Tidbits - November 11, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



BRAVES NEW WORLD
  When the Braves won the World Series last week, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic.
  I went back to 1966, when Donald Winn and his sons Russell and Kenneth, Daddy Shake, my brother Jamie, cousin Thomas and I went to the brand new Fulton County Stadium to see the Braves play the Dodgers.
  I’ve written about this trip many times through the years. Growing up in Saluda, I never thought the day would come when I could see an actual major league baseball game, but at the age of 15 a Major League team moved to just three hours from home.
  Of course, we did the man thing and went to the game without any hotel reservations. The series with the Dodgers was a sellout, and there was only one hotel room in Atlanta left, and we were “lucky” enough to get it. We called the place Cruddy Joe’s.
  The accommodations were not important. That weekend, we saw future Hall Famers Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Joe Torre, Phil Neikro, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. I entered that weekend a New York Yankees fan, but I left an Atlanta Braves fan, and I have continued that allegiance for 55-years so far.
  Daddy and Donald are gone, but every time the Winn boys see the Shealy boys, we call each other Cruddy Joe.
  My grandmother, Elizabeth “Dibbie” Killingsworth, was a fashionista, and she was never seen without make-up.
  A few years back, Jessica Alewine wrote a story for the Saluda High “Prism” about her grandmother, the legendary teacher Donnis Fulmer. In the article, she said her grandmother would not walk to the mailbox without putting on her make-up first.
  That a my grandmother, too. When I was a kid, she taught in Rock Hill and Spartanburg, but she would spend Christmas with us.
  Christmas morning was tortuous for the four Shealy children, because we couldn’t see what Santa brought us until Daddy got home frpm milking, and Mamama put on her make-up.
  What this is leading up to, is that despite her fashion consciousness, my grandmother was a sports nut. After she retired back to Saluda, I discovered she listened to sports talk radio shows and every Braves game during the baseball season, including the ones out west.
  When I’d take her newspaper each morning, we’d talk about what happened in the game the night before.
  Mamama died in 1993. She didn’t live long enough to see her beloved Braves win the World Series in 1995, but I know she was watching, or, preferably, listening.
  Daddy is the reason I’ve had two televisions in our den for around 30 years.
  When I bought one of those giant satellites, we got the opportunity to get all the Braves game, but my mother did not want to watch the Braves every night.
  The situation reminded me of my childhood, when my parents solved their arguments over what to watch, by writing their names on a calendar, alternating each day. On Daddy’s days, we watched Westerns. On Mother’s day, we’d watched variety shows, dramas or comedies. Our family was well rounded, viewing wise.
  The Braves’ problem was solved when Daddy built a shelf on top of our cabinet television, and we bought another TV to put on the shelf. One TV was hooked to the antenna and the other was hooked to the satellite.
  That done, we then had to solve the volume problem. Even today, I don’t need the sound to watch sports. I know what’s going on.
  Daddy, however, wanted to hear Chip, Ernie and Pete, so we bought some wireless headphones, and all was right with the world.
  I can still hear him say, “Oooo,” when a Brave would hit a home run.
  Daddy was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1997. The radiation worked in eliminating the lung cancer, but later, Mother and I knew something was wrong when Daddy started going to be before the Braves games were over.
  Funny how Abbeville creeps into many equations around here, but in late October 1997, Saluda travelled to Abbeville and Coach Donnie Woolsey’s team won the Tigers first region championship since 1973. It was also on that day we learned Daddy’s cancer had gone to his brain.
  He made it to January 4, 1998.
  Daddy’s been gone for 23-year now, but his Braves’ earphones are still hanging on the wall by his chair.
  Yes, the Braves won the World Series for all of us who love them, but they also won for Donald, Daddy and Mamama,  and all the fans who’ve gone on before.


ABBEVILLE....AGAIN
  Like Dolly’s old song, “Here we go again.”
  Saluda will travel to Abbeville to meet the Panthers in the state playoffs for the fifth time in the last seven years.
  As in the previous four meetings, the Tigers will be heavy underdogs.
  Most teams are intimidated by Abbeville. Who can blame them? In their last 56 games, the Panthers are 55-1.
  It’s the “1” that will not be intimidated, because that school is Saluda.
  The last time the two teams met, Saluda won 32-28 in the Upperstate Championship game, and went on to win their first State Championship in 56-years the next week.
  That was the last game Abbeville lost. The Panthers have been 21-0 since, adding their fifth state title in the last six years. They missed one year in  six not winning that title, and Saluda is the “one.”
  The Tigers will be ready, and they will not be intimidated, because they are the “one.”


TWO WEEK MIRACLE
  I don’t know what Shane Beamer and his staff did during the two off weeks prior to Saturday’s game, but they turned a lousy team into one that beat Florida, a team that began the season in the Top Ten, by a score of 40-17.
   I continued my routine of taping the Carolina game, and watching another contest or two. This week it was Clemson, since the two games began at the same time.
  I didn’t do any checking, but when I saw the score posted that Carolina was leading Florida 30-10 at halftime, I did the proverbial double take.
  Being a Gamecock fan, I’ve learned not be optimistic, remembering one of Mus-champ’s games when Carolina was beating Florida 31-14 in the third quarter and lost 35-31.
  I saw Clemson pull its third win of the year out of the dumpster fire, when my phone told me the Gamecocks had won 40-17.
  I couldn’t wait to watch my recording later. I still use a VCR in my bedroom, believe it or not, and when I went to watch the recording, I discovered I had hit a wrong button and recorded only the first 30 minutes. Don’t cry for me, the SEC network replayed it at midnight Sunday, so I recorded that.
  A radio sports commentator during the week pointed out that Carolina beat Alabama after a bye week in 2010, and beat Georgia after a bye week in 2019.
  Right, but those teams didn’t have 15-yards in total offense against Texas A&M like this one two weeks ago.
  Florida, with it’s  tough schedule, had not been outgained offensively by any team on it had played, including Alabama and Georgia, until Saturday night against the Gamecocks. The Carolina rushing attack that had been virtually nonexistent in the first eight games, rushed for 284 yards and had two 100-yards rushers against the Gators.
  Throw in the fact, Carolina was forced to start its third team quarterback, who transferred in from a Division II school, and you hope the  Gamecock coaches don’t lose Jeannie’s bottle they apparently found.