Tidbits - April 6, 2017 2

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



STATE OF WINNERS

  Did you ever in your wildest dreams think Carolina and Clemson fans could both say, “We are National Champions!” in the same year?
  Throw in Coastal Carolina’s College World Series title and the State of South Carolina has three current national title holders.
  Carolina fans are in that state of euphoria Clemson fans experienced in January, after the Gamecock women won the national championship in basketball Sunday night.
  The Carolina men came close to making it to Monday’s men’s finals, too, but dropped a 77-73 decision to number one seed Gonzaga.
  Had they won in the semis, it would have been almost too much to take to see Gamecock teams play for national championships on back to back days.
  No Carolina fan has ever gone through something like this. It was a nerve racking weekend.
  Of course, I couldn’t watch any of the games.
  Friday, the ladies went first, playing Stanford in the first round of the Final Four. Dawn Staley had never beaten the Cardinal, so I had my doubts.
  “Captain America: Civil War” was my Netflix “ in place of” viewing.
  I get phone notifications from several services, but my sister Elizabeth texted me near the end, “You can watch.”
 I switched over and saw the last four seconds of the big win. The Gamecocks were going to play for the national championship.
  I’m a SEC “homer,” but I wanted Connecticut to win the second game, because I knew how hard it would be for Carolina to beat Mississippi State for the third time.
  The Bulldogs did not cooperate and won in overtime on a buzzer beater by “Itty Bitty.” What a game! The conference foes would meet for the title.
  Saturday, it was the Gamecock men’s turn. Could they continue their miracle run and beat Gonzaga? No.
  Elizabeth’s text? “We lost by four.”
  No shame in that. I started to rewind the tape, and tape over it, but I didn’t. How many times had Carolina played in the national semi-finals? As of Saturday, one.
  Sunday, the women played for the national title. I had a bad feeling. Like I mentioned above, it’s hard to beat any team three times, much less a great team, and by making the Final Four and breaking Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak, MSU was a great team.
  I’d gotten notifications of the score at the end of the quarters. I knew the Gamecocks were winning in the fourth.
  Elizabeth’s text: “National champs.”
  I flipped over and saw the end.
  In winning the national title, the Gamecocks won by their biggest margin of the year over the Bulldogs.
  Carolina men and women made adjustments to achieve the Final Four accomplishment.
  Star senior Alaina Coates sprained her ankle in the SEC tournament, and was lost for the remainder of the season. Without their 6-4 double-double star, the Gamecock players stepped up and filled the big gap.
  The players you saw win the National Championship Sunday will ALL be back next year.
  The Gamecock men changed from a terrible team to one that made the Final Four by listening to their coach.
  Instead of terrible shooters putting up 10-15 bad three-pointers a game, they started driving to the basket, just as Frank Martin had been telling them to do.
  Players doing things their own way can make coaches look bad. Last week, Martin was called “America’s Favorite Coach” by Dan Patrick, but a week before the SEC tournament some fans were calling for his head.
  The Gamecock women have been on the map for a long time. The men have been in the swamp, but they pulled onto the main road this year.
  A team that finished in the top four in the country wasn’t even ranked! Where will they be next year?
  If P.J. Dozier returns, they will  be pretty good. I’ll be anxious to see of they are ranked in the pre-season.
  Thanks, Gamecock women and men, for giving your fans a thrill of a lifetime!
  By the way, my corduroy shirt I wore every game finished 10-1. That is almost as good as my SHS football outfit that finished 12-1.


SHIRTS

  This basketball success has gotten expensive.
  When Carolina’s basketball teams made the Sweet 16, I went by Jewelry Warehouse and bought a T-shirt on my Tuesday printing trip to Columbia.
  When both teams made the Final Four, I returned to Jewelry Warehouse the next Tuesday.
  I jokingly asked the sales lady if I could trade-in my Sweet 16 T-shirt for a Final Four. She said I could if I had my receipt.
  Of course, I wasn’t going to trade it in.
  When I left I said, “I’ll see you next Tuesday for my National Championship shirt.”
  That will make three different T-shirts in three weeks.
  The bad thing is I don’t wear T-shirts, other than to sleep in.
  Someone suggested I could have a quilt made from my  T-shirt collection. Not a bad idea!

STOP THE IDIOCY!

  Professional golf has got to stop penalizing golfers for something TV viewers see and report.
  Sunday, Lexi Thompson was assessed a four-shot penalty in an LPGA major tournament. She was winning by four shots at the time.
  She was not penalized for something she  did Sunday, but something she did Saturday.
  The infraction did not get noticed by a LPGA official, but a TV viewer who emailed the LPGA.
  Apparently, Lexi did not place her ball back in the right position after she marked it. The mark was off by less than an inch.
  The LPGA got the email, reviewed the tape, then assessed Lexi a penalty while she was playing Sunday. With the penalty, she ended up tied for the lead at the end of regulation. Then, she lost in overtime.
  Professional golf is the only sport that allows comments from the “peanut gallery” to be used to penalize golfers.
  If an infraction is not caught by officials on a hole while the tournament is going on, then the golfer should not be penalized because of someone watching on TV. If every shot of every golfer competing were shown that would be different, but only a select few golfers get coverage.
  It’s not fair and it should stop.
  There have been a lot of bad calls in the NCAA tournament, but none of them have been corrected the day after. What’s done is done!

IT’S US

  I’ve always said how much I hate driving on 378 from Saluda to Columbia, because I always come up on someone driving 45 m.p.h. on a roads where there is no place to pass.
  Apparently, I am not alone.
  Chris Trainor’s recent column in the Index-Journal was entitled, “Slow - rolling through Saluda.”
  A native of Abbeville, he detailed  as a child his family’s experiences of driving to Columbia through Saluda County,  and how each them they would get behind a slow car or two, going and coming.
  This trend continued into adulthood, and now he drives from Lexington to Abbeville quite regularly and nothing has changed.
  He praised the beauty of the trip, and said he did not want to blame an entire community, because the slow drivers may not even be from Saluda.
  Yes, Chris, they are....

JUNE MACK

  I was saddened by the passing of June Mack last week.
  Our families’ connection goes as far back to when she rode the same school bus as my mother in the 1940s, to when her granddaughter Allie Padget married my nephew Trey Shealy.
  I worked with her late husband Jake at the Saluda Plant one summer, when I was part of the fix-it crew, if you can believe that. We were years apart in age, but we forged a friendship. He did not look down on my youth and I appreciated that.
  June was one of  my “collection agents” at the Saluda Shirt Plant. I’d take papers by the office on Wednesday morning and pick up a bag of change from last week’s sale.
  I always enjoyed going by there.
  June had a great sense of humor, and you always smiled when you left her.
  She was loved by all who knew her, and she will be greatly missed.