Tidbits - July 6 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



TOO EARLY

  I felt sorry for former Gamecock basketball player, PJ Dozier.
  He declared for the NBA draft, had a big draft party, and he wasn’t drafted.
  He got some bad advise it appears, although most those “in the know” said he would be a second round choice.
  During the season, the draft talk began. Some even said PJ would go in the first round.
  They must have been looking at a different player than I saw.
  Kentucky players are the “one and done” type,  the kind capable of scoring 47 points in a game.
  I didn’t think PJ was a “two and done,” because he is a terrible shooter. The NBA doesn’t go after defensive specialist. The teams want people who can score.
  Sindarius Thornwell was definitely not NBA material when he was a sophomore. He stuck around, got better each year, and led Carolina to the Final Four as a senior. He was taken in the second round.
  I was hoping PJ would be next year’s Sindarius, but now he has to make the NBA as a free agent. I hope he does, but I have a feeling he’s going to be playing overseas next year. Maybe, he can learn to shoot there.
  The NBA “one and done” rule is ridiculous. How many college classes do you think these players attend?
  In baseball, if you don’t sign with MLB directly out of high school, you have to play college ball for three years. The NFL doesn’t draft high school players, and players have to be in school three years before being eligible.
  The NBA needs to do the same thing, then maybe players like PJ will not get sucked into false hopes.

MARK WHO?

  Many Carolina fans wanted a “big name” coach to replace Chad Holbrook.
  When Ray Tanner hired Mark Kingston from South Florida, some fans were disappointed and expressed their dismay on radio talk shows and internet forums.
  The Florida coach was the fan favorite, and some say he was a real possibility until the Gators had the nerve to win the national championship the other day. He spent many years in S.C. as an assistant at Clemson.
  Kingston certainly is not a “name,’ but many baseball pundits say he is a great coach and a great recruiter.
  It amazes me these critics calling in to the talk shows seem to think they know more about baseball than an athletic director who led Carolina to three straight national title series appearances.
  I trust Ray Tanner. He had to make a decision on Chad Holbrook that hurt him personally. He said Holbrook was the closest thing he had to a brother.
  Chad’s only problem was his in game decisions.
  Did you realize Carolina led the two teams that played for the National Championship late in the deciding game in both series, but lost them both.
  Those late inning collapses  plagued the team all year, and someone said a coach is judged by the way his team plays in the last two innings of a close game.
  Hopefully, the new Gamecock coach will lead the team to some late inning wins.

PRETTY NEAT

  Tracey Miller posted on Facebook a photo of the All-State chorus program from 1984.
  He circled his name from Saluda High, and in the second column he circled the name of a young man from Middleton High School named Darius Rucker!
  I think Darius had done pretty well and was worthy of the All-State chorus.
  Many of us have probably had contact in our youth with people who turned out to be famous. We may not even realize it.
  I guess the closest I came was Vicki Chesser.
  Vicki took journalism classes in the Coliseum, and while I didn’t have any classes with her, I’d pass her in the hall.
  Vicki was Miss S.C. USA, was second runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant (before Trump), and went on to make toothpaste commercials and marry Johnny Bench.
  I know many of you reading this are saying, “Who is Johnny Bench?”

MAX RUNAGER

  I was saddened to hear of the passing of legendary Carolina punter Max Runager.
  Max played 11 years in the NFL.
  Did you know Max was born here? Well, he was born in the hospital in Greenwood, like a lot us (including me), but his family lived in Saluda.
  His father was Bettis Herlong’s assistant football coach Geb Runager, who later moved his family to Orangeburg, when Herlong left Saluda.

DEVASTATION

  In life we know the deaths of loved ones and friends will eventually come, and the older you get the more you experience it.
  It’s never easy, but each sadness prepares you for the next.
  Nothing, however, prepares you for the death of your pastor.
  Few churchgoers, thankfully, have to go through what the members of Emory and Nazareth United Methodist Churches have gone through this week.
  Our pastor Paul Cheezem had an automobile accident in Columbia Tuesday and died Saturday. We had to have church Sunday. Life and churches go on.
  Paul was a wonderful preacher and a good friend to us all.
  He was born in Marion, the son of a country doctor, so he knew about living in a rural area.
  He would share some of those experiences on occasion.
 He told a couple of stories a few weeks ago that I really liked.
  When he was a little boy, he would walk home from school by a place he called a “haunted house.”
  One day three older boys jumped out from behind a tree and bullied him. This continued for several days.
  I can’t remember if Paul told his father or the father figured it out, but the next day when the boys jumped out from behind the tree they didn’t knock him down, they ran away!
  This happened the next day and the next, and finally the boys gave up and left little Paul alone.
  It was later that Paul found out his father got his oldest son, a big high school football player, to follow little Paul home. When the bullies jumped out from  behind the tree, they saw big brother and wanted nothing to do with him. The father was watching out for his son.
  One day Paul noticed the backyard gate was opened at the “haunted house” and he looked in to see a beautiful English garden.
  He had to walk in to get a closer look, and the elderly sisters who lived in the house saw him and gave him a tour of the garden and invited him into the house for milk in cookies. It was around the table that they shared Bible stories with him.
  They became an influence in his life.
  Paul influenced many in his ministry that took him around the state.
  Sunday was “moving day” in the S.C. United Methodist Church. We, at Emory and Nazareth, were happy Paul would not be moving this year, but he did move to a bigger and better place. He got to go to the biggest church at all.
  As worship leader, I was dreading church Sunday.
  Sheila Shealy and I had planned the service Thursday around the idea that we would use it to pray for Paul’s recovery. I picked an opening patriotic hymn, then selected “There’s Within my Heart a Melody” and “Victory in Jesus” as our other two hymns. I did not want any sad music.
  We normally have Communion  on first Sunday, but without a preacher that was out. Angie Rita found out we could have Communion if we got an ordained minister to bless the elements. The Rev. Burton Campbell graciously agreed to bless the bread and juice at Emmanuel Church Sunday morning.
  Again, all this was planned as a service to pray for Paul’s recovery, but Paul died Saturday afternoon and we had to go on.
  Carolyn Merchant played “Holy Ground” as the prelude Sunday morning.
  In the welcome, I said we were indeed standing in “holy ground” and we would make the service a celebration.
  We did.
  We here happy our Greenwood District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Love attended and agreed to lead the communion.
  At the end of the service, Angie got the congregation to come down to the altar, hold hands, and share memories of Paul.
  I shared that Paul was our first “high tech” pastor, and the first to read scriptures from an iPad.
  He often pointed out that I followed along with the Bible readings in church on my cell phone.
  He said preachers would often have shelves full of Bible variations. Today, all those translations can be found on one single app.
  Another member pointed out what a big Clemson fan Paul was. In tribute to him, many in the congregation wore orange. Even I wore a purple shirt and an orange and purple tie.
  Sheila ended the tributes with a prayer. By that time we all were in tears.
  But, we ended the service with “Victory in Jesus,” and the only tears associated with that song are tears of joy.
  And that’s the way Paul would have wanted it. He’s happy in Heaven and he wants us to be happy here on earth.
  I don’t know what is in store for Emory and Nazareth, but I know God ... and the South Carolina United Methodist Conference, will provide.
  Please remember Paul’s widow Doty, their family and Emory and Nazareth in your prayers.