Tidbits - June 17, 2021

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


GRADUATION
  My niece Kailyn Shealy graduated from Saluda High school on June 11, exactly 52 years and seven days from my graduation from the same institution.
  Of course, 52 years makes a great deal of difference. Our technology was the introduction of push button phones, but that was only in the cities.
  Would you believe when I moved to Broadmoor Apartments my junior year at Carolina, I was amazed by the push button phone? I would try to play a tune, without dialing Hong Kong.
  I guess dialing a cell phone is like dialling a push button phone, but no one is amazed.
  I’ve written many times about my graduation - 44 times, maybe.
  When I came to work at the Standard-Sentinel, I had only been out of high school for seven years. I have since watched the progression of SHS graduations and locations.
  My Class of 1969 graduated before fire marshals limited the capacity of the Saluda High gym, the Cracker Box, to 400. So, with chairs placed on the gym’s tile, we probably had 800-1000 packed in the non-air-conditioned gym.
  A giant fan, sounding like a 747, was on the stage to “cool” the dignitaries. People in the audience got no relief.. Of course, the graduates wore robes, and everyone in the audience was dressed up. I’m talking Sunday outfits for the ladies and suits for the men.
  Did I mention it was hot!!!
  I know the gym was used in 1970, but I don’t know what happened in 1971. That was the first year of total integration, so did the graduation move to the stadium that year?
  I know the stadium was used until the “graduation from hell” in 1987. A major storm came up and dispersed the crowd, but unlike the ones the last two graduations, the rain didn’t stop. So, they couldn’t fit the 3000-4000 in the stadium in the 400-seat auditorium. The graduates were limited to a couple of guests, and the rest had to go home and dry out.
  I remember this graduation, because I was an innocent bystander. My grandmother, Elizabeth Killingsworth was living in a house on North Main Street and was sweeping the front porch. She felt something strike her ankle and she thought she had been bitten by a snake.
  She called my mother, who called Dr. Wise, and we picked my grandmother up and took her to the doctor’s office at about the same time graduation got underway.
  I witnessed the storm and got caught in the traffic nightmare. My grandmother, fortunately, was okay.
  After that terrible night, Saluda High moved its commencements to Greenwood’s Piedmont Tech for awhile, but classes got tired of graduating from Saluda High School in Greenwood, so  back to the stadium they came.
  The Class of 2001 was the last to graduate at the stadium, most thought.
  The next Saluda High’s Class of 2002 graduated in the beautiful, air conditioned gymnasium that was big enough to hold the graduation. Class members were limited to ten guests each, but that was okay.
  SHS graduation now had a permanent home ..... until the pandemic.
  The Class of 2020 had a great beginning, with the football team winning the State Championship in December.
  All the spring sports teams were loaded with seniors, then the pandemic came, and the remainder of the sports schedules were cancelled.
  Graduation was moved outside to the stadium, but masked spectators were limited and social distancing was required.
  To top all that off, a storm came up after the commencement started and everyone scattered. Eventually, everyone was able to come back to the field and graduation was completed.
  This year, things are a great deal better, but an outside commencement was still required. There was no social distancing and guests sat on both sides of the stadium. Once again, a storm hit after the commencement began, people scattered, but eventually the rain stopped and the commencement was completed.
  Hopefully, commencement can return to the gymnasium next year.
  I didn’t go to the commencement. I had a feeling the rain was coming,  because it had made an appearance every day leading up to the event. I saved my celebrating to the graduation party for Kailyn and her cousin Ryan Fingerlin at the home Ryan’s parents, Gina and Trey, the next day.
  This was Gina and Trey’s third straight graduation party, as their children Reagan, LeeAnna and Ryan graduated three years in a row. Jamie and Allison joined in hosting this year, but the wing cooking was still done by Gina’s brother Bobby Thompson, who prepared six varieties, including one batch that would clear your sinuses.
  Everyone saw at the party where Kailyn is going to a college. In Shake and Betty’s family everybody is a Carolina fan, and although Kailyn grew up with Gamecock persuasion, she is going to Clemson. Bless her heart. Clemson offers the scientific major she wants to pursue, and we all understand...
  A few weeks ago, my great-niece Taylor Ann Bowdler was crowned Little Miss Batesburg-Leesville Panther.
  My immediate family members going to Clemson and B&L, the biggest rivals of my sports’ life.
  Reminds me of the song from “A Chorus Line,” called “What I Did For Love.”


HISTORY
  Did you know the Saluda High Class of 2021 contains players off state championship teams from two different sports, football and girls  basketball?
  That has never happened before in school history.


A FEW MORE
  Here are a couple more interesting sports’ memes.
  Teams with a win versus Alabama in the Nick Sabana era: Auburn five wins; LSU four; Clemson, Ole Miss, two; Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Carolina, Utah, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Mississippi State and, believe it or not, Louisiana Monroe, one each.
  Teams with a win versus Clemson in the Dabo Swinney era: Florida State, Carolina, Georgia Tech, five each; Alabama, two; Ohio State, Syracuse, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Maryland, Auburn, Miami, North Carolina, Boston College, South Florida, West Virginia, N.C. State, Georgia, Pitt, LSU and TCU, one each.