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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.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.

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