Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 11:44 a.m.
I thought I had been everywhere. Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Kingston, Albuquerque … and some that Hank Snow never even mentioned in his song.
I thought I had done everything, particularly in regard to the writing of sports: NASCAR and all kinds of pastimes requiring, balls, pucks, pins, bats, sticks, cleats, wickets, racquets and girdle pads. Those are just samples. Helmets. Hats. Caps. You get it. I’ve written about lots of sports.
On Tuesday, I wrote for the first time about eight-man football and volleyball. I sent in volleyball results when I was a sports information director, and I watched it on TV on both beaches and wooden floors. I’ve seen people play beach volleyball at a bar in the mountains. The variety of volleyball I saw at the gym was … clearer. No one suggested I take part.
The eight-man football was at Laurens Academy, where I watched practice a while and wrote a preview of Friday night’s opener against Holly Hill Academy. Then it was off to run a couple errands and stop off at Yo Cup for coffee both in a cup and in a cake. Then I migrated to the locally famed rivalry between Laurens District and Clinton high schools, this one with the combatants separated by a net.
I’m vaguely conversant in volleyball. I know what a dig is. It’s what happens when a reader takes a shot at something I wrote. A spike makes me happy with my book sales. A serve? Dum vivimus servimus. “While we breathe, we serve.” It’s the Presbyterian College motto. I didn’t go to PC, but I’ve learned that motto from repeatedly seeing the seal for the entirety of my life. I went to Furman. Christo et doctrinae. “Christ and His teachings.” A little service involved there, too.
Clinton’s service was excellent. It played a powerful role in the Red Devils’ 25-10, 25-19, 25-14 (i.e., 3-0) victory over the Raiders. Here’s my amateurish account in the Greenwood Index-Journal. When amateurish and in doubt, crafty veterans among the ink-stained wretches (now a bit more radioactively challenged in the technological age) resort to extensive quotes from the experts, the coaches. If we don’t know what happened, we are only too happy to let them tell us.
There’s no need to feign authoritative knowledge. Nothing is more annoying than a journalist who thinks he knows more about engine building than Robert Yates or Ernie Elliott. Elliott, by the way, from experience, isn’t inclined to share. The job isn’t to know everything. It’s to make it comprehensible to others who don’t know everything, either.
My first postgame question to Clinton High School coach Jo Webb was, “Was this an upset?” She said she didn’t think so but in enough words to be helpful. When Laurens’ Diane Raabe said she didn’t want to take questions and would make a statement, that was fine. That was way cool.
I didn’t want to coach the Olympic team. I wanted 12 inches on the dadgum match.
Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.
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 a 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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