Missing the Good Old Days

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, September 1, 2018, 11:59 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

The weekend is not off to a good start.

Don’t you agree that the weekend starts informally on Friday night? Last night was a rough one.

I was off to the east side of Spartanburg, near Cowpens, to watch Broome clobber Clinton, 42-7. Meanwhile, in Laurens, Myrtle Beach was pounding the Raiders, 42-6. At Laurens Academy, Beaufort Academy won the eight-man brand of football, 58-0.

Two weeks into the season, the only victory by a Laurens County team is against another Laurens County team. As a result, the Raiders are 1-1, while the Red Devils and Crusaders are 0-2.

This makes me wistful. All three schools have proud histories. All have fallen on hard times, at least so far. Many of the traditional football towns of the state are in decline. Power has shifted toward the cities and landed in the suburbs. In the Clintons and Laurenses, the mills have closed and some people cling to life, pride, uniqueness and authenticity by the fortunes of the great rallying points, the towns’ football teams.

It may be silly, but it’s true.

I almost wish I didn’t have the drive home from Broome High School to ponder such matters. I listened to the Grand Ole Opry – the Oak Ridge Boys and Jamey Johnson make an odd tandem – as if my daddy and I were coming home from a horse auction nearly 50 years ago.

I got home, tuned the TV to the high school highlights, cropped and edited the photos, printed out the stats, transcribed the interview, wrote the story and went back over it. By the time the story was published, it was 1 a.m. and I was not sleepy.

During the drive home, I had thought about the words to Iris Dement’s “Our Town”:

And you know, the sun’s setting fast / And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts / Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye / But hold on to your lover ’cause your heart’s bound to die / Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town / Can’t you see the sun’s going down on our town, our town / Goodnight.

I found out the Red Sox lost. Of course they did.

In a few minutes, my college, Furman, opens the season. The Paladins are playing Clemson. Of course they are.

Can I accentuate the positive? Hmm.

I bought some sneakers at the outlet mall in Gaffney. The ones I had were in bad shape. I was mildly worried that, on some high school sideline, the soles might start breaking away. Those New Balances lasted longer than any pair of shoes I’ve ever had, in part because I’ve never put less wear in a pair of shoes I’ve ever had. On the other hand, they bore a heavy burden.

The new ones are gray instead of black. They are Skechers, or I suppose as plural, Skecherses. I put them on, sitting on the tailgate of the truck in the parking lot, and wore them to the game at Royal Stadium on the campus of Gettys D. Broome High School.

My feet feel good. So there’s hope.


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(Cover design by Steven Novak)

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About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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