It’s Easy to Root for the Winners

A jolly good time before an excruciating Paladin loss. (Monte Dutton photo)

A jolly good time before an excruciating Paladin loss. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, November 20, 2015, 10:04 a.m.

Monte Dutton

Monte Dutton

The smell of beef wafts through the house. Sometime this afternoon, I’ll season the chili I’m taking to the final Presbyterian College home football game against a college named Kennesaw, its name apparently derived from a Georgia mountain of the same name. I visited Kennesaw Mountain one time to delve into a Civil War battle there. The name also conjures up the punch line of an old Furman Bisher column:

There’ll be a snow cap on Kennesaw Mountain the next time anyone around here believes in a baseball team again.

They are the Owls, Kennesaw.

(Monte Dutton photo)

(Monte Dutton photo)

Football season has left me with pangs of conscience. Clinton High School had its third straight losing season, Furman University is about to complete its second, and Presbyterian College, 6-5 a year ago, takes on Kennesaw dragging a 1-9 and hoping to avoid double figures. The Owls are 6-4 and have defeated two schools, Gardner-Webb and Monmouth, that felled the Blue Hose.

Last week I watched the Paladins fall in overtime to Mercer. They’ll be trying for 5-6 at Wofford.

The conscience pangs stem from the fact that I’ve enjoyed watching and writing about all those efforts that have fallen short. It’s supposed to hurt more. It’s supposed to put me in a rotten mood. It’s supposed to make me want to … drink.

Well, maybe, one out of four.

(Monte Dutton photo)

(Monte Dutton photo)

While inexplicably undaunted by football futility, I’m encouraged by the local basketball prospects, probably in small part because they aren’t related to ill-fated football. The Presbyterian men are 2-1, having lost to Furman and defeated USC Upstate and Toccoa Falls thus far. After the Saturday afternoon football game, the Blue Hose who bounce balls on purpose will take on The Citadel less than half a mile from Bailey Memorial Stadium in Templeton Center.

Presbyterian 74, USC Upstate 73. (Monte Dutton photo)

Presbyterian 74, USC Upstate 73. (Monte Dutton photo)

Templeton Center opened while I was in high school. Time flies like the wind, and fruit flies like a banana. (I’m paraphrasing Groucho Marx, a man who could turn a phrase.)

When I watch football games on TV these days, I find myself instinctively rooting for whoever is behind. It’s a conditioned response I’d prefer to discard.

After all these decades of playing football, and working for an athletic program, and writing about sports that include one with fast cars going around and around for just short of what seems like infinity, I’m taking advantage of a certain distance.

Zac Ray (64) and Kris Holmes return to the sideline at the end of a long night. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton High’s Zac Ray (64) and Kris Holmes return to the sideline. The Red Devils finished 3-7. (Monte Dutton photo)

Standing around under a pop-up tent, sampling the cuisine and libations, hobnobbing and kibitzing and mingling, has been great fun. It makes it all more personal. Many of my Furman friends are ex-athletes. Many of my Presbyterian friends are the parents of athletes. Seeing them on a regular basis has become as much a joy of the fall as the changing of the leaves.

Tonight I’ve got a long road trip to Rock Hill, there to describe the Laurens District 55 High School Raiders (6-5) taking what seems the hopeless measure of Northwestern (10-1).

Into all sports, some rain must fall. This fall has been torrential.

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard)

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard)

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Fortunately, I’ve got books to sell. You can download this one, my latest, for a mere $3.49. I’m satisfied it’s worth the money, and most of those who have read it seem to agree. http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436215069&sr=1-1&keywords=Crazy+of+Natural+Causes

(Joe Font cover design)

(Joe Font cover design)

As a matter of fact, I’ve got lots of books to sell. If you’ve already read Crazy of Natural Causes, perhaps you’ll take a look at my first two, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles. They are also quite reasonably priced. http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The deadline is just about up, but you’ve still got till Sunday night to nominate my next novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, for publication, and if it is, in fact, published, you’ll receive a free download. It takes one more click after this one. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/A20FEF33PZP1

 

 

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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