Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, August 12, 2016, 9:46 a.m.
“Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made.” — Otto von Bismarck.
A little of this probably exists in every means of making a living. Somewhere right now, two florists are having a drink, trading stories about the ugly side of a pretty job.
“Uhhhhhh. Camellias are nasty.”
“God, Frank, have you ever tried to keep tulips fresh?”
“It’s a nightmare.”
Such is the case with sportswriters. Writing about the Super Bowl is of greater import, but the Authur State Bank Wolverine Showcase is just as stressful. Or can be, even if a lovely rainbow arches over one end zone of W.L. Varner Stadium shortly before the proceedings commence.
No Boy Scout ever headed off to the camporee better prepared than a certain scribe for Woodruff Thursday night.
For whatever reason — rainbow watching, field drying, general malaise — it all started late, though it didn’t dampen the Clinton ardor. The Red Devils scored a point a minute for 24 — under this modified, unofficial format, two quarters constitute one of three halves, or, as Larry McReynolds sometimes says during Fox NASCAR broadcasts, “Dale Junior just shaved three and two-third tenths off Smoke’s lead” — while limiting the Blue Ridge Tigers to seven.
I just wrote a paragraph that might have led readers to get a scratch pad. Oh, well. On to the sausage making.
Once high school football games start in earnest, deadlines will be reasonable. If this had been a regular-season game in Woodruff, I probably would have packed up and driven home, a mere 22 miles, to write a story. On this Thursday evening, the deadline was 10 p.m., a time at which the Laurens Raiders, the dual focus of my coverage, were still playing.
This was not my hope. It was my dark suspicion.
Before arriving at the lovely yard, bedecked with the rainbow lending credibility to the drizzle, I went to see if Burger King had wi-fi. I knew McDonald’s did, but that’s on the other side of town from Woodruff High School and the opposite from home. Burger King would be open till 10. The Index-Journal deadline was 10. Eureka!
I drove back to the stadium, enjoyed fond conversation with the friendly folks who frequent the Woodruff press box, took my camera and note pad to the sideline, where I took photos during the first quarter of the half that was a third, and went back to catch up my notes with my stats while following the second quarter that was a half that was a third. Then, while Spartanburg was holding off Chapman, 21-20, I wrote about Clinton winning, 24-7. I edited the photos, and while Laurens was playing Woodruff, drove back to Burger King to email Clinton photos and a story on the Showcase sans LDHS results.
The second quarter of the third half that was mathematically a third had begun by the time I got back. I took a few blurry pictures of the Raiders, asked my peers what had happened while I was away — the score was then 7-7 — and waited for it all to end, with Woodruff winning, 14-13. I interviewed Laurens head coach Chris Liner.
In the parking lot, I pecked out four paragraphs on my phone and emailed them to Greenwood, where the folks at the home office pasted the brief account of the Laurens third into the account of the Clinton third and this is how it all wound up.
The above is how I did it, and how I did it was the only way it could have been done.
Now I have a fresh batch of sausage, and, somewhere, Bismarck is proud.
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. Crazy of Natural Causes is on sale at $1.99. 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.
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