BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – When I get out of Laurens County, I’m like a bucking horse let loose from his stall.
A little less angry, of course. Maybe more like a terrapin making it successfully across a road.
Caleb Gilbert, a senior at the University of South Carolina, a budding journalist and my valued associate, wanted to experience life on the road. An earlier try, to Asheville, N.C., got “covidized” or “covidated,” something, so because Presbyterian was visiting for basketball and it’s scheduled to play a football game on the unlikeliest of dates here, that being March 6, a date normally associated with spring training in the Grapefruit League or some such, we opted to familiarize ourselves with the surroundings.
It wasn’t a bad slice of sportswriter life. Gardner-Webb won the first men’s basketball game because it wasn’t quite as bad as Presbyterian. The latter was much better played, by the Bulldogs, anyway. Glitches kept us from filing in an expeditious manner from the Shelby motel. The brilliant way I managed finally to file was a process in which I tried every way I knew to achieve connectivity. Nothing I tried worked, but eventually the web gods got in a better mood. As a result, getting up, at ’em and out by checkout time was grueling, and then came time to kill that was spent at the Golden Corral, the outlet mall, the Gaffney Peachoid – I’ve never liked that name, but now, since it’s located on Peachoid Road, what’s a man to do? Why, take some goofy pictures and a video, of course – and Starbucks because neither of us could possibly drink too much coffee.
I would really like to watch a game at Paul Porter Arena with a crowd on hand. I counted 20 in the balconies. Of course, I would also enjoy attendance – yes, Virginia, once upon a time, people known as fans attended games – at Templeton Center.
In these trying times, a man takes what he can get. Bad basketball in solitude is better than no basketball at all.
If a man is going to see bad basketball without people watching, he might as well take the time to stand in front of a giant peach.