Tidbits - January 25, 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



MARCHING TO ZION

  Saturday night at 8:00, star basketball player Zion Williamson of Spartanburg announced his college basketball choice on ESPN.
  Zion is ranked as the third best high school player in America, and Clemson and Carolina were among his finalist.
  The “word” was there was an 85 percent chance the big man was going to Clemson. The Gamecocks had a four percent chance of landing him, as did Duke.
  I  had no desire to watch the proceedings, being that my team only had a four percent chance. This would be another accomplishment Clemson fans could hold over the Gamecocks’ heads.
  Then I got the notification on my phone. Zion had chosen good old four percent Duke!
  This meant that Duke had gotten commitments from the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 10 high school players in the country.
  Don’t get me wrong. As much as I hate Duke and UNC (goes back to my college days when the Gamecocks were in the ACC), I don’t blame any exceptional high school basketball player for choosing to play for the Blue Devils or Tar Heels.
  You have a chance every year to win a National Championship if you’re on those two teams.
  Of course, Duke didn’t make it to the Final Four last year, because the Blue Devils were eliminated by the Gamecocks, who did make it to the Final Four.
  You’d think something like that would impress Zion. Apparently, not.
  The thing I don’t understand about Zion’s choice is the fact he would be a “one and done” superstar at either Carolina or Clemson.
  At Duke, he will be one of four of the best ten recruits in America. His chances of being the one standout is slim, but I hope he does well.
  David Cloniger of the “Charleston Post & Courier” had an interesting tweet after Zion made his choice.
  He said of the seven top basketball recruits produced in this state in recent years, six left the state to play college basketball.
  I guess P.J. Dozier is the only one to stay in S.C., and he left USC after only two seasons.
  Clemson has an outstanding, Top 20 team this year, and Frank Martin took the Gamecocks to the Final Four last year, but neither school has been able to entice top players in our state to stay home.
  Brownell and Martin are going to have to continue to develop players who aren’t as highly regarded, and both have done an excellent job doing that.
  I don’t know what it will take to change things. As long as those Tobacco Road teams continue to challenge for championships, its going to take awhile.

ALSHON AND STEPHON

  Sunday, two former Gamecocks had key performances in pro football championship games.
  Defensive back Stephon Gilmore of the Patriots knocked away a pass on fourth down to preserve New England’s win over Jacksonville.
  Alshon Jeffrey caught two touchdown passes in Philadelphia’s win over Minnesota.
  For most of his career Stephon was frozen in Buffalo, while Alshon labored in Chicago.
  Both got traded to winning teams, and now they will go against each other in the Super Bowl.
  Unlike Zion, these two young men stayed in their home state to play their favorite sport.
  Another homegrown Gamecock product, Duce Staley, is the running backs coach for the Eagles.

ENOUGH SADNESS!

  I don’t know about you, but I would love to go a nice long period of time when we don’t have any sadness around here.
  It seems like there has been a continues stream, when one or more sadness overlaps another.
  Mrs. Lula Wood was a sweet lady. She was always smiling.
  She seemed to be a picture of health, even at the age of 95. She fell victim of pneumonia after suffering a fall.
  Many will remember Bonnie Bedenbaugh from the years she worked at B.C. Moore in Saluda.
  She was quick witted. She had to be, since she was married for many years to her late husband, the equally humorous Hobo Bedenbaugh.
   I did not know Linda Gibson had cancer until I attended Tommy Willis’ funeral. I was talking with Roy Vandegrift about how much Tommy meant to the Historical Society, and he said, “And you know our treasurer has cancer.”
  Last week, Linda’s daughter Angie explained on Facebook the seriousness of her mother’s cancer, and by the end of the week, Linda was gone.
  In three weeks time, the Historical Society lost its Theater Chairman and its Treasurer. Both losses are devastating to the organization, but even more so to the many, many friends of Tommy and Linda.
  Linda Gibson always made me laugh.
  Her dear friend Brenda Shorter is also waging a brave battle with cancer right now. 
  I understand Linda and Brenda, legendary teachers,  had classrooms on the same hall of Saluda High, and that hall was a constant source of laughter. Throw in former guidance counselor Gay Beiers (Mullinax) with Linda and Brenda, and you were guaranteed laughter until you get tears in your eyes.
  Linda’s personality is why she was so loved by her students. So many on a Facebook post said she was their favorite teacher.
  Linda was one of a kind and will be greatly missed. My sympathy to Simon, Angie, Daniel and their families.
  Before I left for church Sunday, I noticed Scott Brazell’s status, “Please pray for my brother Keith.”
  When I got home, I saw Scott posted Keith had died.
  I was floored by this.
  Like I wrote about James Keith in his untimely death a few weeks ago, I had known Keith since his little league days, and have known his parents Benard and  Marsue much longer than that.
  I later learned Keith had died from complications that began with the flu.
  This brought about terrible memories of when my Aunt Kay Parris, a P.E. teacher, got the flu in 1987. It progressed to pneumonia and then to death, just like that.
  Like Keith, she was in her 50s. Much too young.
  My sympathy to Keith’s family and friends.