See, I’m out of practice.
I’m sitting down to write a couple of hours before the New Year, so I can get an entry in the blog for the month of December. As you can see, it’s been a while since I last put some material on here.
So I’ll close the year out with some things I could’ve written about but didn’t in the last six weeks — and lost opportunities are among the saddest things one can think about at the end of a year. As the years go by, I’ve resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions, but I’m determined not to have as many missed writing days next year.
Anyway, since the last time I wrote:
— My high school’s football team, the Clinton Red Devils, won the Class AAA championship in South Carolina, defeating Myrtle Beach High in the title game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. It was a matchup with high sentimental value for me, pitting my hometown team and a team I covered regularly in my first daily newspaper job against each other for the first time since 1983. I didn’t get to see it, but I’ll refer you to the blog of my good friend and fellow Clintonian Monte Dutton, an accomplished NASCAR writer and country/folk tunesmith. He said a lot of things I would have, and a lot better. The reasons why all this matters to a 57-year-old person say a lot about the impact of growing up in a small town.
— Tiger Woods, who lost yet another corporate sponsor in AT&T today, had a spectacular fall from grace following revelations of serial infidelities and a bizarre assault on him by his now estranged wife. What would I have said about that? Well, mostly I would have been amused by the Woods apologists who have defended his right to be a private person when it suits him, and a public figure when the media attention is in the form of a lucrative endorsement. Further proof that high-profile sports figures want to have it both ways — mostly theirs — when it comes to media relations.
— Basketball season has arrived. I’m seeing my usual share of Division II college games, most recently on Dec. 16 when I watched Wingate’s teams take victories against Anderson University (women) and Mount Olive (men) and tried to brush up my long-dormant sports action photo skills. See one result here. Wingate’s Larry Staley tries to pass the ball while being guarded by one of the region’s top Division II players, Kendrick Easley of Mount Olive, who scored 30 in this game.
— As you can see, I’m still a work in progress. Best team I’ve seen so far is probably Lander’s women’s team — they’re quick, pesky on defense, patient on offense and will be one of the least enjoyable games on the schedule for any team they’re up against. (Went with my brother to see Lander in a doubleheader against Newberry in Greenwood, S.C., a couple of weeks before Christmas, followed by our traditional post-game meal at the Dixie Drive-In. When he was in college, this was his Alabama-Auburn or Michigan-Ohio State game.) Next up for me is Queens men’s team at Catawba on Saturday.
— The bowl season is in full swing. So far I’m 1-for-2 in games involving schools I attended. Clemson salvaged a season that had turned sour in its last two games with a 21-13 victory over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., but I suffered through a 44-24 Texas A&M loss to Georgia thanks to a kicking game meltdown by the Aggies. Waiting now for tomorrow’s Florida-Cincinnati Sugar Bowl game, which has enough subplots for several games.
— Three or four simmering issues in college sports are at work in the strange story of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach’s firing. As one columnist said it’s the perfect storm, involving a concussion, a high-profile and protective parent of a player, questions about a coach’s leadership style, and what it takes for a school to get rid of a coach for cause these days. It’s hard to know what to make of player Adam James’ allegations about his post-concussion treatment by the quirky Leach. It’s for sure that the legal wrangle ahead will be messy.
OK, it’s time to bring in the New Year. The Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy (the silly new name for the former SciFi Channel) awaits, as does a bottle of Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale.
Happy New Year to all.