Tidbits - August 6, 2020

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

THE YEAR OF ‘NOs’

  Never in our history, not even in World Wars, have we heard the word “no” so much.

  Sports have always been our release in bad times, but this year “no” has come to sports, as well, particularly football.

  No Carolina-Clemson, no Saluda-Thurmond, no Shrine Bowl.

  I was surprised by the SEC’s decision to go with a ten conference game schedule only. I figured the conference would follow the ACC’s lead and have ten conference games, plus one extra. This would allow the ACC-SEC rivalry games, Carolina-Clemson, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State and Kentucky-Louisville, to continue.

  Honestly, I thought the SEC would say “damn the torpedoes,” and allow their teams to play the schedules as planned. Instead the SEC was more cautious than any of the other Power 5 leagues, starting a week or two later than the others.

  Maybe, it will work, but playing a brutal conference game ever week is going to be a challenge for all the Power 5. Teams need a few cupcakes, but the cupcakes got burned this year.

  Discussion has already begun by some Gamecocks fans on the whether Will Muschamp should keep his job if the Gamecocks have another bad season.

  Personally, I think no coach on any level should lose their jobs during the pandemic. This season will be far from normal. What if a star quarterback gets COVID-19? Do you blame the coach?

Carolina and Clemson have played for 111 straight years. 

As a Gamecock fan,  I will not miss seeing Trevor Lawrence passing the ball up and down and field, and I will not miss the jabs from Tiger fans.

  I will miss the tradition, however. 

  I’ve seen every Strom Thurmond-Saluda game, since the series began in 1961. There was a four season span, from 2004-2007, that the teams did not play. The series resumed in 2008 and has continued since.

  The Rebels schedule allowed two non-conference games this season, and they did not choose to play the Tigers.

  In 2003, when the teams knew the series was ending, Saluda pulled a 27-26 upset, and Coach Harvey Livingston’s Tigers went on to win the Region championship and advance three rounds in the play-offs.

  Last year, in the first game of the season, the Tigers pulled off a miracle, two-day, win over Thurmond at the Rebel Field. That game showed the Tiger players they could accomplish anything, and what did they accomplish? Oh, a State Championship, that’s all.

  I haven’t seen Saluda’s schedule. Batesburg-Leesville and the Tigers are in the same conference, but three old rivals Mid-Carolina, Ninety-Six and Ridge Spring-Monetta are not. There may be other “no” rivalry games.

  This will be a season to remember. My hope is that there will be a season, period.

SAD YEAR

  This has really been a sad year. The pandemic and social unrest, are coupled with the deaths of so many good people.

  Jerry Jones called me a few weeks ago. He wanted to renew his paper and was having a hard time catching me at the office. I explained our pandemic schedule and he said he would just mail his renewal. I enjoyed our chat.

  Not long after that, his family posted on Facebook he was in the hospital with COVID-19, fighting for his life. Sadly, they relayed a few days later, he had lost his battle.

  Those who knew this good man were shocked and deeply saddened.  

  I always enjoyed seeing Alfred Connelly, whether it was at Nazareth Church, in a local store, or in the office, when he came to advertise his famous blueberries for sale.

  He and Mrs. Dora Helen were a great couple. 

  Mr. Alfred was as good as it gets.

  My sympathy to the Jones and Connelly families.

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