Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, September 6, 2015, 12:31 p.m.
I’m proud of myself. I managed to sleep until 10 this morning. This morning person has been doing lots of work at night. A high school football game Friday night (and resumed late Saturday morning). A college game Saturday night. The Bojangles Southern 500 tonight. It’s roughly the same as flying to the West Coast and getting jet lag.
Take a trip and never leave the farm.
Actually, the high school game was only a few miles away. The glow of Wilder Stadium can be seen in the distance from my house, or could if I was ever home to see it. I wrote about the Coastal Carolina-Furman game, and Paladin Stadium is 52 miles away according to my odometer. Tonight the race is on TV, but I probably won’t get done writing about it, selecting photos and video, assembling a table of stats, and thinking of a poll question, until, oh, 3 a.m. or thereabouts.
It’s a grind, but at least I won’t have to drive home afterwards. I haven’t left Eastern Daylight Time since May.
The last time I drove home from Darlington, I watched the beginning of Star Trek in my rear-view mirror. Remember how what looked like a tiny star would suddenly become the Enterprise and zip across the screen? That’s how it looked with the all the state troopers hurrying home, piloting their striped cruisers at a speed that would’ve “sat on the pole” at Martinsville.
At least. Dah-DAH-duh-DAH-dah-duh-DAH!
I think the Darlington race was still the night before Mother’s Day then. Time flies like the wind, and fruit flies like a banana. (I’m paraphrasing Mark Twain.) I was riding behind a pickup truck loaded down with gas grills, ice chests, canvass and tent poles, and when two Highway Patrol cruisers zipped by, the guy driving the truck apparently thought since state troopers could drive home wide-open, he could, too.
Uh, oh, I thought. No good can come from this.
Sure enough, about five miles farther down I-20, at one of the Camden exits, I drove past that pickup truck, surrounded by four or five patrol cars, blue lights blazing.
That fellow must not have been from around here.
The football has been unsatisfying. Clinton High got beaten in both installments, before a deluge on Friday night and after it on Saturday. Newberry won, 43-20, and no bomb ever exploded more than that game. Fifth-ranked Coastal Carolina — that’s the Football Championship Subdivision of NCAA Division I if you’re keeping a scorecard — edged Furman, 38-35, but moral victories gradually become immoral over time.
As a writer, I try my best to be fair, but I’m a Clinton native and resident who went to college at Furman, so neutrality requires some effort. My hat’s off to the Bulldogs and Chanticleers. More power to them in the coming weeks.
I’m not the multi-tasker many others are. When I write about an event, I focus only on it. It’s all I can do to take notes, tweet (part of the job these days), and chip away at the copy. On the way home from Furman, I tuned into the game between Arkansas State and Southern California (as they say in Columbia, that other USC).
What? BYU beat Nebraska with a miracle pass? Northwestern beat Stanford? Who won the Xfinity race? Denny Hamlin? At least something makes sense.
I’ve written three novels. Football plays a role in all of them. Riley Mansfield is an ex-college quarterback in The Audacity of Dope. High school football is at the center of The Intangibles. Chance Benford begins Crazy of Natural Causes as a football coach. You can examine and preferably buy all three here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1