You Can Have the Big Time

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Frank Hill Stadium, Emerald High School, Greenwood, South Carolina. (Monte Dutton)

Frank Hill Stadium, Emerald High School, Greenwood, South Carolina. (Monte Dutton)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, November 10, 2014, 7:05 p.m.

Had I been, oh, I don’t know, writing about the Alabama-LSU game on Saturday night, I would have had: (a.) a great story to tell; (b.) a vast readership; and (c.) the prestige that goes with being there.

Wilder Stadium

Clinton’s Wilder Stadium sits idle until next year. (Monte Dutton)

On the flip side, I would also have had: (a.) less access; (b.) difficulty finding something original to write; and (c.) deadline pressure even greater than what I experience writing about the Broome-Emerald high school game.

I wouldn’t have been filing at McDonald’s, which has become an invaluable ally due to the presence of reliable wi-fi and doors that remain open late enough to take advantage of these conditions.

I bought a cup of coffee because it seemed only fair that I should buy something, even though I wasn’t hungry. The kid in the next line wore long johns, long white basketball shorts over them, a white sweatshirt and a tee shirt over it. I asked him if he had been to the game. He said he played in it, and he told me he was Number Three.

Number Three was J.P. Parker, who had scored on a sixty-nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Isaiah Brown in Emerald’s 28-14 victory. I told him nice catch. I might have interviewed him, but I was covering the game for the Spartanburg paper, and the focus of my coverage was Broome, which is located just outside Spartanburg, though the game was played in Greenwood.

Parker, a junior, asked about some other scores once he found out I was a sportswriter. He mistakenly thought Clinton had knocked off undefeated Greer. It was my sad duty – sad because I live in Clinton – to inform him that the Yellow Jackets had edged the Red Devils, 17-13.

This doesn't have anything to do with the column. It was just sitting next to my car in the McDonald's parking lot. (Monte Dutton)

This doesn’t have anything to do with the column. It was just sitting next to my car in the McDonald’s parking lot. (Monte Dutton)

My point is that, if you want exposure and upward mobility, the place to be over the weekend would have been Baton Rouge. As journalism is now an avocation, I’d rather have the intimacy of writing about high schools and small colleges, or, for that matter, local short tracks. This is just about getting back to my roots, making a little spending money, and going to places where folks are generally glad to see me.

I loved the Alabama-LSU game … on TV. The same was true of the Phoenix NASCAR race, and it’s going to be true about the Carolina Panthers game in Philadelphia that’s on TV tonight. For the last two years I covered NASCAR, I also wrote occasional columns at NFL games. I enjoyed it. It was a change of pace. I don’t need that change of pace anymore. It doesn’t do me any good.

I’d rather write about the kid wearing the longjohns at McDonald’s. Or even see him.

If you’d like to purchase signed copies of my novels, The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope, click on “merchandise” here. I’d appreciate it if you’d take a look at my other blog site, www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com.

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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2 Responses to You Can Have the Big Time

  1. Bob Franks says:

    While you are on the subject of High School football, I just found out that another member of our 1954 CHS football season passed away. Ed Pitts, he was an outstanding lineman that season and played in the Shrine Bowl the next season. He went on to have a good four years with USC.
    On that team, we had Ed at left tackle, your dad at left guard, George Copeland at center, Ike Ray at right guard , and me at right tackle, seems like it was just last week that we were all together. So sad that I am to only one of the five still left.

  2. Monte says:

    I hadn’t heard about Ed Pitts. I used to see him from time to time.
    I miss George a lot. He went on a lot of trips with Daddy and me. They were always either around each other all the time or on outs for six months. He was a man I liked very much and miss.
    I good many of my teammates have died, too.

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