The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2010.06.16 Fixing football (soccer, that is)

Written by David Green.

Guest column by Taylor Ballinger

January 22, 2006 marks the day I became a soccer fan. Rosie and I were on a study abroad trip to Rome, Italy, and a group of us went to the Olympic Stadium in Rome to watch the scuffle between Lazio and Cagliari. It was cold, there were relatively few supporters in the stands, and we were greeted off the Metro with police in riot gear. As far as European soccer matches go, this was like watching the Lions take on the Bengals in a pre-season matchup—there wasn’t much at stake.

The stadium itself was in need of repair. We each had an individual seat, but it was as comfortable as a school-room cafeteria stool. The field was separated from the stands with a large—possibly bulletproof—retaining wall. Instead of toilets with seats, there were holes in the ground. The modern amenities that I had come to expect from a major sports league were nowhere to be found.

There was beauty in the simplicity, though. The only thing that mattered was the product on the field. It was a sports purist’s paradise. Admittedly, the crowd was a bit barbaric for my taste. Throughout the game there were racial epithets thrown toward both home and opposing players. There were fascist hand gestures and cheers (Lazio is well-known as a fascist-sympathizing club). At one point in the second half, when a Lazio goal was reversed on an offside call, a fan ripped his seat from its concrete foundation and hurled it over the aforementioned retaining wall and onto the track surrounding the field.

Despite the insanity, it was the greatest sporting experience of my life to that point. The game ended in a tie, but I didn’t care. The passion, pageantry and intensity were more than I had ever seen at any sports game stateside.

Just six months later, the Italian national team won the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and my soccer fandom was set. I had been to a game in Italy the same year Italy won the World Cup. It was fate.

Fast forward four years, and we’re back to the greatest sports tournament on Earth. I’ve been flying high since USA’s tie against England, but I’m disappointed in the number of Americans who are uninterested in the World Cup (it’s bigger than the Olympics, people!!). With that being said, I have come up with a list of rule changes FIFA (soccer’s international governing body) should make to entice more Americans into becoming soccer fans.

Have the clock count down instead of up. We’re used to sporting events that start with the big number and count down to zero (last second shots are the bomb-diggity!). In soccer, however, time begins at zero, and ends at 45 minutes for the first half (plus additional time for injuries, but we won’t even go there). Time begins at 45 minutes and ends at 90 minutes in the second half. This is confusing; time doesn’t count up! Two 45-minute halves with the clock counting down—much easier for all the folks who’ve never read a clock before.

Narrow and shorten the pitch (field). And call it a field instead of a pitch. The complaint about soccer that I hear most often is there are not enough goals being scored. A 0-0 finish is far too common (after an hour-and-a-half of playing!!). The simple solution: make the field smaller, and put fewer people out there. Five on five (like hockey) with a 25% smaller field would increase scoring because the game would be faster and the players would still have plenty of room to find open space. We could make it even more interesting by playing two five on five games simultaneously, adding up the goals from each side for one final score. This would make it more confusing, but has anyone ever tried to explain baseball to someone who has never watched or played before? We love complex and confusing.

No singing in the stands. Each soccer club has its own anthem, along with other cheers and songs sung by fans throughout the match. Enough! We’re going to a sporting event, not a Broadway musical, people. In America, we have short, simple chants. DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE! We do the wave (only yelling and flailing arms involved). Often, we don’t even need to come up with our own chants—the scoreboard prompts us throughout the game.

No more ties. How un-American is a tie? We expect winners and losers (winners always do). A tie game is like going snipe hunting. All that work and no reward. The NHL changed their rulings on this a few years ago. Too many hockey games were ending in ties, so they instituted a shoot-out after overtime (if the game is still tied). Soccer could easily do this. Overtime, then a shootout. If not a shootout, perhaps a team relay competition. Either way, we can’t have everyone walking away feeling like a winner.

LET THE PLAYERS USE THEIR STINKING HANDS! While we’re at it, let’s put some pads and a helmet on the players, and relegate the kicking to only the rarest of occasions. We could just change the name of the sport to football.

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