Tidbits - May 14, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEAY

ANOTHER NEW ONE


  Last week,  because of the pandemic, I attended my first outdoor state championship ring presentation ceremony.
  Actually, it’s the first state championship ring ceremony of any kind and place I’ve attended, unless you count a football game this year when SHS track stars Kalisha Hill, Jervon Witt and Dallan  Wright were presented state championship rings for winning their event in the state track meet. That presentation was outside, too, but the circumstances were so different.
  The Saluda High administration and coaching staff made sure the important ceremony went off without a hitch or COVID-19 infraction.
  Rings, jerseys and awards were laid out on tables in advance, so there was no hand to hand contact between coaches and athletes. Athletes picked up their own material.
  Only players, their families and the press could attend, and players, cheerleaders and trainers had to remain in the cars until their names were called.
  The most amusing part of the program was applause was replaced by honking horns, and that was totally spontaneous. No one was told to blow their horns, at first. Later,it was encouraged!
  Despite the unusual setup, the ceremony brought back the great accomplishments of these players and coaches. They ended Abbeville’s streak of four straight state championships, but let’s not forget Abbeville played Saluda three times in the Upperstate Championship game during that streak. This to point out Saluda making it to the state championship after their four Upperstate title games in five years, should not be a complete surprise. The Tigers have been good for five straight years.
  When the talk of championship rings began, a ring for the general public was offered. Since my sister Dibbie was inducted into the District Hall of Fame at a game during the championship football season, she wanted a ring to commemorate both milestones, and she decided to give me one for my birthday.
  We got our rings the same day as the football team. My ring is big and beautiful, with a purple stone. The player and coaches’ rings are even bigger, with a Block S, surrounded by “diamonds.” It looks like a Super Bowl ring. The females got a pendant, which featured the top of the ring.
  The state championship observance came to an official end with the ring ceremony, but we will certainly go on remembering the 2019 Tigers.
  I found out about another Saluda connected champion Saturday.
  Since he graduated from Clemson over the weekend, Alex Aull’s big secret could be announced. He was the Clemson Tiger!
  Alex is a tall, muscular young man. He’d have to be strong to do all those push-ups.
  When he was senior at Saluda High, Alex was the student body president. One of his responsibilities was to deliver the invocation at every home football game.
  As a good leader, he also took part in dressing up for the student section theme at each game.
  One game he came into the press box as Batman. On another occasion, he was painted purple with “SALU” painted in white across his chest.
  The best outfit came on Hawaiian night. Alex entered the press box wearing a hula skirt, coconut bra, lei and straw hat.
  Am I surprise Alex would dress in a Tiger outfit? Not in he least!  I hope he got a ring, too!