Tidbits - June 24, 2021

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


SOMETHING’S HAPPENING
  For many years, we went without much high school athletic success around here.
  Saluda High was a football power in the state from the 1920s until the end of the 1963 season when the Tigers won their second straight state championship.
  A ten year break resulted in the great 1973 team that finished 11-1 and lost the upper state championship to Clinton.
  The next break to a conference championship team lasted 24 seasons, when the 1997 Tigers advanced to the third round of the play-off. It was six more years until the next conference champion team in 2003 and another three-round play-off team.
  Then came 2015 and Coach Stewart Young’s Tigers brought Saluda back to the “good old days” with a trip to the upper state championship game, and it happened again in 2016 and 2017. The 2018 team made it to the third round of the play-offs and then came the glorious 2019 state championship team.
  The saving grace for Saluda High sports during the long football down period were Roy Pryor Jr.’s boys state championship teams in 1977 and 1978, and some Patsy Rhodes’ girls team that made it to the semifinals.
  This year, Saluda High sports followed up the 2019-2020 football state championship, with Coach Jeanette Wilder’s 2A girls  basketball state championship.
  Saluda football has not yet reached the Abbeville stage where it can lose 20 players off a state championship team and still contend for the title the following season.
  The Tigers followed the title year with only seven seniors on the 2020 squad, but the next two seasons, the Tigers will be loaded with lettermen.
  Coach Wilder’s girls lose the Player of the Year in Kalisha Hill, but return some excellent talent next year.
  What is exciting about the future is what the youth teams are doing.
  Over the weekend, three Recreation Department all-star teams won District Championships, two in baseball and one in girls softball. The softball team outscored the opposition 53-1!
  The future looks bright in all sports.


YES, VIRGINIA
  I saw the end of Virginia’s 5-0 win over Tennessee in the College World Series Sunday.
  That may not astound people who don’t know what Virginia did to make it to Omaha.
  The Cavaliers came into the Columbia Regional as the third seed, and lost to Carolina in the opening game. They came out of the loser’s bracket to win the Regional. Then, they stayed in Columbia and beat Dallas Baptist to advance to the World Series.
  Another ACC team, N.C. State, pulled off the  biggest upset in the tournament by beating top ranked Arkansas.
  Arkansas’ loss reminded me of one of Carolina’s greatest teams under Ray Tanner. The team won over 50 games and was ranked number one all year, but in the Super Regionals, held in Columbia, the Gamecocks lost to Louisiana-Lafayette. That one hurt. The National Championships a few years later, helped fans forget that major failure.
  I read an interesting fact about Virginia and N.C. State. At one point in the season, the two teams had a combined record of 5-20 in the ACC.
  This just shows how teams can get hot at the right time.


DREAMS COME TRUE
  Funny how things happen.
  Last week, I mentioned the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line,” and the song, “What I Did For Love.”
  A few days ago, an Instagram account called “bygonebroadway” featured a photo of  the “A Chorus Line” cast recording “What I Did For Love” for the album in 1975. It listed the names, and one jumped out at me.
  About 51 years ago, I met a cute Columbia College student at Don’s in Five Points. She told me she had appeared in numerous musicals in Columbia and in college, and her dream was one day to appear on Broadway. Yeah, I thought to myself, what are the chances of that happening?
  She was actually going to visit New York as soon as school was out.
  There was no texting back then. The school year was ending, so I got her address and wrote her a letter. You ever heard of such a thing?
  A few weeks later, I got a postcard from New York City. It was from the Broadway dreamer. She told me about all the great things she had done on her trip, and said she’d like for us to get together later in the summer. Of course, we never did.
  I didn’t think about her again until I saw an article in “The State” paper a few years later about a young actress from Columbia, who was going to be in the Broadway musical, “A Chorus Line.”
  Yep, it was my Don’s acquaintance, Donna Drake, and she was in the picture featured on Instagram.
  So, dreams can come true.....
  Another dream come true meme was featured on Instagram, and involves former Gamecock defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw. Many may not know Javon grew up homeless in Washington, DC, after his mother lost her job.
  After going to junior college to play football, he was signed by Carolina. After a stellar career, he was drafted in the first round by the San Francisco 49’ers.
  According to the meme, last week Javon bought his first home for him and his family. What a story!