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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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