2006.02.01 Don't go out that door!

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It’s late in the fourth quarter of a girls basketball game at Pettisville. I begin to make my exit plan. I want to beat the crowd, get in the car and drive away.

I start to run it all through my head: I parked over there, I entered there, I walked in through that door and crossed over to here.

So, there’s my door. That’s the one I need to make my get-away.

This was my first visit to the Pettisville gymnasium. When driving up to the school in the dark, I first encountered a small parking lot that was full and I noticed cars parked along an adjacent street. I headed down there and parked nearly a block away.

Not good, but it would do. At least the car was pointed north, back to Michigan.

Then things got a little more confusing. I went in Door X and turned down Hallway Y and then made a turn to veer over to the ticket table. After that, a right turn into the gym followed by a walk to the other side for photos, and later a move to the other end of the gym for the second half.

So as I said earlier, I ran all of this through my head and decided the nearby exit would do. The other end of the gym would have been better, but a little walk along the side of the school would get me back to the side street.

I walked out and thought briefly about holding the door for a moment to prevent it from shutting behind me. Why did I do that? Well, I recalled two or three or maybe four gymnasiums in the past where the correct door was actually the wrong door.

I didn’t think about it long enough.

I let the door shut and took a couple of steps. It was completely dark. There was no parking lot. There was no road into the residential area. There was nothing but blackness.

I took a few steps and I could sense that I was going downhill. Soon, I saw a fence up ahead in the gloomy light. This was a dead end.

I turned, walked back past the closed door, and began the long trek around the school, hoping there were no more fences. Ah, the main parking lot came into view. I didn’t know about that one when I arrived. I walked through and eventually spotted the road where I first came in. Fans were pouring out of the gym.

This is the dilemma of a sports photographer visiting strange gymnasiums. I try to save a few seconds by making a quick exit and suddenly I’m...somewhere, nowhere.

It’s not just the Ohio locales. Earlier this season I walked out of the wrong door at Clinton. It should have been simple enough. I’ve been there before. But once again, I had this notion of which door would lead directly to the parking lot. I parked in the small lot on the west side and entered through a door where someone else was exiting.

When it was time to leave, I chose a door that must have been near the one where I entered the gym. Not the same door, but the same side. But I was wrong again and soon lost again. At least there were lights in the school yard.

The worst situation ever was somewhere else in Ohio. Stryker? North Central? I don’t know. I suppose I should have made note of it before it happens again.

I chose the “right” door and stepped out. As the door slammed shut, I discovered I was standing on about three feet of sidewalk, surrounded by nothing but snow. I tried to escape through one snow-covered field and was fenced in. I walked and walked the other way, but the parking lot was nowhere to be seen. Would I have to wait for daylight? How could everything disappear? When I finally made it back to the car, my first chore was to empty the snow from my shoes.

I think I know when this all began. Years and years ago we stayed in the Amway Grand Plaza hotel for the annual press association convention in Grand Rapids. I think my family was waiting for the elevator to arrive to take us down to dinner and I rushed down the stairwell to see if I could beat them to the bottom.

I reached ground level, burst out the door and I was suddenly standing outside on a very frigid January night, looking into the faces of the diners through the restaurant window.

Clank.

That was the sound of the door to nowhere closing.

– February 1, 2006
  • 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.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.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.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016