Dabo/Nick… George 2019… and
I promised you a Dabo/Nick column so here it is.
It’s been two weeks since Dabo VS Nick 2019. If you are not a rabid Clemson fan… or a rabid Alabama fan… or maybe a very jealous Gamecock fan; has your life markedly changed as a result of the outcome? Forget “markedly”… has your life changed even one iota? … I didn’t think so. So much for the impact of “a Big Game” in the grand scheme of things.
I’m always reminded of My World the day after UNC / Georgetown 1982… “Michael’s jumper…”. I was single, living in Dallas at the height of “JR Mania”. I watched The Game alone in my “single guy in Dallas apartment”. Went in to work the next day still excited over the thrilling outcome. Not one of my co-workers had watched The Game… knew the outcome… or cared who won… sigh. So much for “But But But It Was A Big Game”.
Is Dabo (Swinney, not Sweeney) the new King of College Football? Is Nick to be tossed on the trash heap of “used-to-be”? If Trevor Lawrence had slammed his hand in a car door several weeks before The Game, would Nick still be King and “Dabo” just a goofy guy with a goofy name?
Under the new trend du jour… a Juggernaut’s back-up QB is “a Nathan Elliott” at best. A Jalen Hurt coming in to “save the day” will be rarer than an AfAm placekicker.
College athletes are like geese flying in formation… they just follow the goose in front of them. If you are a 4 or 5-star QB and not starting you’re gonna TRANSFER ’cause thats what everyone else does… from now on.
IMO… Nick’s significant staff turn-over is a major factor in his current plight. The price of success. Can he … will he… rebuild a strong staff and keep it intact? Is Nick at a point in his life/career where he wants to / needs to devote the time/energy to do that?
At Nick’s level 2 Ls is too many. Will his own tribe turn on him… What have you done for us lately, Nick?
America’s sports fans LOVE TO… (1A) put coaches / players atop pedestals… and (1B) knock coaches/players off of the pedestals they put them atop.
America has a Love/Hate relationship with “success”… sigh.
Can Dabo keep paying the mega-bucks to keep his staff intact? Can Dabo keep adding new thrill rides to Six Flags Over Death Valley to keep the 5-stars coming?
I suppose I could comment on the Clemson White House Visit… the fast food feast…. et al. BUT if I do... I’m going to violate my best intentions to keep politics off of this page. The oh-so-predictable knee-jerk firestorm over the hamburgers did reinforce my conviction that I have nothing in common with “those people” but a pair of opposable thumbs. … moving right along.
One last thought on college football… locally. I have no clue how successful “Mack 2.0” will be at UNC… BUT hated rival fans who think he is “an old has-been drooling his oatmeal and forgetting where he put his car keys” are quite mistaken. IF (1) his staff can recruit and (2) if he can concentrate on being “a CEO” not a hands-on coach… he will surprise “hated rivals” as well as doubters in his own fanbase.
George Whitfield sees “80” in his rear view mirror. He was (maybe still “is”) the winningest high school baseball coach in the history of NC high school baseball. I’ve known George for 90% of my life on this planet. He is “a genuine original character” as are several others of his era and “ilk” that I am privileged to know.
I had boycotted George’s shindig for several years due to the uncomfortableness of the wooden seats in the Goldsboro High School auditorium. So, George moved it to Wayne County Community College… a QUANTUM logistical improvement for the event.
The spiffy new environs have NOT diminished the “cornier than Kansas in August” essence of the event… Thank Goodness.
As George reminds attendees each year… selection to The George Whitfield Hall of Fame is a very UNcomplicated process. George IS the selection committee.
The # of inductees each year is determined by how many gianormous plaques George wants to buy. This year he bought 25+. A GWHoF plaque is sooo big if you screwed legs on it, you’d have a laser- engraved dining room table..
An Inductee in the GWHoF is any individual who achieved anything connected to sports in NC that George deems worthy. Some are nationally famous… some have state-wide fame… some are simply “hometown heroes”. It’s a “good thing”.
One of this year’s inductees was former NC State Football Assistant Coach Joe Pate. Of the 300+ attendees in that auditorium, I think I was the only one who knew Joe’s #1 Claim To Everlasting Fame…
In the interim between Mike O’Cain’s departure and Chuck Amato’s arrival… it was Joe Pate that kept in touch with a recruit down in Athens Alabama.
Without Joe Pate, it is doubtful that NC State woulda have ever known #17 PHILIP RIVERS.
Annual attendees know George introduces his new inductees alphabetically. This year, at the 90-minute mark, I turned to a “renown” friend and muttered “…. he’s only on the K’s ! Aaaiiieeee” Fortunately this year’s bunch was A-L-centric so we were done by two-hours.
Oh… three different people came up to me in the (Wilber’s) barbecue queue… “Are you BobLee?” … “Yes”, I replied as I gauged whether I could fend off a frontal assault. … “I just wanted to say how much I love your “Chancellor Chihuahua” name for UNC’s Chancellor.” (NOTE: This was before last week’s UNC brouhaha). … “Thank you” I replied “I was divinely inspired.”
Have I mentioned I rode down to Goldsboro with THE Bob Kennel. TBK observed our strict “No Politics At All” policy. I could tell you about TBK making a wrong turn on the Hwy 70/117 Bypass and going 10 miles towards Mount Olive before I “suggested” he turn around… but I knew it would make great column fodder so I let him keep going.
Yes, The GWHoF is corny. Yes, it is hokey. Yes, certain aspects of it are delightfully “goofy”.
In an out-of-control world rapidly going insane… events like The George Whitfield Hall of Fame are Treasures that “we” must hold onto for all we are worth.
I hope you have a similar event in your area. If not, I bet George would be glad to help you organize one. I’d give you George’s e-address… but he doesn’t have one.
I was planning on discussing the Demise of Legendary NC Barbecue… but I’ve run out of time / space. Next time? No, I haven’t forgotten my column on It Is Finally Soccer Time In America.
Yes, I did watch the two NFL games yesterday. The No Call on the obvious Pass Interference was AWFUL. Yes, I knew, and so did you, that Tom Brady would Do What Tom Brady Does…
If you didn’t have a “my team” in those two games, and I didn’t… they were as fine a “sports entertainment” as you’ll get over six hours. No, they weren’t Game 6 of 2011 World Series but nothing will equalTHAT… IMO.
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