October 20, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Normally in this politically correct world we get things sugar coated - Not This Week From Me.

Why is Brookfield in the Tri-Rivers Conference? I couldn't help but ask myself that as I rolled back into Memphis the day after our game in Brookfield. No I didn't spend the night, but yes I did get back after midnight, meaning I left on Friday for a high school football game and returned the next morning. I guess a 120 miles isn't that big a deal, especially considering that Clark County has a 150-mile haul from Kahoka.

The travel time is simply bothersome compared to the fact that this school is twice the size of Scotland County R-I (roughly 1,300 kids K-12 with 650 students in Memphis).

Brookfield has a Wal-Mart and fast food restaurants, things we hicks don't see too often. I was walking around to our sideline before the game and heard one Brookfield fan ask another, "Where is Memphis?" Then another football mom commented to her friends, wondering where the rest of our team was, as we dressed less than half the numbers of players than the host squad.

Sure, there is always going to be a bigger school, but it's not like Brookfield doesn't have closer competition.

Unless we signed a life-time contract with the conference gurus, I just don't understand why this situation has not been resolved. We had the perfect opportunity when Brookfield refused to give up its historical bell-game versus Marceline, when its neighbor (less than 15 minutes away) dropped to Class 1 and prevented the annual match-up from being played as a district contest. But instead of suggesting the Brookfield leave the Tri-Rivers Conference to preserve the Bell game (plus give it some competition against similar sized schools) the school was allowed to forfeit its game against North Shelby each year and play Marceline that week.

Maybe this seems like sour grapes because we got our lunch handed to us 48-0. Sure, I don't like seeing the Tigers lose like that. What I really don't like is a school with a senior class of more than 110 graduates bringing in SCR-I every year for its homecoming so that it can roll to another easy win.

Clark County is our biggest rival so I don't often root for the Indians, but I was sure glad when they beat Brookfield to end their ridiculously long 34-game conference winning streak earlier this year. It was the team's first league loss in nearly five years.

You would think that Brookfield itself would want out of the conference. Year after year they have rolled to the league title and earned a state ranking along the way only to lose in the state playoffs when it finally plays a similar sized school.

While I'm correcting the world's problems I wish to comment on this week's three-day racing extravaganza. Around town the last few days I sure heard lots of folks complaining about the race cars keeping them up all night. They forgot how much dust they make.

Of course the detractors also failed to mention the huge amount of money the show brought into Memphis Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sure the races made some bucks for promoter Todd Staley and his team from Iowa, but it also meant income for the hotels, convenience stores, soda and beer retailers and restaurants, not to mention the local folks that work at the track.

If anyone should be complaining about the races it should be me. Every sponsor that shells out the big bucks to sponsor a race night at the track is just $1,000 less in the advertising pool for me to go after for the newspaper. I don't make any money directly from the races. (I traded out a sponsorship night for track advertising so I don't even get any revenue from that angle.)

Then I take my turn, just like the 23 other volunteer firemen that serve Scotland County, and I volunteer my time to work fire protection and wreck extrication. It just happened that my turn fell on Saturday night (and Sunday morning) when I got home from the races at 1:30 a.m. after arriving at the fire station at 4:15 the previous day.

It sounds like I'm tooting my horn here. At minimum, I'm admitting how foolish I am to waste a Saturday night to help some other business make money. What I really want to do is make that person who is concerned about the added noise the races produce from time to time to say to themselves, like I do, that it's worth a little extra effort for the commerce it does bring into our little town.

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