Tidbits - September 28 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



PLEADING THE FOURTH

  Saturday, Carolina and Clemson played at the exact same time for about the third time this young football season, and played almost the same way.
  After three quarters, the two teams combined to score a whopping seven points. All of those belonged to Clemson.
  In the fourth quarter, when it really mattered, the two teams combined for 44 points, 17 by Carolina and 27 by Clemson. All the fans asked, “What took you so long?”
  When Carolina pulled off its miracle win, many of the fans were “dearly departed.”
  There is only so much disappointment many sports’ fans can take.
  The Kentucky game last week broke the Gamecock fans’ hearts. Although, we should all be used to such things by now, it still hurts.
  The hurt was reflected in the fact the announced crowd was 11,000 less than attended the Kentucky game the week before, and when the Gamecocks trailed Louisiana Tech 6-0 at halftime, many fans had as much as they could stand.
  When the lead increased to 13-0 in the third quarter, others followed to the parking lot. Had I been there, I would have been right there with them.
  I am a veteran. Twice I have been in the parking lot, when the Gamecocks pulled out miracle wins.
  The first time was in 1978, when the Gamecocks completed an 80-yard pass, and had a successful two-point conversion to beat Ole Miss 18-17. I was walking to my car when I heard the first roar. I knew something good had happened. Then I waited a few seconds to hear the second, more deafening roar. Wish I had seen it!
  Looks like I would have learned my lesson, but two years later the Gamecocks were losing to Wake Forest, and back then the Demon Deacons were awful, and no decent team lost to them. Well, Carolina was losing and that made me mad, so I left the game. Again, I heard the roar.
  Had I been in the parking lot Saturday, I would have been watching the end of the game on satellite TV. There was no such thing as portable satellite dishes back then, but we did have something called radios. Parking lot satellite is fun, because the telecast is on a delay, so those in the parking lot would have heard the roar when White made the field goal, before they saw the kick on TV. It takes the pressure off.
  I wish Carolina wasn’t so slow to get going. Maybe, Jake Bentley needs to play a fake half on the practice field before the game actually starts. That would make the first half the second half for him. He always plays better the second half, but against Kentucky it was too late.
  What have Gamecock fans learned about this team? Not much.
  We have learned N.C. State is pretty good because the Wolfpack went down to Tallahassee and beat Florida State.
  We have learned the Kentucky is also pretty good. The Wildcats should be tied for first place with Georgia, but found a way to lose for the 31st straight time to Florida, a team they should have beaten.
  Missouri is awful and La Tech lost to Mississippi State 56-21, and then MS lost to Georgia 31-7 last Saturday.
  Like I said, Carolina fans know nothing. We’ll find out something when the Gamecocks play Texas A&M this weekend.
  People are not used to seeing Clemson play the way they played the first three quarters against Boston College, at least in the past three seasons. There have been no “Clemsoning,” but Saturday was close.
  The Tigers’ superior talent eventually wore the Eagles down, and they coasted in the fourth quarter.
  I don’t see any team standing in the Tigers’s way as they go for the ACC championship, unless N.C. State can avenge the game they gave away to Clemson last year. Va Tech could challenge the Tigers for awhile.
  Wayne Fulmer was treated to a trip to the game on his birthday by Randy, Angie and Zac Rita.
  Perhaps “treated” is not the proper word. It got so hot in the handicap section, where Randy and Wayne were sitting, “people were dropping like flies,” Randy said.
  Wayne’s face was beet red at church Sunday.
  He said enduring the extreme heat was made worth it by what he saw before the game began.
  A teenager in a wheelchair rolled into the handicap section, and when the Clemson band began to play the “National Anthem” he grabbed the rail and pulled himself into a standing position.
  Wayne said seeing this bought tears to his eyes.
  Some can stand or kneel for the “National Anthem” with ease, but for this young man it took all the strength he had.

NOT YET

  With Saluda up by a large margin Friday, and about three minutes to go in the game, sound man Travis Mills starting, “Na, Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Hey, Good-bye.”
  “Too early for that,” I said to my press box companions.
  “We’re up by 25 points,”: Wayne Grice said.
  “I don’t care, it’s Ninety Six,” I said.
  The Wildcats scored with 20 second to go.
  Could I relax?
  “They could onside kick, throw a long touchdown pass. Onside kick, throw a long touchdown pass....”
  “There’s still not enough time,” Wayne said.
  “I will not relax until the clock says “zero,’” said I.
  I’ve seen too many Ninety Six comebacks through the years, especially during the Wildcats’ recent 18 game wining streak.
  You see Ninety Six has a “special” place in my football archives, because I was in the Ninety Six press box in 1967 when Ninety Six beat Saluda for the first time ever. That’s EVER!!!
  I was a high school junior, the team statistician and the writer of the football games for the “Saluda County Sentinel.”
  The upset loss in the first game of the year propelled the Tigers to an 0-11 season ... and it was all Ninety Six’s fault. Well, not really, but the Tigers never recovered from that stunner.
  Saluda has now won two games in a row over the Wildcats, and you have to go back to 1976 and 1977 to find the last time that has happened.
  The other bit of good news about the win is that all 42 points were scored by underclassmen!
  Sophomores Jay  Baker scored four touchdowns, and Noah Bell one. Junior Raquon Hartley scored the other touchdown and junior Francisco Yepez kicked six extra points.
  In fact, of the 147 points the Tigers have scored this year, only six have been scored by a senior.
  Bell set the school single game passing mark with 337 yards, and Baker tied the record for most receiving yards in a game, with 172.
  The region season starts Friday night, and the Tigers will dress out 58 players, only 12 of whom are seniors.

DEJA VU ALL OVER

  I had some new tires put on my van Monday morning, and as I got into my loaner, a Dodge Durango, I said, “What is this?”
  Ben G.  Bradshaw and Mike Williams were standing nearby.
  “You have to push that button to start the car,” Ben G. said.
  “I had to do that with the first car I ever drove,” I said.
  My mind went back to those “life on the farm days,’ when we had to learn to drive at a young age.
  We’d drive hay trucks in the field when we were 11 or 12, so we learned how to crank trucks and change gears.
  Kids today are pretty smart when it comes to high tech stuff, but I could shift gears in a vehicle, on the floor or on the tree, when I was 12-years-old. Let me hear a 12-year-old say that today!
  Farmers have always been innovated. I was a normal sized child, but Jamie was small for his age.
  When the time came for him to learn to drive, Daddy got the Powells to make Jamie a cushion so he could see over the steering wheel!
  Cranking these old vehicles required turning the key to the “on” position, then mashing a button on the dash .... just like I did 54-years later Monday.
  Mike recalled when the starter was not a button on the dash, but a small pedal on the floorboard near the dimmer switch.
  I know, “What’s a dimmer switch?”

I’LL STAND, BUT...

  Like many, I am appalled by athletes taking a knee during the playing of our “National Anthem.”
  I may not like it, but as an American, I know they have every right to do this. Freedom of speech or expression are among the things that makes this country great.
  Many people agree with what President Trump said about NFL players, but he, as President of the United States,  should have never said it, because, as President, he should uphold Constitutional rights.
  He was at a political rally and talking to his constituents. He is not a politician, and he does not care what  you think about what he says.
  President Obama would talk about how the parties should get along. Then he’d speak at a Democratic rally and cut Republicans to shreds, as if they couldn’t hear.
  President Trump does the same thing - cuts Republicans to shreds, and he’s a Republican!
  No matter what the public thinks, Trump will not fold his tent,  because in his opinion he is never wrong. He just keeps egging things on.
  He, like his predecessor, loves the spotlight. There’s not a humble bone in either of them.
  President Bush made it his policy not to comment during the presidency of Obama. It took President Obama about two months before he started grabbing spotlight again, criticizing Trump.
  I worry about “Rocket Man.” Here you have someone who is every bit the  egotist that Trump comes across, and who has an answer for everything Trump throws at him.
  I just hope all he throws is words.
  One thing is for certain with Trump presidency. There is never a dull moment.
  I look forward to watching the news every morning to see what the Tweeter in Chief said overnight!