Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, December 3, 2015, 8:54 a.m.
The last time I was at a sports awards banquet, it was at the Waldorf-Astoria.
On Wednesday night, I was at Lakeside Country Club for the Laurens County Touchdown Club’s annual awards banquet.
Our county has had better years. Laurens District 55 High School won and lost six each. Clinton High School was 3-7. Laurens Academy was 3-8. Presbyterian College was 2-9. The coach of the 3-7 team, Andrew Webb, was Coach of the Year.
I had a great time, though. The food wasn’t as pretty as what the Waldorf used to provide. I’m sure the fare in Las Vegas, where the Sprint Cuppers now convene, is similarly photogenic, and we will know this because of Facebook and Instagram.
At the Touchdown Club, Lee’s Barbecue provided the grub, it was tasty, and I had enough sense not to wear a tie because minced barbecue attracts the front of my shirt already.
The guest speaker was the great Willie Jeffries, legendary coach at South Carolina State, Wichita State and Howard, and member of the College Football Hall of Fame. “Coach Jeff” plays an awards banquet like the Red Hot Chili Peppers play Coachella. He is all good humor and slogans, inspiration and irreverence. He’s just right, like Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars.
(I just wanted to be the first person to compare Willie Jeffries to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s possible someone else compared him to Billy Crystal.)
The room at the country club had lots of humility in it, due in no small part to the aforementioned records which, combined, add up to 14 victories and 30 defeats. Anyone would have been impressed by the respectful demeanor of the coaches and athletes. Six months from now, two of them may knock off a liquor store, but on Wednesday night, they all looked as if their heads were on straight, and that is unusual for young men of their ages.
Here’s my news story from the GoLaurens/GoClinton website: http://www.golaurens.com/news/item/22348
It’s noteworthy that a banquet honoring the sport that divides Laurens County the most is the one that most unites it. Red Devils and Raiders, living in peace until come next season …
My first novel, The Audacity of Dope, was about a former college football player. http://www.amazon.com/The-Audacity-Dope-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B006GT2PRA/ref=pd_sim_351_15?ie=UTF8&dpID=51zCT-MrcFL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_UX300_PJku-sticker-v3%2CTopRight%2C0%2C-44_AC_UL160_SR105%2C160_&refRID=0QA86AAT118Q4X20HWC0
My second novel, The Intangibles, has a high school football team at its center. http://www.amazon.com/The-Intangibles-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00ISJ18Z6/ref=pd_sim_sbs_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51JrJlU8vKL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_UX300_PJku-sticker-v3%2CTopRight%2C0%2C-44_AC_UL160_SR107%2C160_&refRID=1K69GDG3BVRWQ7MN8MK5
My current novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is about a high school coach who loses everything and reinvents himself. 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
So, yeah, I like football.