First, I should explain the title of this blog — completely and totally stolen, and if you’re a baseball fan of a certain age you’ll know it.
“The Old Perfessor” was the nickname that sports writers hung on Casey Stengel, the legendary manager first of great New York Yankees teams (1949-1960) and then of the equally legendarily bad early New York Mets.
After a bunch of lame false starts, I settled on it because it just fit. I am, after all, a professor of journalism and public relations at Wingate University, a private university near Charlotte.
Old? Well, not so much, but I am old enough to remember Clemson-South Carolina football games played on Thanskgiving Day, the Carolina Cougars, the NFL on TV in black and white, and Pat Conroy, the writer, as a scrappy little guard for awful basketball teams from The Citadel playing in the Southern Conference tournament at the original Charlotte Coliseum. (And most of those are really early memories, by the way.)
So this blog will be about sports, but it will also be open to other topics. And I can only hope to be as shrewdly insightful as Old Case, owner of one of the brightest and most subtle minds ever to reside under a baseball cap. But I do hope that I’ll be a little more straightforward with my use of the written English language than he was with the spoken one.
The other thought that propels the start of this blog is that you should never say “never.” I see myself as an unlikely blogger. With all due respect to friends of mine who have blogs, I’ve been slow to embrace them, much less to do one. Mostly it’s because I think that opinions are so easy to come by in cyberspace, many of them of little value, that I would just be adding to information overload. But in the interest of trying something new, here goes.
As I tell my students, if I don’t think I have something valuable to say, I won’t come to class. (That almost never happens…) I’ll treat this blog the same way.
Finally, I’m starting this on the first Sunday of the NFL regular season. Today I covered the Carolina Panthers-Atlanta Falcons game at Bank of America Stadium here in Charlotte. Actually, I covered Panthers’ rookie DeAngelo Williams, Carolina’s No. 1 draft choice out of the University of Memphis, for the Memphis Commercial Appeal (http://www.commercialappeal.com)
Williams, a quietly confident young man, didn’t play a huge role in the game, which meant that he was one of the few Panthers that didn’t make a mistake in a 20-6 loss. Atlanta QB Michael Vick wasn’t spectacular, but he was smart enough to realize early on that the Falcons would be able to run on the Panthers at will. And the Atlanta defense got inside the head of Carolina QB Jake Delhomme, an emotional player, but one who usually plays under control. And when you can frustrate Delhomme, you can usually beat the Panthers. A big win for Atlanta, and a loss that will test how much resiliency the Panthers have.
“You remember the year they operated on Whitey Ford? For weeks you thought you had bone chips in your elbow.” — Doris Day to hypochondriac Rock Hudson in “Send Me No Flowers,” which my wife, Jayne, has on the DVD player right now. It’s absolutely hilarious.