Tidbits -November 21 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



WASHED OUT

  I began covering Saluda High football games for this newspaper in 1977, and I have documented before that in those 42 years and 43 seasons, I have missed only two games.
  I had also mentioned how blessed I was, as I had only gotten wet at one away game in all those years, and that was during a brief shower at Crescent years ago. (It has rained on quite a few home games, but I’m in the pressbox.)
  Then came November 23, 2018, at Southside Christian in Simpsonville. With temperatures in the mid-30’s and a steady rain, I wrote last year it was the most miserable night of my life.
  To add insult to injury, I tripped over my poncho and fell as I walked to the truck after the game.
  Why am I bringing this up?
  Saluda was playing at Buford in Lancaster last Friday and the forecast was for possible rain and temperatures in the low 40’s.
  Here we go again? No! Southside Christian last year taught me much.
  I might get wet, but I was not going to get cold.
  Multiple socks, thermal underwear, flannel pants and lined boots took care of the lower half. The top had thermal shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweater, hoodie, baseball jacket, football jacket, gloves, and ear muffs.
  The baseball and football jackets were two of the best investments I ever made. They were sold at the “yard sale” of old SHS athletic items before the spring game a few years ago.
  The football jacket still had the tag on it and was made to go over shoulder pads. Because it is so big, I can  put many clothing items underneath.
  The two jackets cost a combined fortune of $15. I have really gotten my money’s worth.
    Last year, at Southside Christian, I covered my outfit with my plastic, purple poncho.
  I kept my stats clipboard on my lap and looked down through the face opening in the poncho to write down the plays. I had to rely on Wayne
Grice to let me know what was happening.
  I could not go through that poncho nightmare again.
  After getting the paper printed Tuesday. I saw one of those reverse umbrellas at Ollie’s, the kind that the bottom of the umbrella points up.
  I’d always been curious to see how these worked, so I bought one.
  I was hoping ... and praying it wouldn’t rain during game. A weather app said it would not rain from eight until ten in Lancaster. That app was wrong.
  We got to the field over an hour before the game, and sat in Wayne’s truck until 7 p.m.
  We were tempted to remain in the truck and watch the game on SaludaNow, but decided driving over two hours and sitting in the truck wouldn’t cut it.
  Buford has artificial turf on it’s field, so the rain had little effect on playing conditions.
  There’s no artificial turf on the stadium seats, and I knew once I found my spot to sit, and placed my stadium cushion, I could never stand up until the game was over. Sitting on a wet stadium seat is not pleasant.
  I held my umbrella the entire game, and was able to keep my stat sheets from getting wet, and, even though it was 41 degrees, I did not get cold!
  When I got home from the game and started removing layers, my thermal undershirt was wet, and not from rain. I was sweating!
  And, unlike Saluda’s loss at Southside Christian last year, the Tigers won 55-22 in this rain event.
  I still prefer warm and dry, however.
  By the way, I started getting a sore throat Saturday afternoon, and I’ve been drinking Alka Seltzer Cold every since. I am paying for sitting three hours in the rain.

NOVEMBER 22

  When I realized Saluda would play Southside Christian on November 22, the historical and football memories began to flow.
  On November 22, 1963, Saluda was to play Lakeview for the Class A Lower State Championship in Camden.
  In class that afternoon, we heard talking in the halls of the Annex. Mrs. Sligh, our teacher, stepped into the hall.
  When she came back into the room all the color had left her face, and she told us President Kennedy had been shot.
  There as no mass communication back then, so the high school games were not cancelled.
  There was also no I-20, so the only way to get to Camden was through downtown Columbia. For the first and only time in my life, I saw extra editions of a newspaper being sold.
  A paperboy stood in the middle Gervais Street selling Columbia Records and every driver bought one.
  Saluda won 32-26 and would go on the win the state championship the next week.
  That day was an excellent example of that overused word “surreal.”  While we were thrilled out team won the Lower State championship, the celebration was short-lived because our young president was dead.
  It’s been 56 years, but I believe this is the first time Saluda High has had a play-off game on the anniversary of the assassination. All of us who were around in 1963 will certainly remember that day.

GOOD AND BAD

 If you are a Saluda and Gamecock fan, you say, “Thank goodness for Saluda!”
  If you are a Clemson and Saluda fan, you say, “How about both them Tigers?!!!”
 Saturday, I reached an ultimate low as a Gamecock fan. Not only did I not watch the Texas A&M game, I didn’t even record it.
 I got notifications of the halftime and final score.
  In the last two games, Carolina has rushed for a combined 50. Saluda, a passing team, rushed for 387 yards Friday a Buford.
  After watching Clemson beat a 7-2 Wake Forest team 52-3 Saturday, I wondered if the Tigers could hit 100 against the Gamecocks.
  I believe they can do it, if the first team stays in.
  I will not be watching that record breaking performance.
  I WILL be watching Saluda at Southside Christian game Friday in Simpsonville. This is going to be a great one.
  If you weren’t at the Saluda-Buford game or didn’t watch the game on SaludaNow, you probably thought Saluda had it easy with the 55-22 win.
  It was anything but easy. Buford has an excellent team, but the Yellow Jackets committed six turnovers.
  It reminded me of the Saluda-Abbeville. Then final score did not tell the tale in that one either.
  Good luck Friday night, Tigers!

VERDA

  I was saddened at the passing of Verda Potts last week.
  Verda had bravely battled cancer for several years, but she never stopped supporting community activities.
  A beloved retired teacher, she was a big booster of the Saluda County Library.
  She followed the family tradition of community service. Her sister Amelia Herlong is Saluda’s Mayor, her late sister Jeanette Shealy was a former school board member, her father Candler Matthews was on the S.C. Highway Commission, and Saluda High’s Mathews Field is named for her grandfather, T.B. Mathews.
  She was also one of my many Grigsby-family cousins, who could fill me in on great-aunts and uncles I never met.
  Verda will be greatly missed.