2010.09.22 Local boy visits big sports arena

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I made it to a local volleyball match last week, along with a football game and a cross country invitational. I even went to a BMX tricks event. You’d think I love attending sporting events.

Actually, I often wonder how much time I’ll spend watching games after I’m no longer there as a working man. My guess is that the word “fan” won’t be used in conjunction with my name.

I get interested in college sports and then quickly become disgusted knowing that probably half the time wouldn’t even have been accepted into the school without their athletic abilities.

Professional sports? Well, I’d rather watch a movie. But in 1992, I went to a Detroit Lions game and here’s how it went:

Why did my friend say he was so happy for me when he learned I was going to participate in one of the world’s largest traffic jams? What kind of a friend is that?

It was a trip to the Silverdome in lovely Pontiac to watch the Detroit Lions mess with the Minnesota Vikings. Overall it was a rather strange experience.

This wasn’t an event in which I asked to participate. I could have glanced at the score the next morning and been more than satisfied. It’s just that my son was going and somehow a driver was needed and...you can imagine the rest.

When a spare ticket remained, I invited two fathers to join their child in the car but I couldn’t talk either one of them into going. Did they know something I didn’t know? Had they been to the Silverdome before? Was it the thought of a heavy McDonald’s meal sitting in the stomach after the game?

You couldn’t beat the price for the game. The tickets were Sunday School specials for only a dollar a piece. There were Congregationalists and Methodists and Lutherans and Catholics and heathens—all from Morenci and all tucked away in our little section of the end zone.

That turned out to be the wrong end zone because I think five of the six touchdowns were scored at the other end of the field. One of the teams would put together a nice drive toward us and then just like that the quarter would end and everything would be moved down to the other side of the plastic field.

I think it would take me a while to grow accustomed to an indoor football game on carpeting, but there’s no reason to be concerned because I’m sure I’ll never be there again. I went once, I made it through to the end, I paid my dues.

I write about high school sports every week, but I couldn’t be classified as much of a sports fan. The only time I watch a professional football game is at a family holiday gathering if someone happens to turn the television on. But I know enough to know that the Lions’ Barry Sanders is pretty hot stuff as a running back.

So what did he do Sunday? He wiggled and jabbed and twisted and then fell down. He didn’t get anywhere, but he did trip and fall down quite often.

Let me say this: He can fall with the best of them. Probably better than most. Put an average high school running back on the carpet and there’s no way he could fall down as fast as Barry Sanders. He definitely has a multi-million dollar knack of tripping.

One of the most exciting plays was when the Lions’ big lineman Jerry Ball picked up a fumble and ran for a touchdown. And where was I? I was standing outside a bathroom listening to the crowd roar, waiting for one of the kids to come back out. And where was the kid? He had breezed out the other door and was back in his seat watching the big play.

I must admit, I’ve never seen a bathroom like the Silverdome bathroom. So many stations along the walls, you’d think there wouldn’t possibly be a line-up, but there was. I would say the bathrooms are as awe-inspiring as the big dome itself.

We didn’t get lost too often on the way home, but it seemed like an awfully long trip. The Ballad of Jimmy E, a spontaneous performance erupting from the back seat, lasted several miles longer than I ever thought possible.

And then the rap version began.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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