Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, December 10, 2016, 11:55 a.m.
On television, the FCS playoff game between North Dakota State and South Dakota State is about to begin.
The Dakotas and Carolinas share north and south, so I reckon I’ll watch.
Last night I watched Chapman (11-3) defeat Newberry (10-4), 34-27, in the Class 3A football semifinals. I was delighted to be there. It was an honor to write about it. I knew there was a high likelihood of a great game. I didn’t know Chapman would pull ahead, 27-7, or that Newberry would storm back to tie it, or that the Panthers’ diminutive quarterback, Colton Bailey, would throw an 85-yard touchdown pass with 1:25 remaining.
But all that added up to a great game, so I was right.
The Spartanburg Herald-Journal sent me an email asking if I wanted to cover it, and I did. I had even been thinking of driving down to Newberry just to watch, but knowing myself as I do, it was cold, and I didn’t attend either Chapman or Newberry, so I probably would have followed it on Twitter. Instead, I tweeted about it so others like me could follow it, and the only time I shivered was when my hands slid along the aluminum rails walking back up from the field afterwards.
When I covered NASCAR, I used to say, “I don’t know if I love sports. I don’t know if I love writing. I love being a sportswriter.”
Fortunately, I found out I did love writing. That’s why I’m writing this frivolous blog. It’s why three volumes of my fiction have been published in the past two years. It’s why I’m speeding along on my sixth novel. It’s why I neglect many other things. It’s why I’m still fiddling with this even though North Dakota State and South Dakota State are “getting ready for the opening kick.”
I’m pretty romantic for a guy with no social life. I love the Army-Navy Game. Even though Army never wins, I always root for Black Knights of the Hudson, partly because, all else being equal, I always go for the underdog, and partly because my father’s Uncle Cas was a career Army man, and Aunt Frances and I exchanged letters when I was a kid, and I still keep in touch with Cousin Kitty Lu on Facebook.
For the first time in my life, it just occurred to me that Aunt Frances, who could be rather domineering, helped me along the way to being a writer.
Meanwhile … “Touchdown … Jackrabbits!”
I wonder how many times this year I’ve heard the phrase “indisputable video evidence” and how many times it’s been a lie.
By the way, the Jackrabbits (South Dakota State) did not score a touchdown.
In a related story, I think my coffee machine is dead. This is a crisis. I managed to squeeze half a mug out of it this morning. If it doesn’t work at about the time Army-Navy starts, it’s possible I might drive to Costco in Spartanburg because there’s no way I’m going to buy one at Walmart. If I order one online, I’m going to be running out to the Pilot several times with a great big mug. It’s just two miles away.
South Dakota State did, in fact, eventually score a touchdown.
Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced.
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. Note that my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is on Kindle sale at $.99 for the entire month. Links to print copies are below.
Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.
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).