coves, the wild life, fishing, finding spots to jump out and hike around — and how can you beat the price of $3 for the day to go there?

Anyway, after we found a nice little cove to explore, me with my fishing pole looking for a bite, the boys climbing the granite dells and hiking around and my wife enjoying paddling around - when she heard some far off thunder.

She yelled at me and said we’d better round up the boys and get going, and I tried to ignore her still looking for my bobber to get pulled under the water by anything willing.

She called the boys on her phone and they said they were about 10 minutes away and were on their way back.

Even though somewhat out of eyesight, her calls to me were becoming more frantic, especially now that a slight drizzle was taking place.

My concern was to get the boys off the rocks - get back to our vehicle due to the rain, thunder (now easily heard) and nervousness of my wife.

I’ve never been struck by lighting and have only heard of people that have, but who hasn’t been near a monster thunder-clap and lightning storm?

We survived okay, but I decided to look up what the odds are of being struck and the best prevention to take after hearing more about it than I wanted to from “the boss.”

First thing I want to say is - she was right...don’t mess around with hanging out being in the open, get into a metal roofed vehicle or an enclosed building ASAP.

The odds may be one in a million of getting hit by lightning, but why chance it?

Funny enough the most likely people to get hit are people fishing, followed by campers and people on boats. Prior to the 1970’s it was farmers who had the most fatalities being stuck by lightening.

Lightening can strike as far away as 10 miles, can hit you directly or indirectly and charge the ground up to 60 feet depending on the soil characteristics.

Many of us who run all kinds of recreational events outdoors don’t take what can happen in a thunderstorm with the kind of seriousness that should be expected. I have been one of those people who have always said, “I’ll take those odds - pretty stupid.”

Sending people to stand under open shelters, in dugouts, on bleachers with umbrellas, tents, under trees, etc., until the storm passes is an accident waiting to happen. The disruption of a rain storm is disheartening for a fun event, but having someone get hurt or killed that may be prevented is uncalled for and a tragedy.

The effects of surviving a strike of lightening can make your life miserable, with problems of memory loss, personality changes, fatigue, nerve damage and more.

If you’re near someone who does get struck, call 9-1-1, then check their pulse and breathing - then administer CPR until help can arrive if necessary.

And you tennis players who want to stay out on the courts when the monsoons are about to hit to get one or two more games in, hopefully I won’t be visiting you in the hospital or vise-versa.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.

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