Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, August 5, 2016, 10:45 a.m.
I get to write about high school football tonight. A game story. Not a real game. A scrimmage matching the Wildcats of Ninety Six against the Red Devils of Clinton. On Saturday morning I’ll visit far Laurens (the high school is about 12 miles from my house) to watch five teams collide. Besides the Raiders, teams representing Emerald, Mauldin, Midland Valley and Strom Thurmond will be at the LDHS soccer field because K.C. Hanna Stadium is still recovering from the replacement of its turf.
The exciting morning so far has consisted of scouring the web for rosters: Ninety Six, Emerald, Mauldin and Thurmond. I lack Midland Valley. The focus will be on Clinton and Ninety Six tonight and Laurens and Emerald in the morning, so I reckon this will suffice.
Sportswriting, like politics before Trump, is the art of the possible.
Next up, on this the 2016 dawning of keeping up with football players, is a bit of study regarding online, football stat sheets that suit my fancy. (Printed out two kinds, went with the one that was vertical, printed 20 copies, boom!)
The business of sportswriting has ventured far beyond just writing. I expect to take some photos, tweet, and maybe even shoot some video. I’ve got to work out the kinks just like the athletes. In a way, these are preseason scrimmages for me, too.
Two years ago, I began covering high school games for the first time in, oh, 20 years or so. Last year, I started doing it regularly. At first, I felt like I was losing it. Back in the old days, man, I was a whiz. Now it’s hard to keep up.
Lest I fear the onset of dementia, soon I realized, or rationalized, that the last time I wrote about high school football, there was no Twitter to tweet, no blogs (let along video blogs) to blog, and, even though I had taken photos at games before (uh, in the 1980s), I didn’t have to crop and process the photos, now digital. I can fiddle around with the exposure without a twisted paper clip with a piece of masking tape around the end.
I don’t have to roll film canisters, develop them, and douse shiny paper in the glow of ruby-red light. Over in Greenwood, at the Index-Journal, nothing will be shipped to “the back” through pneumatic tubes because newspapers no long have “the back,” a.k.a., the composing room. My story will, however, flash through the air from this contraption to the ones across the lake.
In other words, this gig is both a hell of a lot easier and a hell of a lot harder.
Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?
Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.
Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.
The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.
The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.
Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.
Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).