Of Rayen and soccer and love

Hey, Rayen Stadium, welcome back. We missed you. Long time no see.

I haven’t been able to take in a high school football game on your new turf yet but the schedule shows you got about a half dozen games planned there this fall.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about you, all spiffy with modern, up-to-date amenities. Stand proud girl, you’re the cornerstone to a Northside renaissance.

I got an idea about tacking on some more games to your itinerary next fall. What I’m talking about is adding some additional football games, but the kind of football played all over the world. The kind of football we usually call soccer.

Did you know the Ursuline High School boys and girls soccer teams play their home matches at the Wick Recreation Area, formerly called Rocky Ridge, in Mill Creek Park?

I’d like to offer you a scoreboard way of listing why Ursuline should move its soccer matches from Wick to Rayen Stadium, but that’s the first issue. A scoreboard.

Rayen, you got a scoreboard and Wick doesn’t.

In soccer terms, “Gooooaaal-l-l-l.”

Rayen, you got brand spanking new bleachers. At Wick, fans are forced to bring folding chairs.

Rayen, you have modern restrooms. Wick, well, is a public park.

Rayen, you offer concessions. Wick doesn’t.

Rayen boasts a state-of-the-art press box; Wick, perhaps, has a sand box.

And then, there’s the issue of lights. Oh, stadium of wonder. You are the Lady of Lights, you would allow Ursuline to play home evening soccer games — just like almost every area soccer team does.

Wick, sorry. Wick has no lights. Wick is lit by the sun.

Yes, a soccer pitch is slightly larger than a football field, but several Ohio soccer teams still play in football stadiums and make due. It’s a workable compromise.

And let’s talk about your turf. Your grass would be a welcomed improvement from the playing surface at Wick. Wick is used all year long for a variety of activities.

That’s the difference between a playground and a pitch.

You do have a crown running down your length for drainage, but prep soccer teams have adjusted to conditions like that for years.

Ursuline’s mailing address may be on Wick Avenue but in terms of location, Rayen is closer to Ursuline than the Wick Recreation Area.

Ursuline’s football team even plays two games at Rayen Stadium this season.

There’s really no comparison.

And then there’s the important issue of cost. Ursuline can’t charge admission at Wick. It’s wide open.

Rayen, you could charge spectators $5 admission and 200 fans (a conservative estimate) would generate $1,000 to cover your expenses.

Oh, girl, you ask what I know about these things, what’s my expertise that allows me to enter an opinion. Fair enough.

I’m a former employee of the Recreation Department of Mill Creek Park; I’m a graduate of your Rayen School; I lived on the Northside for 45 years; and I formerly held an OHSAA soccer officiating card.

That should buy me a seat at the table.

Now you remember me. I confess, I’m one of the many boys who snuck under your fence, in your previous existence, to play pick-up football games. We all did; it was a right of passage.

I just want to see your beauty appreciated, to see you used to the fullest, as stadiums are intended. You can stand tall, just like your sister, the Covelli Centre in downtown, as a beacon of the rebirth of our town.

All it’s going to take is one phone call for Ursuline to move its soccer matches there next fall. We both know it can be done.

Anyhow young lady, welcome home, my love.

William Sullivan is a sports writer at The Vindicator. Email him at sullivan@vindy.com

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