The Rice football team surely wants nothing more than to get home following a season-opening loss to Stanford. The Owls traveled to Australia to play the No.14-ranked Cardinal in the 2017 Sydney Cup and ended up getting steamrolled, 62-7.
Under normal circumstances, Rice football players, coaches and staff would try to move on from the loss as quickly as possible, re-acclimate to the U.S. central time zone, prepare for classes during the fall semester which just began, and look ahead to their next game vs. UTEP on Sept. 9.
But Rice’s home of Houston, Texas is experiencing anything but normal circumstances right now, suffering unprecedented, catastrophic rain and flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
"650 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER was dumped on Houston last night and no drainage can handle that," Jeff Lindner… https://t.co/GmpJJuh1JY
— Melissa Wilson (@MelissaFox26) August 27, 2017
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) August 27, 2017
— Jared Silverman (@JaredKENS5) August 27, 2017
This is my view of Memorial & Allen Parkway today at 9:30am 8/27 pic.twitter.com/RBiajELzlj
— Ted Johnson (@Teddyjradio) August 27, 2017
The Rice football team is scheduled to leave Sydney for Los Angeles on Monday. But when they’ll be able to return to their Houston campus and homes is completely uncertain.
Rice departs Sydney on Monday morning (local time) for Los Angeles. No decision on the remainder of our trip will be made until we arrive.
— Rice Football (@RiceFootball) August 27, 2017
To all in Houston and South Texas, the Rice football program has you in our thoughts and prayers. Please stay safe. Stay resilient.
— David Bailiff (@CoachBailiffFB) August 26, 2017
— Rice University (@RiceUniversity) August 27, 2017
The University of Houston moved its practices and preseason preparations to Austin in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey and the NFL’s Houston Texans flew to Dallas after their preseason game versus the New Orleans Saints.
Houston is set to play UTSA in San Antonio next Saturday night, while the Texans’ preseason finale is scheduled for Thursday at NRG Stadium. But whether or not that game is played has yet to be determined. The downpour of rain has yet to stop and could continue for days, according to meterologists and forecasters.
— Jerry Ford, Jr., (@JerryFordJr) August 27, 2017
This is 3-4 miles from the Houston Texans' football stadium. pic.twitter.com/94COEZEefb
— Katrina Rose (@HistorianKat) August 27, 2017
Obviously, there are far greater concerns for the city of Houston and its residents, along with every other Texas community in the path of this storm right now. Homes and buildings have been destroyed. People have been displaced from their homes.
The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is something that will take months for Houston to overcome. FEMA director William Long says the storm is the worst disaster the state of Texas has ever seen, and will take years to overcome. Sports can be a welcome distraction and help bring communities together when the time is right. But for now, that is far down the list of priorities.