Big Red Gets Devilish in Soccer

Luke Mann (6) scored the first Clinton goal. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 9:52 a.m.

Red Devil soccer has developed gradually over the years. I was away, writing oddly about race cars that go around and around, for most of its history, but it has been my theory that Clinton High School added a soccer program at just about the time sporting goods manufacturers stopped making blocked-off shoes for straight-on football kicking.

By Monte Dutton

From time immemorial until the end of the 1980s, Red Devil football had exactly one soccer-style placekicker, and the reason I am so attuned to this phenomenon is that the sidewinder in question, in 1978 and 1979, was my brother, Brack, who also played cornerback in the latter year’s Shrine Bowl. Have you ever noticed how seldom it is that a placekicker plays another position nowadays?

What I’m suggesting is that the motives might have been slightly mixed when a soccer team representing District 56 finally took the field.

On Tuesday evening, amid conditions that were almost perfect, Clinton won a Class 3A soccer playoff game for the first time … ever. All I was there to write was this. I took a few photos during the first half and then retired to the sidelines, there to complain about the officiating and be swept up in partisan fervor.

The score was Clinton (11-11) 3, Chester (8-9) 2. The Red Devils will go to Walhalla, an outpost on the far side of Clemson from here, for another match on Thursday night.

Here comes Parker Duncan.

Luke Mann, whose father once played football with me; Parker Duncan, son of our Congressman; and Elvis Fitz, who coincidentally kicked field goals and extra points for the football team last fall; scored the goals. The Red Devils outshot the Cyclones, 20-12.

Clinton took a 1-0 lead on Mann’s goal. Then it was 1-1. Then Clinton took the lead again. And Chester tied it. Duncan’s game-winner occurred in the 71st minute, three after Chester’s Jeffery Gulish scored.

At the time, things looked ghoulish. I couldn’t resist.

Duncan’s game-winner led 30 parents of Cyclones to yell aloud something like “oh, fiddlesticks!” and something less wholesome under their breaths, and about 50 Red Devil fans to exult in much the same fashion. The tone was markedly different.

Clinton: “Damned if we didn’t score! He got it! He got it! Who was it? Parker Duncan! Woo-hoo! Go, Parker!”

Chester: “Day-ummm.”

Duncan, whose thirst for the net is as great as his father’s political ambition, also had an assist, as did Jesus Gonzalez and Patrick Nelson.

If one is standing on a sideline, surrounded by others among the faithful, listening to jeers rising from the little wooden grandstand where the other team’s pilgrims have set up camp, reality gets distorted.

It was as if the officials were willing participants in a seedy attempt by the visitors to brutalize the local lads. Fans were howling for mandatory incarceration, no parole, and all the refs had to offer was a single, solitary yellow card. I even went so far as to suggest one of the co-conspirators might need an update in the prescription for his spectacles. Oh, wait. The ref wasn’t wearing glasses. Contact lenses, undoubtedy. Something was distorting his view.

Many of the fans were quite knowledgeable about the game, no doubt a result of carrying kids all over the Upstate to play club soccer for “select” teams.

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

If Clinton should win at Walhalla against the Razorbacks – it seems particularly unique a nickname for soccer – then I’m told they will play Berea, the Greenville school that is, according to a reliable source standing next to me, the No. 28 team in the nation.

I’ve got my share of problems, but I’m glad I haven’t been tasked at trying to figure out the top 50 high school soccer teams in America. Lots of variables, I’m thinking.

Ever since I started writing fiction, fans have asked me to write a novel about stock car racing. I kept it a secret while I was working on it. Now it’s out. Lightning in a Bottle is the story of the next big thing, 18-year-old Barrie Jarman.

(Steven Novak cover design)

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. Lightning in a Bottle will be in stock shortly.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are also available at Emma Jane’s, 105 East Main Street on the Square, Clinton.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

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.

(Joe Font cover design)

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 a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

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.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

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).

 

When Spring Is in the Meadow

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 9:51 a.m.

I got out Tuesday evening. I’d been holed up, preparing for my big news, which is imminent.

By Monte Dutton

And, I hope, eminent.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready and not a second before.

I ran myself late and lost track of the time, even though that time is located in the bottom right corner of this screen. A little-known fact: time accelerates as the day progresses. If only Einstein had known this, why, we’d probably be traveling intergalactically by now.

Comparatively and metaphorically, Clinton High School’s boys’ soccer team was traveling intergalactically, or, at least, at a hefty land speed for humans.

The junior varsity hadn’t started its game with Broome as early as a malfunctioning mind had alleged, so, instead of arriving at the varsity game five minutes late, it was early in the second half of the JV contretemps. Clinton won, 2-1.

The varsity didn’t have a contretemps. It was barely a contest. The Red Devils are emerging from a rough start. The Centurions fell, 7-0.

Broome … swept. Undoubtedly, a headline writer has noticed this before. Undoubtedly, page designers have succumbed to triteness more often because of the sheer frustration inherent in Broome High School’s athletic teams. There exists no “headline word” for Centurions. They can’t be the Cents or the Rions. At least when Clinton plays, the headline can refer simply to the Devils.

None of this has anything to do with the inability of its soccer teams to beat Clinton on a Tuesday evening in early spring 2017.

If the home team is being battered, fans will seep away, but when the lads are on a romp, everyone remains to enjoy the frivolity. I mingled socially, told jokes, and walked across the field to trade quips with very young men who are 28.8 percent of my age.

In a little over a week, that is. Estimates may vary.

At the conclusion of Victory in the Meadow, I headed over to the Yard to check out the baseball team, young and struggling, partly because I wanted to check out the new stadium and partly because I hadn’t had anything to eat since 8 that morning. In other words, I also wanted to check out the concession stand, where, in fact, I was able to acquire a Zaxby’s Meal Deal (sandwich, chips, drink) that hit the spot. The Red Devils didn’t hit enough. Broome won, 4-2.

Now I’m back to waiting for the big surprise.

(Steven Novak cover design)

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.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

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.

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 a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

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.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

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).

 

Luckily, Clinton Soccer Has No ‘Back in the Day’

(Monte Dutton photos)
(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 9:06 a.m.

I guess I feel about as sane as any author whose novel was just released. I always do something I wish I didn’t, such as start maniacally reading and finding a few small typos and mistakes that have somehow slipped through the cracks even though it went through three drafts and has been exhaustively edited by me and others.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

It’s always something. I believe I could proofread a manuscript — or for that matter, update it — a hundred times, and something would still slip through, and I’m positive each time I’d think of little tidbits to add and others to subtract.

Every project, by necessity, must end.

No need to get excited. All is well. The book is good. I like it in spite of the fact that I wrote it.

I do, however, need time to relax. Tuesday was a good time to ride around and around my mother’s lawn. It was a good time to go to an athletic contest without bringing a notepad or a scoresheet along. It was a good time to go watch sons of friends and acquaintances play soccer at Clinton High School.

DSCF2428Soccer offers long periods of utter frustration punctuated occasionally by divine providence.

Often the providence is at the end. Like NASCAR.

Clinton’s overtime, 3-1 victory over Union County was such a match.

The Red Devils outshot the Yellow Jackets, 27-7, but since the outcome is determined by shots that go in, they trailed, 1-0, until late in the going. The reason I know this is not because I jotted it down — of course, I could have done so in my iPhone — but because I looked it up at GoClinton. Clinton (4-8, 3-2 Region III-3A) scored twice in overtime, and finally the game ended because, as is the means in soccer, a referee gazed at his wristwatch repeatedly and finally proclaimed, “Okay, this enough,” quite likely because he had seen enough.

DSCF2433

Soccer is located between baseball and basketball. Baseball has no clock. Basketball has a clock. Soccer has roughly a clock.

DSCF2431The Red Devils do not mirror in many ways other soccer Red Devils such as Manchester United and the country of Belgium. What I ponder, though, when I am watching them play, is how good they are. This is because I imagine what a Clinton High School soccer team would have looked like in 1976, when there wasn’t one.The best player would probably have been someone who quit either baseball, tennis, or track. He would wear an Army surplus jacket with peace symbols etched in black magic marker. His hair would be long and shaggy, and often, if he kicked the ball well, he would stop in his tracks and stare in wonder at his mighty deed. His teammates would follow his lead rather than the instructions of the coach, who undoubtedly would have known little about what he was doing. A 1976 Clinton squad might have been 4-8, too, if only because all the teams they played would have been similarly composed.

No Parker Duncan, though. He scored two goals and assisted the third.

In other words, I find the current edition of Red Devil soccer to be magnificently proficient.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

It’s out. Now. Today. Cheap. $3.49. You can’t afford not to!

Forgive Us Our Trespasses falls eight months and eight days after the release of Crazy of Natural Causes. Eight is my lucky number, and this is pure luck. Apparently, my speed is about eight months. It’s a good pace I’m setting. You can order Trespasses here: http://www.amazon.com/Forgive-Our-Trespasses-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B0192I3Q1K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458316129&sr=1-1&keywords=forgive+us+our+trespasses

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes has been out since late July of 2015. In the interest of peace, love, and understanding, I’d love for you to give one or two or four of them a read. If you’ve never watched an R-rated film, then I wouldn’t recommend my novels. If you have, I expect you’ll love them.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

The Intangibles (2013) is based on boyhood memories and is set in a small Southern town amid the tumult of the 1960s. The Audacity of Dope (2011) is a freewheeling yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who somehow becomes a national hero, and that comes with complications.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

My short fiction, reviews and essays can be found here: https://wellpilgrim.wordpress.com/

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50.

Go Crazy But Not Nuts

The sun will not set peacefully on this NASCAR season. (Monte Dutton)
The sun will not set peacefully on this NASCAR season. (Monte Dutton)

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, November 9, 2014, 1:10 p.m.

Many years ago, when I was a mischievous college student, a soccer coach and I conspired to get his team ready for a match against a nearby rival. I cut off the heading of that rival’s stationery and fashioned a facsimile of a news release previewing the aforementioned match. It wasn’t outlandish, and was meant to be believable if a bit, uh, aggressive.

“Furman’s kids really play hard,” the rival coach was quoted as saying, “but they don’t really have a lot of talent.”

No one who doesn’t have a lot of talent fancies himself that way. The coach made a few copies and posted them around his team’s locker room. I accompanied the team to the match, which Furman won, three to one, I believe, but there were unexpected developments.

For instance, a full-fledged brawl broke out, and the coach and I participated in breaking it up. On the way back to Greenville, he drove the van, and I sat in the passenger seat. Both of us were partially coated in mud. I had a skint elbow, and one cheek was scratched.

Though he was driving, as lights from the street flickered through the van, our eyes met for a second.

“You reckon we might have overdone it a mite?” I asked him, and we both chuckled.

At the center of the tempest, at least now, is Brad Keselowski.  (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
At the center of the tempest, at least now, is Brad Keselowski. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

With this Chase format, NASCAR has lathered up the sport. The action has continued after the checkered flag fell in two of the past three races. Let’s just say a few drivers and crewmen have strained the bounds of professionalism. All week long, I thought about what has been transpiring, but I didn’t have anything but random observations until this morning when I remembered the thirty-five-year-old tale of the soccer match.

I didn’t just strain the bounds of public relations. I ripped them to shreds. The soccer coach and I both looked and felt like the Tasmanian Devil when we emerged from the mess. The question for NASCAR, entering the Phoenix race that these words precede, is whether or not it’s possible to put on the brakes as everything spins further out of control.

Last week, "Harvick" became a verb. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images photo for NASCAR)
Last week, “Harvick” became a verb. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

The instructions appear to be, Hey, go crazy, but, by all means, don’t go nuts. It’s a hard distinction to draw. “Boys, have at it” doesn’t seem like a judgment call. Right now, NASCAR is dancing, as gracefully as Fred Astaire and considerably more so than Michael Waltrip, on the edge of the active volcano’s cone. They’ve turned the sport into the rough equivalent of a political campaign ad.

When the smoke clears, they approved this ad.

Thanks for reading my modest offerings, cultivated from afar. I’m a little closer to the books I’m writing, and I would be appreciative if you would read them, too. They don’t cost too much, and you can find them here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1414631316&sr=1-1

 

I’m Not Being Serious Here

Guitars don't kill audiences. Guitarists kill audiences.
Guitars don’t kill audiences. Guitarists kill audiences.

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, S.C., Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 9:20 a.m.

On the one hand, I’m glad the World Cup is over. Watching it was amusing and educational, plus, I’ll be performing crummy impersonations of English broadcasters for weeks.

For instance, NASCAR’s recently retired Barney Hall, with an English accent:

“As Logano traverses beneath the flagman’s flowing green colors, they’re off, and I can’t but note for posterity the presence of a stirring array of cars that, together, epitomize the quintessence of this splendiferous sporting regime.”

It’s unlikely to get better. The British Open begins Thursday, the distinguished English being joined by wee Scots and saucy Aussies.

Then, I’m satisfied the eliminations for the 2018 World Cup will begin in a few weeks with the United States taking on Wake Island.

What? No race, either?  (Getty Images for NASCAR)
What? No race, either? (Getty Images for NASCAR)

9:37 a.m.

This week’s checklist for the Race Team Alliance: (1.) self-insuring through Blue Cross, (2.) endless appetizers at TGI Fridays, (3.) yacht discount cards, (4.) an “owners vote” for the Hall of Fame, and (5.) swift takeover of a Caribbean island.

That Rob Kauffman is a can-do guy.

9:46 a.m.

I hate the All-Star Break. Normally, here in exile, my daily schedule involves getting all my work done in concert with the schedule of the Boston Red Sox. It’s not enough they’re in last place. At the moment, they’re not even playing.

If I can make it through to Friday / everything’s gonna be all right, I know / It’s the dullest time of summer / And the Royals are the next tough Boston foe …

For now, my favorite sport is typing. My hobby is coffee.

9:56 a.m.

In West Virginia, TV tells me that “clean coal” is a big issue. I’d settle for “clean journalism.”

I wish I could go to Washington as a lobbyist for guitar rights. Or even Columbia.

Sometimes, while pecking away at this laptop, individual sentences from the nearby TV set pop into my head. Usually, these sentences are attached to the video image of Larry McReynolds, but just now I heard, “The Mexican government is finally going to do something about these train rides.”

The modern-day Woody Guthrie is Juan Gutierrez, I gather.

“See ‘em riding on them trains, D.W.? Them’s train riders.”

Did you get a few chuckles from this fiction? Imagine reading a whole book of it. My novels, The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope, are available at a bevy of fine bookstores, one office supply (L&L here in town), online at bn.com, neverlandpublishing.com and amazon.com, where Kindle editions are available at insanely low prices. Mail me a check (see “merchandise”), and I’ll even sign and ship myself. Oh, wait. I’ll sign and ship a book. Or two.

It’s Not The Way We Do It Around Here

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

IMG_0246
Argentina’s Lionel Messi

Clinton, S.C., Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 12:18 p.m.

I got the grass cutting done early so that I could watch the soccer match between Argentina and Switzerland. To paraphrase the late Jack Buck, I can’t believe what my fingers just typed.

In my defense, I am writing this blog while the match is going on, but, to my detriment, it is about the World Cup.

Soccer isn’t new to me. A Game of the Week was on national television each Sunday when I was nine. I remember that New York had the Cosmos, and Atlanta had the Chiefs. Predictions that soccer would take over the country were roughly as prevalent then as now.

Right now, it is indeed big. The difference may be that I enjoy watching pretty much all the games, and, until this century, I was only interested in the USA. I think I’m still a little ahead of the mainstream. Soccer is really big, but only once every four years. In the USA, we go somewhat nuts about the USA, and we haven’t come close to going nuts on a less than national level. In fact, based on what I hear on a medium as reliable as Twitter, Americans care more about soccer played in foreign leagues than the American one. Apparently, soccer is the anti-basketball, where, instead of the world’s best players coming to America, America’s best players go to the world.

A man’s got to do what he’s got to do, I guess. It might be about money.

Soccer seems to be the most loosely enclosed sport. When the ball trickles out of bounds, if a player reaches it and it’s just a little past the line, he just keeps right on playing. When it soars into the stands, it’s, well, okay, we’ll stop for a few seconds. The clock keeps running. In fact, no one seems to know when it will stop.

Every time a player falls to the ground, trying shamelessly to draw a penalty, and just remains there while play moves to the far end of the field, I hope with all my being that the other team’s player, whom the grimacing thespian is supposed to be “marking,” scores on the other end. Unfortunately, if it happened, I probably wouldn’t really know. It’s amusing to watch a great athlete go from “weeping out of sheer pain” to “galloping like unto a thoroughbred” in a matter of seconds.

It is a disgusted mirth I harbor.

What I like is snazzy passing. It’s what most impressed me by victorious Spain in 2010. It was the soccer version of “three yards and a cloud of dust,” with the Spaniards working the ball patiently up the field, keeping it away from the opposition like Dean Smith’s old Four Corners stall. The team I’ve most enjoyed watching this year, Mexico, was eliminated in heartbreaking and controversial fashion by the Netherlands, which brings me to my final point.

Soccer is like most sports used to be. The officials are in charge, for better or worse, and a bad call is considered part of the game. The officials, occasionally checking their watches, even decide when it ends, and the process doesn’t look very precise. Its officials don’t have technology spying on them, at least in terms of limiting their power.

They just need lots of security to get out of the stadium alive.

If you’d like to see another aspect of my writing, take a look at www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com, too, from time to time.

The Lads Are Giving It Their All

I sketched USA captain Clint Dempsey and German defender Mats Hummels.
I sketched USA captain Clint Dempsey and German defender Mats Hummels.

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, S.C., Thursday, June 26, 2014, 3:56 p.m.

Whew. The USA advances, not by winning, not by a draw, but by falling, 1-0, to Germany in the final match of Group G play, and the grace of Portugal edging Ghana, 2-1. The Americans have won once (Ghana), lost once (Germany) and tied once (Portugal), and by the formula that determines which two teams made it to the “knockout” round of sixteen, it is enough to play another day.

We can go nuts about soccer, or futbol, or World Cup, again next Tuesday. Then, most likely, after the furor subsides, and another nation justly wins it instead of us, we can go back to chanting “SEC!” or “Roll Tide!” or “Ah-ah-AH-uh-ah-AH!” with a tomahawk chop, something instead of “USA!” Soccer will settle a little higher on the totem poles of our respective sports consciousnesses. Some sports rise in our consciousnesses from time to time – at Wimbledon, Augusta, Indianapolis, when’s the next America’s Cup? – and some stay there all the time.

Obviously, there are those who love soccer more than anything. It’s a big, diverse country.

Honestly, with our soccer team, it’s so far, so good. It advanced to the final sixteen, and when America plays soccer, winning it all remains a dream. The dream gradually gets a little closer to real life. It’s not a fantasy. It’s just hard to imagine.

During Thursday’s match, I kept reading tweets that expressed disappointment because “America plays to win, by God!” and I thought to myself, well, that would be a sure recipe for disaster.

Germany won because Germany is better. The USA played it smart. They gave nearly as much as they got. It was honorable. They ordered biscuits, they arrived, they’re tasty, and anything from here on out is gravy. Or at least butter. With jelly.

I’ve enjoyed watching our spirited, plucky squad. It’s got timing. It just doesn’t have quite enough skill.

Thursday’s match was honorable. Winning it would have been miraculous. I was proud when Clint Dempsey, the captain, broke his nose in the first match and kept on playing. He’ll get to play more. What I admire most in Dempsey and his mates is that they don’t go crashing to the ground every time someone touches them, then, failing to earn a statuette for their dramatic skills, hop up and go running off again like some gazelle.

They’re liable to knock off some world power – the World Cup has an informal SEC – yet. If they win it all, it won’t be like winning the lottery, but it will definitely be more surprising than Vanderbilt winning the College World Series.

The Commodores can play. In soccer, the USA tries really, really hard, and we all ought to be very proud of that.

“Sixteen left! Sixteen left! We’re one of ‘em! We’re one of ‘em!”

 

Love at First Bite

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, S.C., Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 6:50 p.m.

Today, I voted, which was the simplest of tasks. I worked on a new short story (Part Two of “The Paved Road, posted at www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com), which was quite a bit more difficult.

My World Cup pecking order: (1.) USA, (2.) other underdogs.
My World Cup pecking order: (1.) USA, (2.) other underdogs.

I watched the World Cup, or, more accurately, had it on while I was writing.

I’m about to watch a South Carolina ETV program called Making It Grow, not because there is something I want to grow but because someone I know is appearing on it.

I’m going to watch Game Two of the College World Series because Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin was a friend of mine twenty-five years ago and, though I can’t accurately claim to be friends now since I’ve seen him twice in the past decade, I still think a lot of him and try to keep up with the Commodores.

Then, there are the Boston Red Sox, who did me a great favor by getting clobbered last night in Seattle and enabling me to get a decent night’s sleep. I’ll watch them tonight, probably when the Vandy-Virginia game is over.

What's been setting at Fenway thus far is last year's World Series. Defense seems unlikely.
What’s been setting at Fenway thus far is last year’s World Series. Defense seems unlikely.

Today was no different than any other day in that I thought quite a bit about absurdity, principally the absurdity of sport. Many fans watch sports seriously, and I don’t see how they do it.

For instance, I watched a soccer player from Uruguay bite one from Italy. Luis Suarez, I hear, has done this before. Perhaps it’s a Uruguay thing. My thoughts are: (1.) it’s shocking, (2.) it’s funny; the Italian player, Giorgio Chiellini, wasn’t hurt, though Suarez did leave a mark (3.) it, of course, can’t be condoned, inasmuch as you can’t just have people biting each other, (4.) with all concern, and in deference to Twitter, I really don’t think a bite through a jersey on a shoulder qualifies as cannibalism, and (5.) I know someone who might have become a soccer star had she grown up in Uruguay because she once loved to bite people. She was two.

I thought about having Italian for supper because it just seemed like the thing to do, but, as usual, I went with the Tuesday night special at Fatz Café. On the way, I listened to part of the Greece-Ivory Coast (or Cote d’Ivoire) match on satellite radio, where the expert analyst sounded almost exactly like Ringo Starr.

“Uh, in the sickun hahf, ah expect Griss to fuhs the bull goalwuhd cuz it’s gittin frahntic, isn’t it now?”