By Frank Lewis
I was enjoying my morning coffee and reading the sports section of the Daily Times when a story brought a big wide grin to my face. Danny Fetty was named Ohio High School Athletic Association top boys soccer official in the state. Danny is one of my favorite people, so it pleased me to see him get that honor.
Danny and I were involved in the really early years of community soccer. He, like the rest of us, had to learn the game by the seat of his pants. Literally from a book. He became one of the people who helped the sport grow in the area and his honesty and integrity made him one of the most sought after officials.
What Danny’s honor brought to mind is the kind of people the community of New Boston has produced. Whether it’s Councilman Mike Payton, and the other members of the Village Council; the legendary mayor Jim Warren; the man who makes the village run, Steve Hamilton, or the people who blazed the trail to begin with, such as the former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Vernal G. Riffe, Jr., long time mayor Charles “Burr” Ottney, or former Fire Chief Elwood Turner, that community has reinvented itself several times and through it all has been able to produce people of the quality of a Danny Fetty.
That honor couldn’t have come to a more deserving person. He will be missed on the pitch. But I know soccer is in his blood, and whether it is in the capacity of being an instructor of officials, or just chasing those soccer balls that invariably get away from the field of play, I don’t believe he will ever be too far away from the action.
People who are involved in any soccer program in the community owe a debt of gratitude to people like Danny Fetty. I can tell you it wasn’t easy to get that sport established. In the early years everyone was trying to learn the rules and the kids were learning how to stop kicking a ball with their toes, and learning how to use their instep. There was a lot of “boom ball” going on. I’ll let someone from that era explain that to you. But the sport has evolved from just a couple of schools to nearly all, and now it is even more exciting to see many girls teams in the area.
Again, I just want to thank Danny Fetty for being the quality individual he is and for staying the course to keep that sport alive through all these years. Danny Fetty is a class act.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.