By DAVID GREEN
I want you to know that I did my best to remove the morons from Morenci, to disassociate this city with its clever nickname at the Detroit Free Press sports department.
I also, for the most part, failed.
Ever since Mick McCabe took over as the Free Press high school sports reporter, Morenci readers have been offended when Mick makes predictions about our sports teams in tournaments.
I think I wrote him a note years ago about this—maybe when the football team went to the Silver Dome—but it didn’t do any good. I really do appreciate Mick’s dedication to getting high school sports in a major daily newspaper, but I think his nicknames are somewhat on the lame side.
Last week in the quarterfinals, for example, he predicted Sand Creek would lose its quarterfinal game to Niles Brandywine. His prediction: Elderberry Wine 53, Sandy Pebbles 48. I think Sand Creek is always listed as Sandy Pebbles when they’re in the state tournament.
Goodyear (Goodrich) was predicted to beat Country Dog (Country Day) and Fill it to the Brim (Brimley) was supposed to beat Woof Woof (Bark River-Harris). Oh, and by the way, Athens Messenger (Athens) was picked to beat Moron City.
Yes, Mick has called us Moron City for many, many years.
After his quarterfinal prediction, I wrote him a note. I sent it off at midnight after I finished addressing papers following Morenci’s win.
“Since Morenci proved you wrong in the Athens game, how about dropping the Moron City nickname that you’ve used for so many years? It’s really the cruelest of all your nicknames.”
After all, moron—as used in science—refers to a slightly retarded person. In common usage, it’s a stupid person having poor judgement. Of course he isn’t being serious, but of course we aren’t morons, either.
I knew that would get me nowhere, so I told him I could play the pity card. I reminded him of the Skeltons and mentioned the Fletcher accident and a horrible car crash before that.
“We need something positive (like the girls going to the semifinals) rather than to be called a city of morons.”
I needed a suggestion for a new name and I offered Little Motown.
“We do have some Detroit connections: Tyree Guyton was here for a Heidelberg program at our library. Former Free Press publisher Ed Stair is a Morenci native. Michael Rosenberg of the Free Press was here for a program. In June we'll have a visitor talking about the Chrysler turbine car. Detroit TV stations are often here covering the Skelton news. So how about ditching the morons and changing us to Little Motown?”
Shortly before noon on Wednesday, he wrote back: “Point taken, but come on, you’ve got to come up with something better for me than Little Motown. You’ve got about two hours before I have to send this in. Pressure’s on.”
I posted it on Facebook and received Morencitucky. Others offered State Line City, Morone City (another spelling for the color maroon and also a carnivorous fish), Mostenci and Way Mor-enci. I went home for lunch working on rhymes: More Ansty. More Frenzy. More Coffee. More Entropy.
I sent in my suggestions and mentioned that one reader referred to Mick as the moron.
“Well, I am a moron,” he answered, “which is why I identify so closely with Morenci. Good luck Friday. You might need it.”
I wrote back: “You moron. We play on Thursday.” I explained that I just couldn’t resist that one.
“A perfect example of my moronocity,” he responded. “It never ends.”
I eagerly awaited my Free Press the next day to see both his prediction and his name for us. I was doubly disappointed.
He said we would be beaten by Woof Woof and he gave us a thinly-veiled change to More On City, whatever that’s supposed to mean.
I think he must be proud of Moron City and it’s really difficult for him to give it up.
We failed in our two-hour opportunity to come up with something else, but now we have some time to buy before a Morenci team is once again advancing in the tournament.
This means we have lots of time to get thinking and vanquish the morons once and for all.