P.O. Box 668
Saluda, SC 29138
Phone 864 445-2527
Fax 864 445-8679
BY RALPH SHEALY
I KNEW IT!
My college roommate Mickey Gresham sent me a text Friday, saying, “Don’t go near a television set tomorrow around 3:30 p.m.”
I told him I wasn’t going to watch, but also told him not to worry because Carolina was going to win.
He wrote back, “OK, I feel better.”
I’m not a betting man, but I’ve felt for months Carolina was going to beat Georgia.
Of course, I felt the same thing about Texas A&M, but there is a major difference. I didn’t know squat about A&M (obviously), but I know a lot about Georgia and the Bulldog history at Williams-Brice.
Georgia just does not play well in Columbia, and it goes ways back.
There have been many far superior Bulldogs teams that won at Carolina Stadium, but barely.
I particularly remember a game in 1968, when unbeaten Georgia had to come from behind to beat Carolina 21-20. The star of the game was Kent Lawrence, a graduate of Daniel High School near Clemson. I wonder if he ever got to go home?
There were many other “moral victories” by less talented Gamecock teams.
Then in the last ten to 15 years, Carolina began to catch up with Georgia talent-wise and the Gamecocks began to actually beat the Bulldogs, a few times at Sanford, but a lot a home.
Recent history was on Carolina’s side.
Last week was one of the most screwed up football weeks I can remember.
The week before, Wayne Grice and I made plans for the Saluda-Gilbert game. We would leave early enough Friday to eat at the Circle Dinner, since we’d be eating at Shealy’s (our normal pre-Gilbert spot) when we played B&L later in the year.
Thursday, we would do our announcing and clock operating at the Saluda-Gilbert Jayvee game.
Thursday morning I got a text that the Saluda-Gilbert game had been moved to Thursday night because of the threat of storms and heavy rains on Friday.
The Jayvee game was moved to Monday, but the middle school game was played as usual, and since Wayne was keeping the clock for the Middle School we couldn’t do our supper thing.
Danny Bledsoe rode with me to the game, and our meal was a hot dog at the stadium.
I don’t know what part changing the day had to with the outcome, but both teams were sluggish. Saluda practiced at 6 a.m. Thursday, not knowing the game would be played that night. Teams don’t practice on game day, so that might have contributed something.
B&L and Mid-Carolina also played on Thursday, and, ironically, it poured down in Prosperity. All we saw was stars in Gilbert.
Friday, some games, including King Academy’s, were cancelled, while others went on as planned.
My Saturday morning routine is compiling the stats and writing my Saluda High football story. I decided to wait and start doing that at 3:30, game time.
Of course, the game didn’t start at 3:30, so I waited until it started.
In the meantime, I decided to cut my front yard.
About halfway through, I noticed something that looked like a belt on the ground. I kept on cutting for five more minutes, until I realized I was not making any progress. It was a belt. The one that turns the blade on the lawnmower. Par for the course.
That morning I had driven to the office, because our fax machine was giving a “fuser door open.” The fuser door was not open, and I tried all the alleged fixes I could find on the net. None of them worked. Par for the course.
The way my luck has been going lately, I should have prepared myself for a blowout Gamecock loss, but I still felt the Gamecocks were going to win.
With all else that had been going on, I hadn’t had time to “prepare” an alternative to watch instead of the football game.
I went to Netflix and clicked on one of my all-time favorites., “Columbo.” The Carolina-Georgia game took three episodes. I knew the score was close, but I did not have the attack of nerves Gamecock fans who were attending or watching on TV got.
I looked up at the ABC game on my other TV and saw South Carolina 38, Georgia 35 FINAL scroll across the botton of the screen.. I couldn’t wait to watch my recording.
But, because the game got started late, and CBS showed the final two episodes of my favorite summer show, “Reckless,” Saturday night, I didn’t get to start watching the games until after 10 p.m.
Even though I fast fowarded through sections, I was so excited by the outcome, I didn’t fall asleep until after 2 a.m.
We had revival at church Monday, so I didn’t get to announce the Saluda-Gilbert Jayvee game, and King Academy played at Greenwood Christian Monday night.
Hopefully, football games will get back to normal this week.
Finally, I wonder if any college football team has played a tougher early schedule than Carolina? Texas A&M is now ranked 7th, and Georgia was ranked 6th when the Gamecocks played them. Sandwiched between them was East Carolina, who beat the team, Virginia Tech, who beat the No. 8 team, Ohio State, 35-21, the week before.
Clemson also has a tough schedule opening the season. Sure, S.C. State was easy, but the Tigers opened at Georgia and will be at No. 1 Florida State Saturday.
Most of the Power 5 teams have played cupcakes so far, making for some poor television offerings. Saturday at noon, there was East Carolina at Virginia Tech. There were eight other games on at the same time, and they are were all duds.
I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support coming our way, since my column last week.
You have all touched my heart, and I feel so blessed.
Some people read into my column that the paper was going out of business.
This is not the case. Our goal is to work through the bankruptcy, while continuing to publish the paper.
Again, my many thanks.
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