Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, November 26, 2016, 10:14 a.m.
My first thought this morning, upon awakening, was …
… Gee, whiz, I have to use the bathroom. Emphasis on “whiz.”
My second thought was, well, football’s over.
Hahahaha. Football is never over. As General Douglas MacArthur would have said had he been a couch potato instead of a military leader, Old football seasons never die. They just fade away.
Football is over locally and in my narrowly defined world. Last night Laurens fell to Spartanburg, 35-17, in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. A week earlier, Clinton fell to Chester, 24-16, in the first round of 3A. The Furman Paladins bowed out 3-8. The Presbyterian Blue Hose ground to a 2-9 halt.
Layers of football start peeling off. In college, this is a weekend of “rivalry games.” Next is a weekend of conference championships. Then, for several weeks, bowls will be filled with cereal and milk almost every night of the week.
The Hardee’s Sausage, Egg and Cheese Burrito Bowl, matching Colgate and Palmolive.
The Whichever Cell Provider You Don’t Have Bowl, testing how far Tech and State can roam.
The Auld Lang Syne Bowl, matching old coaches their teams are tired of. The Apple-Cheeked Lads Bowl, matching young coaches who don’t know what they’re doing.
The Affordable Care Bowl, which is going out of business. The Trust Me It’ll be Uuge Bowl, which will replace it.
There are lots of them. They start getting relevant after Christmas.
The pros will take football almost all the way to the Daytona 500, which reminds me: The first thought tomorrow morning – after the call of nature, of course – will be, What time does the race start?
No race? Well, there is the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, which sounds more fictitious than the bowls above. I think I watched The Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on TCM Thursday. It’s a Marx Brothers flick. No, wait. That was A Day at the Races. Or The Crowd Roars. That was with Jimmy Cagney. Or was it Jimmie Cagney? No, that’s Jimmie Johnson. He won the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In a Chevrolet. For his record-tying seventh title. Chad Knaus (Kuh-NOWSS) told him to win it for the Gipper. No, that was Knute (Kuh-NOOT) Rockne. George Gipp was Ronald Reagan, not Jimmy Cagney. Or Jimmie Johnson.
To summarize, NASCAR is done till February, except for lame publicity stunts designed to keep the name in the news.
Football runs down the Energizer Bunny. It exhausts a rocket engine. It does not, however, leave Stephen A. Smith speechless. At this stage, it merely shifts from live to on satellite. I’m making the transition. I’ve attended two basketball games live, and PC won both of them.
Every aspect of life is affected by football. For every Les Miles in Baton Rouge, there is a Harold Nichols here. For every Ed Orgeron, there is a Tommy Spangler. The Coach is dead. Long live the coach. It makes me chuckle to hear that Orgeron is the “permanent” coach at LSU. Permanent doesn’t mean what it used to. It no longer has permanence. Andrew Webb of Clinton High School recently became “permanent.” For two years, he was “interim.”
In a short while, I expect to be permanently watching Michigan play Ohio State, but I’ll be switching to and from Kentucky-Louisville, Rutgers-Maryland, Purdue-Indiana, Virginia-Virginia Tech, Kansas-Kansas State, Central Florida-South Florida, Illinois-Northwestern, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Arkansas State-Louisiana (Lafayette).
Those are just the ones at noon.
Similar bevies of gridiron strife are available throughout the day and night, spilling over into Sunday on the East Coast when Colorado State takes on San Diego State, Wyoming invades New Mexico, and Utah State ventures to Brigham Young.
My nephew and his wife are, even now, closing in on Clemson, where their beloved Tigers are expected to deep-fry the Gamecocks tonight. Ray wanted to be there in time to watch Michigan-Ohio State on TV. He already seemed mildly preoccupied while I helped him dispose of Thanksgiving leftovers late yesterday afternoon.
Hmm. I could watch Charleston Southern-Wofford on my laptop.
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.
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 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.