Tidbits - March 18, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


ALL IN A NAME
  A few weeks ago, Mrs. Helen Dasher sent me a clipping from the July-August 1972  issue of Sandlapper Magazine. The story was on the Shealy family baseball team from the early 20th century.
  Unlike Saluda County’s famous Boozer Brothers baseball team, made up entirely of brothers, the Noah Shealy clan of Chapin “only” had eight brothers, so the father, in his late 50s, had to play. He put himself in the outfield.
  Baseball was big back then. A game featuring the touring Shealy baseball team, would attract as many as 4000 fans, who made a day of it, picnicking and watching baseball.
  The team would travel all over the Dutch Fork area playing pick-up and town sponsored teams.
  According to the story by John Bigham, Noah, the father and manager of the team, never shaved after reaching the age of 21, and played the outfield with his flowing beard.
  My Daddy Shake often said the only thing boys in the country had to do for extracurricular activity in his day was play baseball and fight, and often the fighting came before, during or after a baseball game.
  The Chapin Shealys, unlike the Saluda ones, never got in fights. Noah never allowed his sons to dispute an umpire’s call. If the opposing team started a rhubarb, the Shealys just walked away.
  The bats the Shealys used were made by their cousin Jim Shealy of Little Mountain. The bats were made of ash. Since there were no outfield fences back then, the bats produced many hits that “traveled a country mile,” according to the author.
  World War I broke up the team, as four of the brothers went to war. The pitcher and leading hitter on the team, Al, eventually pitched for the New York Yankees.
  I love the way  Bigham ended  his story:
  “Several years ago, the late Sebie Shealy, the old third baseman, was a great follower of the now defunct. Columbia Reds. “They don’t have to win every game,” he observed, “because it does a team good to lose now and then.”
  No doubt Sebie picked up this philosophy in his later years. He could not have learned it as a teenage boy, when the Shealys were everywhere victorious as a team. Battling as a family, they never lost a decision.”
  Never lost. Can you imagine? I can’t. But I guess some Saluda County ladies who played during the Hollywood girls basketball  team’s 92-game winning streak would know.
  In the note accompanying the article, Mrs. Helen said the Chapin Shealy brothers were her father Moody Stoudemayer’s first cousins!
  She suggested I check my family tree to see if I were related. I don’t have to. All Shealys in Richland, Lexington, Newberry and Saluda County are descendants of one fellow John Wintle Shealy. He came over in 1753 with his parents and ten sisters, and moved to the Dutch Fork area.
  If the ten sisters contributed as many descendants as their brother, I’m probably kin to everybody in the state.
  Speaking of Shealys, Debra Shealy Nye tagged me in the following story she shared on Facebook:
  “In 2020, a new plant was officially named after it was found right here in South Carolina! The only known population in the entire world of the Shealy’s saxifrage (Micranthes petiolaris var. shealyi) exists at the Nine Times Preserve, a Nature Conservancy Property in Pickens County.
  The plant was named by Clemson University botanists Larry Cushman, Patrick McMillan, and Vincent Richards after Dr. Harry E. Shealy, Jr., distinguished professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina, Aiken, for the significant contributions he and his wife have had on the field of botany. Dr. Shealy is a longtime collaborator with SCDNR and a former Heritage Trust Advisory Board member.
  The Shealy’s saxifrage flowers from February to May where it grows along the canopy edges of mildly sloping granite outcroppings, on moss mats, or within spring-fed crevices.”
  How about that? We, Shealys, have a baseball team that never lost a game and a plant!


MIXED EMOTIONS
  The rumor on social media Sunday was that Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin was going to be fired Monday.
  Since I email the paper pages to the printer on Monday morning, I won’t know if this is true by the time we go to press.
  I have mixed emotions. I really like Frank Martin. I think he is a good coach, who suffered this year  because he had Covid twice. He just doesn’t look healthy, and he didn’t have the fire one normally associates with his style.
  His team missed out on five games,  because of Covid issues, and they played liked they really didn’t care if they won or lost. In their last ten games, they lost nine.
  In his ninth season, Martin’s team was the worst he has put on the court for Carolina, and that is the concern. What happens next year?
  Dawn Staley has recruited four McDonald’s All-Americans, including the number 2, 3, 4 and 14th ranked players in the country. Dawn is a “name,” who recruits “names.” Martin is a “name,” who recruits “no names.”
  While players you have never heard of come to Columbia, players from Columbia are going elsewhere. Joe Gorchow of Channel 10 on his Sunday sports report featured nine Midlands area basketball players who will be playing in the Big Dance for teams not named the University of South Carolina.
  Included are one player each for Clemson and Winthrop. You can live with that,  because those are state schools.
  But, when SEC champion Alabama boasts THREE players fromm Columbia schools, then something is wrong. Then let’s add one player each from Georgetown, Southern Cal, North Texas State, and Syracuse.
  Add to these Midlands players in the dance, one who didn’t make it, the Shuler kid from Ole Miss, who scored 31 points against the Gamecocks, when the Rebels came to Columbia a few weeks ago.
  That’s ten major college players from the Columbia area NOT playing for the University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks do have a player from Hartsville on the current team, and they did sign a player from A.C. Flora last year, but he quit  before the season  began.
  In his nine years on the job, Martin has not recruited one guard who could actually shoot. Guards are supposed to be your good shooters.
  How good were Carolina’s guards in their last two games. The three guards combined to shoot 3-31 in one game and 8-29 in the next. In those two games, the guards  combined to shoot 18 percent. You’re not going to beat many middle schools teams with shooters like that.
  How to you beat the Gamecocks? Have your team back off, and let the Carolina guards shoot.
  Frank has had nine years. He took us to the Final Four in 2017, but what has he done for us lately?
  Gamecock fans cringe when conference rivals continue to improve. In just a few years, Alabama, a football school, has become a Top Ten basketball team. That’s coaching.
  Look at what Carolina alum Michael Boynton has done a head coach of Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are a fourth seed this year. Boynton was on Martin’s staff in Frank’s first year in Columbia.
  Martin has said he considers Columbia home, and if he gets fired, I’m going to feel sorry for him. I’ll also feel sorry for the Gamecock athletic budget which will have to pay off two fired coaching staffs in one year.
  Like I said to start, I have mixed emotions. If Ray Tanner takes all the Covid issues into consideration and gives Martin another year, I won’t be upset.


I’M VACCINATED
  I’m happy to say my three siblings and I have all gotten both Covid vaccine shots.
  It’s a relief.
  I’ll  be honest, I did not come out unscathed.
  I was supposed to visit my mother for the first time in a year at Saluda Nuring Center on Friday, but that morning I developed a 99.3 fever and couldn’t visit.
  I got my second shot on Thursday, and had no side effects that day, or so I thought.
  My frozen meal for supper had a metallic taste.I just thought it had something to do with seasoning.
  The next day Allen Easler posted on Facebook his food had a metallic taste after he got his second shot.
  Allen took the Pfizer shot and I took Moderna, but I guess taste buds don’t know the difference.
  With the shots, I feel more confident, but I still wear my mask.
  Sunday, the congregation at Emory sang hymns (through their masks) for the first time since we moved inside from our outside services.
  Slowly, but surely, we are coming back!