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July 22, 2015: Windsor Stars (friendly)

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July 22, 2015
Detroit City FC 0, Windsor Stars 1
Windsor 61′
Attendance:  3,485

A massive Wednesday night crowd of almost 3,500 sent Le Rouge off to Madison with encouragement to bring the division trophy home.

A 1-0 win by Windsor did not quell the enthusiasm of the night.  I photographed the first half, but took the second half off to immerse myself in the Supporters Section.  At the 85th minute, it all let loose.  The Northern Guard Supporters had stocked up on smoke, in anticipation of hosting the playoffs.  It all went off during those final five minutes of the night.

The evening ended with a team and supporter Tetris held on the pitch at Cass.

On with the show:

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2015 Black Arrow Award Winner is….

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David Edwardson!!!DSC00774 DSC00777 DSC00779 DSC00780 DSC00782 DSC00784 DSC00785 DSC00788 DSC00789 DSC00790 DSC00791 DSC00795 DSC00803 DSC00806

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Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing

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On April 4, 2011, I attended the reading and celebration for the book, I’ve Somehow Swallowed the Night: An Anthology of Creative Writing by Michigan Prisoners (2011).  It was the third annual volume of creative writing published by the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) who “make possible the spaces in which the voices and visions of the incarcerated can be expressed.”  Though the readings consisted of poetry, the anthology included short prose as well.  I purchased it and the previous two volumes:  On Words: Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing (2009) and The Bridges from Which I have Jumped: The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing (2010).

Flashing forward to March of this year, I attended the Voices of the Middle West festival.  The one-day event was created by Midwestern Gothic literary magazine and partnered with the University of Michigan’s Residential College, to celebrate writers, professors, university and independent presses of the midwest.  At the first festival, in 2014, PCAP had a table, and I was almost able to catch up on the collection, picking up And Still You Expect Greatness: The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing Volume 5 (2013) and The Sky is On Fire, After All: The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing Volume 6 (2014).  (It is my understanding there was an issue with the fourth volume, On the Corner of Nihilism and Hope (2012), making it no longer available.  If you come across a copy somewhere, please let me know).  Last year, PCAP attended the festival again, adding Build Your Catacomb Anywhere But Here: The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing Volume 7 (2015).

Adding the most recent volume to the collection from this year’s festival – Origami Handcuff Keys: The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, Volume 8 (2016) – I finally worked the first volume to the top of my reading list.

Wow.  The prose in On Words was breathtaking.

  • “A Wake and a Reckoning” by Jason Lee Metras is a tale of street revenge.
  • “The Muddy Uniform” by Marc Janness is a metaphor for how incarceration makes it difficult to assimilate back into society.
  • “His Trip to the City” by Joseph C. Yoder is about a recently released convict adjusting to relating with women (this is a very sweet story).
  • “Letters” by Shaka is about an inmate convicted of murder and the letters he exchanged with his son.
  • “Slow Walk Home” by Daniel Meyers is about the author’s three-mile walk home from picking cotton with his family when he was six-years-old, and applying it to his much older self.
  • “Zooey Deschanel” by Seven Scott is about the dumb things we fight about.
  • “Royalty Deferred” by Antoniese Gant Bey reveals a gripping view of an abused woman who shows her love by calling the police.
  • “Autumn Rain” by Chris Sarr is a family Thanksgiving story.
  • “Crowded Isolation” by T. X. Rasoul is about healing from the life of incarceration by riding public transportation.
  • “Tell Me Something I Can Believe” by Eve Poole is about a fourteen-year-old girl thrown out of her house and subsequently meeting with her mother as to the reason why.

These short pieces were deep, revealing works of fiction and memoir that pulled back another layer of understanding on some of the clients I represent as a criminal defense lawyer.  And the writing itself was better than some of the things I’ve seen published in other anthologies.

Yes, I am not one for poetry (though the discovery of Frogpond, the literary journal of the Haiku Society of America at the festival has tickled my interest), so I confess to skipping over what might be some very good poems.

In September, 2015, while on the Wayne State University Literary Walk, I heard Jim Reese read from his poetry collection; Really Happy (NYQ Books, 2014).  Reese, an Associate Professor at Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota,  also spoke about a project he worked on as the Writer-in-Residence at the Federal Prison Camp in Yankton, South Dakota.  Afterwards, I spoke with him about it, about my day-job, and he gave me a copy of their recent anthology – 4 P.M Count: A Journal From Federal Prison Camp Yankton (2014).

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Through art, we explore our shared humanity.  The power of these works do not come from the stereotypical images we have of prisoners and prisons, but rather, humanize the experience of the writers and people behind bars.  Through their writing a human soul is revealed.  Such a publication is subversive to a society hell-bent on considering and treating incarcerated people as “caged animals.”

As I work the rest of these anthologies into my reading list, I’ll share my thoughts on them here.  But by all means, jump ahead of me.  The Voices of the Middle West festival may be over, but you can order copies from PCAP.

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July 19, 2015: at Michigan Stars

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July 19, 2015
Detroit City FC 2, Michigan Stars 0
Wisner Memorial Stadium
DCFC  Javi Bautista (Bobby Budlong) 51′
DCFC  Seb Harris (Cyrus Saydee) 56′
Attendance:  More Le Rouge fans than Stars fans.

Final match of the regular season in Pontiac against the Michigan Stars.  I arrived early, garbed in my photographer’s vest peppered with City After Dark/NGS buttons, Rouge Rover scarf draped over my shoulders, and black DCFC cap.  Bought my ticket then went through the gate where I was met by two security guards.  One of them asked me if I was with the other team.

Really?

I acknowledged the obvious, to which he then pointed to the opposite side of the field.  “You go over there.”

Always interesting visiting this opponent.

The game meant nothing to the Stars, and to us it only determined where we would be seeded in the playoffs to be held in Madison, Wisconsin.  Still, it was the Stars, and after scaring them to the other side of the field during warm-ups, defeating them on the score sheet was the goal.  Two goals within five minutes in the second half by Javi Bautista and Seb Harris ended the regular season on a winning note.

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July 17, 2015: Erie Commodores FC

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July 17, 2015
Detroit City FC 2, Erie Commodores 3
Cass Tech Stadium
ERIE  Jimmy Barrios 13′
DCFC  Will Mellors-Blair (Cyrus Saydee) 21′
DCFC  Will Mellors-Blair (Cyrus Saydee) 42′
ERIE  Eric Campbell 68′
ERIE  Austin Solomon 75′
Attendance:  3,793

Another sellout at Cass Stadium tonight as Erie came to town.  Demoted from “Admirals” to “Commodores,” it was the same old Erie  (#HateErie).

Final home matches tend to mean something in securing our place in the playoffs.  In 2012, we lost to Erie at home, costing us the opportunity to host the playoffs.  In 2013, it was against an undefeated FC Buffalo, and though we still had three road matches remaining, beating Buffalo was an important three points in securing a spot in the playoffs and hosting them.  In 2014, it was a must-win against Fort Pitt which led to the division-title-deciding match in Lansing two days later.

This season, the stakes were high once again.  A win here and in two days against the Michigan Stars on their field put us in the position of hosting the playoffs.  Unfortunately, this loss, coupled with a Madison 56ers win against the Minnesota Twinstars the next day, meant travel to Wisconsin for the division playoffs.

Another exciting match, with Will Mellors-Blair’s brace taking us into halftime with a 2-1 lead.  However, Erie was Erie, and Danny Mudd came up big for the seamen, keeping them in the game until they notched goals by Campbell and Solomon for the victory.

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July 11, 2015: Michigan Stars

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July 11, 2015
Detroit City FC 3, Michigan Stars 1
Cass Tech Stadium
DCFC  Will Mellors-Blair 4′
DCFC  Josh Rogers 41′ (PK)
MICH  Alex Sertwatka (Alexander Adelabu) 62′
DCFC  Will Mellors-Blair (Alex Isaevski) 78′
Attendance:  3,884

Another record-breaking crowd as Le Rouge trounce the Michigan Stars in this excellent game.  Will Mellors-Blair gave City an early lead in the fourth minute.  Four minutes before the end of the first half Le Rouge was awarded a penalty kick which captain Josh Rogers converted.

The Stars carried the play between the two DCFC goals, but went into the halftime locker room down 2-0.  In the second half, the Stars cut the lead in half with a goal in the 62nd minute by Alex Sertwatka.  Le Rouge sealed the deal in the 78th minute when Alex Isaevski delivered a beautiful outlet ball which Will Mellors-Blair ran onto and buried into the Stars’ goal.

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