This is it! The only ‘Game Day’ post you’ll get from me…

Kent Babb

I was pleased, in skimming through my Washington Post app this morning, to run across this profile of Steve Spurrier, to which the Post gave prominent play. Pleased not because I wanted to read about the coach, but because it was written by Kent Babb, one of the finest sportswriters to pass through The State‘s newsroom during my years at the paper.

It begins:

 August 27

 College football’s biggest troll, to use the parlance of our times, is 69 years old and doesn’t have a Twitter account, which is probably for the best. He likes to play golf in his downtime and, if it’s hot enough outside, will take off his shirt in public and stand barefoot on the grass under a floppy hat.

He is from east Tennessee, likes cheap beer and NASCAR, but maybe the only thing he enjoys more than football is sharing his opinions on football — its coaches, its issues, its current and future welfare. He thinks college players should be paid, and, well, here he comes, sitting in front of a microphone in a meeting room at Williams-Brice Stadium.

“The media boys picked us to win the East,” South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said of reporters’ Southeastern Conference predictions, and what the so-called “media boys” think — including that, before Thursday night’s opening game against Texas A&M, the Gamecocks are the nation’s ninth-best team — is meaningless but worth mentioning. Everything, to Spurrier, is worth mentioning. A good team gets Spurrier excited, and that means he talks more, trains his sights tighter on his preferred targets…

You should read on. I’m sure it’s good. Anyway, I Tweeted to Kent that it was great to have him back in town, and he responded:

Football-related festivities actually got rolling yesterday afternoon, near as I could tell. I had an afternoon meeting in the Vista with folks from Palmetto Health Foundation about Walk For Life (more on that very soon), and the “entertainment district,” as it is called these days, was crawling with Aggies already.

And already, traffic tempers were frayed. As I walked from Pearlz up to the Capital City Club, there was something of a jam at Assembly and Gervais. One guy in a gargantuan pickup truck with no fewer than four Gamecock flags flapping from the roof was in the left-turn lane, southbound on Assembly, and incessantly honking at the poor woman in a sedan in front of him. She had nowhere to go, because the Gervais traffic to her left was backed up into the intersection, and still the folks northbound on Assembly were trying to flow into it.

But this bundle of hostility just kept honking, until the woman pulled over toward where she wanted to go and waited with her rear end out in the intersection. And the truck guy pulled up a few feet and sat there right where the woman had sat, of course, because there never had been anywhere for him to go.

What gets into these people? Steroids? What?

Anyway, I rode up to the club for our monthly chairman’s reception, and on the elevator with me was a little girl in a Gamecock cheerleader costume, holding a stuffed animal (a snow leopard, I think). Then I remembered — Cocky was coming to the reception. A good time was had by all, even those of us who are less than enthusiastic about the hoopla.

Early this afternoon, I found myself in Shandon, and on my way back to the office, I kept passing people who were loading up their cars, like evacuees. I kept thinking, better them than me.

Although, you know who I’m really feeling bad for today? A couple of days ago I got an email promotion from Rosewood Market & Deli, the locally-grown natural food store hanging on within the orbit of Earth Fare and Whole Foods, announcing the following:

Sidewalk Farmers’ Market
Thursday Aug 28
at Rosewood Market

I’m kind of thinking that’s going to run into some traffic problems. Hope I’m wrong.

Speaking of which, I’m going to pack up my laptop and get out of the downtown area.

One of my daughters is there tailgating with friends now. I hope she’s drinking plenty of water. She said she would…Cocky

15 thoughts on “This is it! The only ‘Game Day’ post you’ll get from me…

  1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

    I do not understand it all. I can hear and see the band for free from the walkway over their practice field by Bates West.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I think it’s a character flaw with me. I look around, and see the communal excitement, the shared thing among my neighbors, and I think the problem is me…

  2. Doug Ross

    But I bet you like the hospitality tax dollars that football generates to keep arts programs afloat (because they wouldn’t survive if they had to attract a crowd on their own).

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I bear the brunt of the idiocy. Flag-bearing vehicles with no sense of rules of the road, beer-bearing students with no sense of public decency….I switched my subscription to The State to electronic only after basically pitching all of Sunday’s paper except the Sudoku. Can’t they enjoy their sport without turning into a bunch of overfunded toddlers?

      1. Doug Ross

        One other point – if you support collegiate athletic programs for women, you better support the football team. Women’s sports teams (and many of the other men’s teams) would not exist without the revenue generated by the football and baseball teams.

        1. Doug Ross

          Here’s some numbers from Penn State on how Football and Men’s Basketball cover the costs of the other sports programs:

          Penn State University Revenue Expense Profit
          Football $70,208,584.00 $19,780,939.00 $50,427,645.00
          Men’s Basketball $8,384,315.00 $4,147,124.00 $4,237,191.00
          Women’s Basketball $827,499.00 $3,181,099.00 -$2,353,600.00
          Other Sports – Men’s (13)(478) $3,820,427.00 $8,209,238.00 -$4,388,811.00
          Other Sports – Women’s (12)(351) $4,867,444.00 $9,729,303.00 -$4,861,859.00

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Which is all — kinda weird. I may be a libertarian on the whole underwriting collegiate sports thing. If the market supports it, fine. But it’s weird to spend a bunch of money — wherever it came from — boosting a sport that doesn’t have a natural following.

          On the OTHER hand, the market has allowed college football to grow into a monster that is out of control, because the marketplace just totally lacks perspective. So on that, I’m no fan of the market. The market has kind of lost its marbles when it comes to college football.

          Put those things together, and you have sports that probably would go away without an outside injection of cash being propped up by a situation that’s even crazier.

          I can’t say any of it makes much sense to me.

          1. Doug Ross

            Do you think The State could survive right now without the Gamecocks being the only game in town? Maybe twenty years ago… but now that’s all they have left.

            1. Doug Ross

              Those profits went somewhere else… they didn’t disappear into thin air. It’s a business model that has no long term viability.

  3. Brad Warthen

    Having seen the score, I offer my condolences to all my friends and neighbors who had looked forward to the day with such lively anticipation. I hate to see that happen…


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