Birds of a Feather in All Kinds of Weather

The Clinton High School Red Devils play on Keith Richardson Field at Wilder Stadium. This was taken during a preseason scrimmage on Aug. 13.

The Clinton High School Red Devils play on Keith Richardson Field at Wilder Stadium. This was taken during a preseason scrimmage on Aug. 13.

[cb_profit_poster Beer2]Clinton, S.C., Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 9:40 a.m.

The coolest, wettest summer in memory heads down the stretch, much like the squabbling baseball teams. Every day finds another disparaging remark or two about climate change in my social-media timelines, and these, of course, might have some validity if the whole world’s weather was based on one’s own backyard.

It’s not 80 degrees. Hence, there can be no global warming.

I heard someone say it was really global “weirding”: April showers in July, hurricanes in the mid-Atlantic, tornadoes so frightening that sci-fi directors look at them and say “whoa.”

Sometimes the driveway to my house reminds me of “Tales of the Okefenokee” at Six Flags Over Georgia, a ride that existed when I was but a lad, and I have no idea if it’s still there.

But it’s my blog, and I’ll use references as obscure as I want to, obscure as I want to, obscure as I want to, you’d nitpick, too, if it happened to you, buh-buh-buh-buh-BUH!

Apparently, the increased melting of the Arctic ice cap is causing so much condensation that cool, wet air has been cascading across the South, so, right here, in the short run, it’s cooler.

Each morning, we put on our togas, walk outside, yawn, look up at Mt. Vesuvius, and say, “Hmm. Old mountain’s kind of acting up. Oh, well, I better make a shopping list and head down to the Pompeii Farmer’s Market.”

10:02 a.m.

Yesterday I swung by the ball field to find the lads scrimmaging a fierce Belton-Honea Path squad. It was a bruising affair. I didn’t see but an hour or thereabouts, but I thought the Red Devils held up physically fairly well. Much polishing remains to be done to correct busted coverages and the like, but I left Wilder Stadium feeling fairly encouraged.

Watching a high school football team practice – or in this case, scrimmage another team – is one of life’s simple pleasures. Old timers like me share old stories, and there’s a lot of, “See that No. 36? Guess who’s boy that is?”

“So, what you think?”

“They’ll be all right, I reckon.”

The head coach, Scott King, was playing when I wrote about the team regularly some odd years ago, as Bill Elliott might say. Four years ago, Clinton won the eighth state championship in school history. Last year the team went 3-7.

All eyes are on them.

It looks like I’ll be able to get to a good many of the games this fall. There’s something fine and dependable about watching the latest version of the team on which I played and my father before me.

10:15 a.m.

A high school football team is at the center of my next novel, The Intangibles, which is due out in late October. It’s set in 1968, in a small South Carolina town similar in many ways to this one, when schools were fully integrated.

Some of what happens is loosely based on actual events. More of it is made up. The same is true of the characters. Some remind me of real people. Some were concocted from scratch. I look forward to the reaction of people here in town.

The Intangibles is vastly different from The Audacity of Dope, but it’s also not for the kiddies. There’s plenty of bad: language, behavior and attitude. Ultimately, though, it’s a story of good triumphing over evil, though, at best, by split decision.

Only a few have read it. They all think it’s better than The Audacity of Dope, or, as they are prone to say, “even better.”

The last time I looked – oh, a couple of days ago – every customer review of The Audacity of Dope except one on amazon.com rated it the maximum, five stars, and the other rated it four stars.

So I can’t wait for The Intangibles to come out.

10:25 a.m.

No one questions Juan Pablo Montoya's extraordinary skill. Somehow he fell through NASCAR's cracks. (John Clark photo)

No one questions Juan Pablo Montoya’s extraordinary skill. Somehow he fell through NASCAR’s cracks. (John Clark photo)

It’s telling that the disclosure of Juan Pablo Montoya’s impending departure, probably from NASCAR altogether, occurred after Watkins Glen. One can’t help but wonder if it would have been different had he won there. Surely there would’ve been a short-term reprieve. Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates wouldn’t have let it get out if the team had just won.

Felix isn’t the best at keeping a secret, of course.

It’s tempting to label the Montoya experiment a glorious failure. He had his moments. He flashed his considerable skills. He and Ganassi couldn’t put it together. It’s a damn shame.

Montoya added spice to NASCAR, but he’s a man suited to being the main course.

It’s also tempting to write that I’ll miss him, but that’s kind of a moot point. I miss lots of people. One of many differences between me and Montoya is that he’s leaving and I’m already gone.

Thanks for your support of my website. I’d appreciate it if you’d recommend it to friends and acquaintances. Take a look at the ads if you come across one that strikes your fancy. As the old country singers used to say at the end of their syndicated shows, “Keep those cards and letters coming,” though, nowadays, they’re posts, emails, tweets and direct messages.

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About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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3 Responses to Birds of a Feather in All Kinds of Weather

  1. Judy B says:

    “No one questions Juan Pablo Montoya’s extraordinary skill.” You’re on Twitter, are you one of those who only reads his @ Mentions? SMH If I had a nickel for every tweet questioning not only his skill but his right to drive a car (not racecar, car), I could retire. I do not agree with those people at all but they exist. In loud numbers.

    I enjoyed watching JPM in open wheel & was happy to see him in NASCAR. It’s a shame things didn’t work out differently.

  2. Tony Geinzer says:

    I feel I got to say JPM didn’t work for NASCAR and its going to be time to at least try to find some legit Clubhouse Favorites other than OPM (Other People’s Money).

  3. Monte says:

    There are some opinions one discounts.

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