Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 30, 2016, 11:28 a.m.
I’ve had this small problem this fall. If didn’t watch my alma mater (Furman) and my hometown school (Presbyterian) play football, I might be happier.
But I do. Even if these schools aren’t good, they’re still mine.
I’m not a PC graduate, and it makes a difference, but I have been going to games there for my entire life. The earliest college football game I remember was between Furman and PC at Sirrine Stadium, now the home of the Greenville High Red Raiders. Furman won. It was close. Maybe that’s why I went to Furman, subconsciously. Maybe it made an imprint on my psyche.
As I’ve told a thousand people, I went to Furman because I wanted to be close to home but not so close that I’d be available every time the hogs got out at our farm. It’s a joke, but it’s true. Had I gone to PC, there would have been no peace.
Then again, I planned to go to Clemson until my senior year in high school. I visited Furman and loved it. The Paladins pulled off an upset of Appalachian State when I went with my friend Roy Walker on a recruiting visit.
It was Homecoming at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Not my homecoming. Clinton is already my home.
Brent Sanders and I went to Furman together. His son Hayden plays for the Blue Hose. At each home game – there are a whole four this year — I join the tailgate party that gets bigger and better every year. My friends are the parents of players. Their sons and some of their teammates stop by after the games. They’ve won two and lost six. I’m keenly aware of their frustrations. I’m frustrated.
Here’s the column I wrote in the Greenwood Index-Journal.
Still, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The last home game is next Saturday when Liberty comes to town. The Blue Hose won the game I missed because I had a high school game to describe. I watched them defeat Campbell on my laptop.
Furman, by the way, is 2-6, too.
My nephew, Ray Phillips, and his wife, Jessica, recently moved back to town from Charlotte. I invited them to our tailgate party because it’s a good place for families and they have a wonderful little boy, Thomas, and a newborn baby girl, Margaret.
I think they had a good time. I had mentioned how convenient it was. The farthest parking location is within 250 yards or so of the stadium gates. Ray and Jessica are Clemson graduates. Ray said to me, “We gotta get you to a Clemson game,” and I said something like, “Uh, maybe so.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Tigertown. It was so long ago that, when I covered the Clemson-South Carolina game, neither was any good. Now the Tigers are contenders for the national championship, and the rebuilding Gamecocks upset Tennessee on Saturday.
I enjoyed switching back and forth between the Tigers and Gamecocks on TV once I trudged home from watching the Blue Hose lose again.
I love going to PC and Furman games. I even remember when they won. Etched in my memory is watching the Blue Hose defeat Saginaw Valley State in a long-ago NAIA playoff game. The Paladins have won 13 Southern Conference championships.
But what have they done lately? Not much.
While I breathe, I hope.
Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs.
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.
Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).