Red Devils Take a Powder(sville)

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, September 8, 2018, 12:51 p.m.

By Monte Dutton

Powdersville is listed as being in Greenville, though road signs suggest that there is indeed a Powdersville, where the use of Goody’s could be exceedingly high. It’s on the eastern edge of Anderson, not Greenville, County.

Confusion aside, the football game made it seem plausible.

For visitors from Clinton, Powdersville was nirvana. Lower case. Not the tragic band. Before Clinton defeated the Patriots 47-0, I knew about as much about the would-be town as the band.

Both teams had gotten off to slow starts. One sped away.

Clinton head coach Andrew Webb – I played ball with his daddy – talked at length about the vast difference between winning and losing. He broke no new ground there, but even I could relate. All I did was limp up and down the sidelines a while, taking pictures, and then retire to the grandstands with my little Lieutenant Columbo scratch pad and scribble observations I used very little in the game story.

It turns out that most everyone knows that winning is better than losing. Go figure.

Often have I smiled at the notion that some malignant emphasis on winning somehow takes the fun out of sports. No one who ever said that must have experienced the incredible fun of winning. Surely not the guilty humiliation of losing. These people must live in some nether land, some purgatory, some grumpy fog.

Vince Lombardi is often misquoted as saying, “Winning is everything.” What Lombardi, not only a brilliant coach but an inspirational force in my generation, actually said was, “Winning isn’t everything. It is the only thing.”

It’s aspirational. Winning is always worth seeking. Do what you do well.

I have warm memories of bus trips home from long ago, when I was the Bob Uecker of Clinton High football players. In two years on the varsity, I never rode home on a bus after losing. We never lost a road game.

Last night, as I was driving home, I thought about what it must have been like for the Red Devils of today to ride home from losing 42-7 at Broome a week earlier, and I didn’t know. I’ve driven home disappointed in myself for what I had written, but my assumption is that the feeling is quite different with a team of young men blossoming into manhood.

Titus Hood

A state championship when I was 17 years old meant more than National Motorsports Writer of the Year.

I used to say that writing about young people kept me young back before that notion became ridiculous.

I do enjoy mingling a bit. I observe them, seeking insight into the changes in the experience of being young and foolish from a distance of 40 years.

Titus Hood caught a 61-yard touchdown pass. P.J. Bluford snagged a 37-yarder for six. Sam Tiller picked up a fumble and ran it in from 44. The Red Devils rushed for 242 yards. Four runners had more than 30. The defense that gave up 76 points in its first two games gave up 19 yards rushing in its third.

Thank goodness the Patriots didn’t have to ride a bus.

 

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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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