My Football Season in a Nutshell

A victory over Samford was crucial to Furman's Southern Conference championship.

A victory over Samford was crucial to Furman’s Southern Conference championship.

[cb_profit_poster Beer2]Clinton, S.C., Sunday, December 29, 2013, 4:50 p.m.

I hadn't seen more than 3-4 Clinton High games in a single season in 20 years. This year I was at every game.

I hadn’t seen more than 3-4 Clinton High games in a single season in 20 years. This year I was at every game.

Perhaps you will detect a pattern.

The Clinton High School Red Devils started slowly, rallied and made it to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.

The Furman University Paladins started slowly, rallied and made it to the second round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

The Carolina Panthers started slowly …

The Panthers do have the benefit of a first-round bye, so perhaps that will disprove the hypothesis.

This, of course, is more ridiculous than a Ouija board. The very idea that I have some unwitting control or effect on the outcome of football seasons is ludicrous. It’s all Clinton Red Devil fans, and all Furman Paladin fans, and all Carolina Panther fans. It’s a three-team effort. There must be strength in numbers to conjure up jinxes.

Don’t be one of those fans who considers anything except the championship a failure. That defeats the purpose of being a fan, which is to enjoy the good and endure the bad. If the highs are higher than the lows are low, it’s been a good year.

I didn't make it to Fenway this year, but I watched more than half the Red Sox' games on TV.

I didn’t make it to Fenway this year, but I watched more than half the Red Sox’ games on TV.

Besides, the sports team I follow most closely, the Boston Red Sox, won the World Series. That’s happened three times in my lifetime. Other than being laid off and struggling to get by, it’s been a great year!

Money can’t buy love. Nor can the lack of it. And money helps sometime. No one ever meets a woman he likes and says, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m poor.”

It’s kind of a buzz kill.

It’s funny how this works. I’ve lived most of my life in South Carolina. I’ve also spent most of my life worshiping the Red Sox. Because I’m not from New England, sometimes people question my Red Sox credentials. Once, at a sprint-car race in Charlotte, a guy from Boston saw me wearing a Sox cap and asked, “Red Sox fan?”

I said, “All my life,” and when he heard my voice, his expression told me he was leery.

“Ask me a question.”

“Do what?”

“Ask me a question,” I said. “I’ve been a Boston fan all my life.”

“Oh, all right,” the guy said. “When the Sox went to the ’75 World Series, who played second base?”

“Denny Doyle,” I said, “and that wasn’t even hard.”

On the other hand, the Panthers are the closest NFL team to me, and yet I consider my own credentials suspect. I didn’t even like Carolina until I started writing about the team a little. Watching Cam Newton was exciting, I really liked Ron Rivera the first time I met him, and I thought Luke Kuechly was astonishingly good the first time I watched him.

The biggest reason I became a Panthers fan was Daniel Snyder. He’s the owner of the Washington Redskins. I’d feel better if Sarah Palin bought the team. For most of the past two decades, being a Redskins fan has been like not being a fan at all.

Maybe the Panthers will win it all. Maybe the second-round jinx will wither. I’m not a Panther fan from the old neighborhood.

By the way, I’m not politically correct regarding team nicknames. I don’t think anyone ever named a team as a means to insult. When one attaches a name to his team, it is a gesture of admiration.

But it’s time to get rid of the Redskins moniker. It’s that team, not its name, that insults Native Americans.

As Henny Youngman did not say, “Take my book. Please!”

[cb_profit_poster Beer1]

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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