Another Head Ball Coach a Ways Up the Road

Butch Clark with three of his best: from left, Baylee Bragg, Matti Cantrell and C.J. Ginn. (Monte Dutton photo)

Butch Clark with three of his best: from left, Baylee Bragg, Matti Cantrell and C.J. Ginn. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, February 26, 2016, 11:41 a.m.

Thursday took me to Laurens District High School — by way of Aldi, two dozen eggs, some bratwurst, coffee and other items — to write about the Raiders’ softball team and how it’s going to finagle a fourth Region I-4A championship in six years.

When I got there, head coach Butch Clark was getting ready to drag the field and making it clear that someone had better fix that dadgone thing, and weld a piece on it, because, as of that moment, he was wrinkling more than he was smoothing.

Despite the feeling that his equipment — a golf cart dragging a flat, weighed-down, square of crisscrossing metal — left a little to be desired, not much bothers Coach Clark. He has put in most of his time in the teaching and coaching wars. In as much as veterans grizzle, Clark is grizzled. I reckon that makes him a likable bear.

Monte Dutton

Monte Dutto

When I asked him how the Raiders’ preseason scrimmages had gone, he said, “Not too good,” leaned his head back and started laughing.

He has a way with sentences that wind up undermining the way they started.

“If the pitching settles down, we can be pretty competitive with anybody most of the time.”

“We’ve got a good handful of decent players, I think. We feel like we’re going to hit the ball pretty good.”

He’s the kind of fellow one talks to and comes away thinking, Wow, this is really good stuff, and then one transcribes the interview and wonders, What did this man just say?

Clark leaves a good bit between the lines. That’s what’s going to make it fun to watch his team play.

This is a man who will work with what he’s got, but even when it’s fixed, it likely won’t be to suit him.

What better definition of a coach is there?

Here’s my team preview at

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)

As you may have noticed, I use these blogs as a promotional tool for my novels. One, Crazy of Natural Causes, has been out since late July of 2015. In the interest of peace, love, and understanding, I’d love for you to give one or two or (soon) four of them a read.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Another, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, will be out soon. It’s a crime novel about corruption and patronage in a small town. The tale unfolds across two generations at the same time. It’s got sex, drugs, corruption, murder, and frank language. Very little, if any, rock and roll, though.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

The Intangibles (2013) is based on boyhood memories and is set in a small Southern town amid the tumult of the 1960s. The Audacity of Dope (2011) is a freewheeling yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who somehow becomes a national hero, and that comes with complications.

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here:

My short fiction, reviews and essays can be found here:

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50. Look for me by name at Google+. Whew. It’s too much.


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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