The Frontstretch: You Can’t Play the ‘Blame Game’ When It Comes to Lightning by Jeff Meyer -- Friday August 17, 2012

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You Can’t Play the ‘Blame Game’ When It Comes to Lightning

Voices from the Cheap Seats · Jeff Meyer · Friday August 17, 2012


NASCAR is one of the few entities left in this country that is not ashamed to actively honor God before each of it’s events. So unashamed, that even the invocation is televised before each race. I ask you; When is the last time you saw a televised prayer before a professional or college sporting event? You can’t remember if you ever have, can you?

Having established the precedent that God is actively recognized in our sport, I am going to share a bit of scripture with you. Why, you may ask? Simply because I am sick and tired of any number of people out there that continue to assert that NASCAR, Pocono Raceway or anyone else is responsible for the tragic events that followed the rain-shortened event a couple of weeks ago.

NASCAR stopping the race early does not give any guarantee of safety when it comes to an act of God like lightning.

I also want to say that my personal thoughts and prayers are still with the ones that were injured and especially with the family of Brian Zimmerman, the gentleman that passed away. I had intended to make my “Top Ten” list that week a memorial to all involved but I was unable to obtain ALL the names of those injured so instead of offending anyone by leaving them out, I opted to shelve the idea for now.

As for the Bible passages below, they are taken from the NIV or New International Version. Look it up in the King James Version if you like a lot of ‘thee’s and ‘thou’s, but the gist is the same. I ask that you pay particular attention to verse 5 in the first passage (verse 1 is pretty succinct as well!) and well, pretty much all of the second passage.

Job 14: 1-2, 5

“Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.
2 They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
5 A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.

Job 37: 1-13

“At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place.
2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.
4 After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.
5 God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
7 So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.[a]
8 The animals take cover; they remain in their dens.
9 The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds.
10 The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them.
12 At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them.
13 He brings the clouds to punish people, or to water his earth and show his love.

Now, this may come off as callous to some, but the point is, when it comes to death, particularly at the hands of lightning, there is not a whole lot you can do about it.

Short of crawling into a cave, and even then, if God wants to get your attention He will, there just simply isn’t anything you can do to prevent it! There are just too many variables when it comes to death or ‘acts of God’.

What if that person had been a mere three or four people back in the line as they waited to pee? Perhaps if they had stopped to buy one more souvenir? Or what if anyone in any of the parties involved had, and the rest of the group had to wait one more minute for them?

Would they have still been struck?

These tragic events happened well after the track had warned fans of inclement weather and NASCAR had called the race.

And what of those folks that profess not to believe in God?

Can you not see for yourself that bad weather is closing in? Do you need to be told that lightning may be in the area and is dangerous? Can you not make your own decision as to if you should remain under shelter or start heading out into the parking lot (in this case) to your car? Is the track or NASCAR supposed to fence everyone in and restrain them against their will until ‘THEY’ deem it is safe?

Any one of a million little decisions or actions you make everyday, at any given moment can have the potential to change your, or your loved ones lives…but how do you know which ones? You don’t and you can’t.

In my opinion lightning, especially lightning, is the ultimate way of God trying to get your attention or saying that your time is up. You don’t have a choice in the matter.

The simplistic truth is, these recent events, while tragic and unfortunate, cannot be blamed on any one company’s actions and/or policies or any one person….unless you want to blame God.

If you do blame God, be sure to let me know how that works out for ya!

Stay off the wall, (especially if it is storming!)

Jeff Meyer

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08/17/2012 08:52 AM

Like God really gives a fat rats a** about NASCAR with all the craziness in the world. Talk about vanity!

08/17/2012 09:02 AM

I’m pretty sure this was tongue-in-cheek, Don.

At least I hope it was.

Sherri T
08/17/2012 09:03 AM

Dear Jeff,

Excellent article! I couldn’t agree more.

Don, I’m sad that you don’t understand that God cares about everything, so it’s not vanity at all. I know he cares about you too.

God Bless!

08/17/2012 12:06 PM

Jeff, your article took some stones to write in these off the chart secular times. Cool.

08/17/2012 01:54 PM

Everybody knows GOD is a NASCAR fan.

08/17/2012 03:43 PM

Don’t worry Jeff, those of us with a modicum of rationality got it. ;)

08/17/2012 08:31 PM

Nice writing Jeff,

Thoughts and prayers are definitely with those folks and their loved ones affected. And Godspeed Mr. Zimmerman.

I like your reasonable and rational style to this week’s column. I would welcome a “mixture” of this style, sarcastic, and “Brian France” modes of writing in future articles.

Again, thanks for the realistic perspective.

(Luckily, I’ve managed to stay off the wall so far….. but that tree sure hurt.)

Jeff Meyer - FS Staff
08/17/2012 11:35 PM

Dear Don,
Try as I might, I cannot for the life of me understand just how in the heck you made the leap from anything printed in that article to “God cares about nascar”!
If any leap is to be made, I’d say that the exact opposite is true!
Does God care about nascar? I dunno. I’ve never met Him, but I’ll be sure to ask when I do!
(If, for some reason, you should happen to get the chance to meet Him before some of the rest of us….well, YOU ask Him….But be sure to let the rest of know!)

08/18/2012 02:23 PM

Jeff, Really like your reply to Don . Your article was great!

08/19/2012 06:15 PM


One day ALL will know the truth. Woe be to those who mock. The time is short.

08/19/2012 09:40 PM

Jeff, this article has to be one of your best. Of all the articles that I’ve read regarding the tragedy surrounding Pocono it is refreshing to read one that pretty much lays it right out there. There are a million little decisions that change the course of our lives, all resulting with consequences whether they be good or bad. My condolences to the Zimmerman family.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.