Tidbits - October 15, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


WHAT IT IS...
  I really did not know what to expect when Saluda played Gray Collegiate Academy Friday.
  I knew Gray was highly ranked, liked the Tigers, and I knew they have a big advantage over public schools. As a charter school, Gray can recruit, and from what we saw Friday, they recruit well.
  On its Facebook page, Gray Collegiate Academy says it is a tuition-free public charter high school located in West Columbia, South Carolina, focused on dual enrollment and elite athletics.
  Saluda and GCA were in the same conference in 2016-17. In 2016, Saluda won 55-18, and went on to advance to the Upperstate Championship game. Saluda returned to the Upperstate the following year, but struggled to beat Gray 17-14. You can see by the scores the progress Gray made from one year to the next against a team that finished 12-2 both years.
  The current War Eagle quarterback Tre Robinson led B&L to a come from behind win over Saluda last year. He’s even better this year. He also has a running back, KZ Adams, who was unstoppable, and both get support from an offensive line whose average weight is 293 lbs. Carolina’s line average is 311.
  I thought the young Saluda team played pretty well against a more seasoned bunch. A penalty on fourth and one, and a fourth down stop by Gray at the one foot line may have cost Saluda 14 points. Both would have given Saluda the lead, and who knows what might have happened.
  As I  said about another academy, Southside Christian, after the Tigers lost 16-13 in the regular season last year, “I hope we meet them again in the play-offs.”
  We did meet again, and Saluda won 56-42 in the third round.
  This year, the Tigers will have to win out in the Region to have a shot at a rematch, since only two teams will go to the playoffs. Last year, Saluda was a third place finisher in the conference.
  Gray Collegiate has dominated 2A boys  basketball the last two years, and is excellent in all sports.
  Is it fair they can recruit and their opponents cannot, and their recruits can play immediately, but the transfers in public schools cannot?
  The high school league passed a rule that athletes transferring to charter schools have to sit out a year, just like it happens in public schools, but the charter schools sued the high school league and the rule change is currently in limbo.
  Most football minds believe this year’s state champion will either be Abbeville, or someone from Saluda’s conference, COVID allowing. Is Gray on the verge of an Abbeville-type dynasty?
  With most of the team coming back, Saluda should be very good next year. Gray? Robinson and Adams return, as do three of five offensive lineman. I’m sure they’ll find 300-lb. replacements!
  If a positive thing can come out of a loss, it is a statement in The State paper that said Gray’s win over Saluda may be the biggest in school history.
  You know you’ve made it when beating you creates milestones.


THIS YEAR
  Maybe because it is 2020, but is seems an inordinate number of legendary performers, musicians and athletes have died this year.
  In a matter of just a few weeks, three of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford, have passed away.
  Gibson and Ford pitched in my growing up days. Back then, there were two baseball games televised each week, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. That’s all folks.
  Only the best teams were shown, so that means Gibson’s St. Louis Cardinals and Ford’s New York Yankees were featured a lot.
  Gibson was one of the most dominating pitchers ever. One year he had a 1.12 ERA and pitched 13 shutouts.
  Ford, a lefty, was more of a finesse pitcher than a fireballer.
  Until the Braves came to Atlanta, the Yankees were my team and Whitey was one of my heroes, along with Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra,  Bobby Richardson, Roger Maris, Tony Kubek, Elston Howard, Moose Skowron, Clete Boyer, etc. I  can’t remember what I did yesterday, but I can still name the starting line-up of the 1961 Yankees.
  Thanks  Whitey, Bob and Tom for the great memories.


SADDENED
  I was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Elaine Belangia. Elaine taught for many years at Riverside Middle School, while her husband Wash was as United Methodist minister at two Saluda County charges, including my Emory-Nazareth.
  She was a great lady, who was active in the churches and community while she lived in Saluda. Both of her children, Webb and Kelli, followed their father into the ministry.
  Loretta Doyal was always full of life. She was one of our Tuesday afternoon paper buying regulars, and she always gave me a 50 cent tip! Nearly 50 years in this business, and Retta was the only person to give me a tip.
  I always looked forward to seeing her, and it wasn’t because of that  tip, I promise!
  Her aunt, Lucille Gibson, wrote the Hollywood News for this paper for many years. Retta and her husband Pat worked many years overseas, and Mrs. Lucille kept all the readers up with their adventures.
  Loretta will be greatly missed.
  We saw Kayla Smith regularly when she worked for the Judge of Probate’s office, then we heard the terrible news a brain tumor had been discovered in her four-year-old daughter Caylie. Soon Kayla, Scott. Caylie and their other daughter packed up and moved to Memphis, where Caylie could be treated at St. Jude’s Children’s hospital.
  Those of us who are Facebook friends with Kayla kept up with what Caylie and the family were going through.
  Last week, the family got the horrible news that the cancer had spread, and there was nothing more the doctors could do.
  The family arrived home Saturday, greeted by family and friends on Main Street.
  Caylie is no longer in the doctors’ care. She in the continued care of God. Please pray for her and her family.