Archive for November, 2007

Writing the right script

November 29, 2007

From Friday’s Dispatch…

If this were Hollywood, we’d be living a sequel to what happened last year.
Southern Vance’s run to last year’s state championship game was almost Rocky-like, with the plucky challenger rising out of nowhere to take on the powerful champion.
Of course, in the original Rocky, the challenger fights well but goes home without the belt.
As we know, there was a sequel. In Rocky II, Balboa gets a second shot and wins.
So here we are.
The parallel isn’t exact. This isn’t the championship, and a shot at the titleholder will have to be earned tonight against a team with the same pedigree as Shelby.
Reidsville has won 15 titles while playing for 20 more since 1930. That’s roughly one appearance every four years while Southern Vance is looking for title game berth No. 2.
The run-up is the same as it was for last year’s championship game. All you have to do is log on to and read the banter flying about.
“Southern Vance has no chance,” they say. “The Rams will blow them away,” it reads.
Drew Pasteur, author of the Fantastic 50, and the Massey computer both have the Rams as heavy favorites.
Look high and low, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Southern Vance should waste the gas money by taking the buses up there.
Well, this shouldn’t be hard to find.
I like Southern Vance to win tonight.
I’ll take my chances backing one of the state’s best quarterbacks in Jamere Pugh, all-conference locks David Person, Jeremy Davis, O’Darren Gill – not to mention that standout offensive line.
I doubt Reidsville can prepare for the speed and athleticism the Raiders bring on defense, just by watching a little tape. Shelton Gill has been amazing. If he plays at the same level he did against Northwood, he may turn the game by himself.
The Rams offense is great, but can it be it that much better than the ones at Hillside, Northwood or Webb?
They’ve been blowing people away, resting their starters in the second half. I say it makes them unready for a close game, something they haven’t had since September.
The last, and only, trip to Community Stadium came in Pugh’s freshman season and ending in a 50-7 romp for the home side. That was 2004, a very different time for both schools.
This is now. Another chance for a Hoosiers-like ending for the team from Henderson that no one who hasn’t seen it firsthand thinks much of.
I always like the scene in that movie right before the tiny school takes the floor in the championship game. The preacher stands up and reads scripture:
“And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead.”
The stage is set. The cast is in place.
Just make sure to bring the rocks.


Shocking the world

November 8, 2007

I watched it, but I don’t believe it.

Gardner-Webb, my alma mater, went on the road tonight to play Kentucky as a 25.5-point underdog. I sat down in my recliner and flipped on ESPNU hoping that my Runnin’ Bulldogs would play hard and keep it close.

“Anything but a blowout,” I said to myself.

Guess I’ll have to settle for the 16-point win.

This is a big deal for a team that was playing in Division II ball eight years ago. A school with 5,000 (and that’s probably stretching it) students taking on one of the most storied programs in NCAA history – and totally dominating them?


This was no fluke. This wasn’t an unbelievable three-point shooting night or some one-in-a-million pot shot. This was a disciplined, prepared basketball team flat whipping a bunch of kids that had their minds someplace else.

Again, I don’t believe it.

But it sure is fun.


November 1, 2007

You know, war’s never been real to me. I’ve studied them, read about them and seen them on TV. I’ve got buddies who’ve served their countries in places I can’t pronounce. But I’ve never had someone I know die thousands of miles away.

Until now.

James David Bullard was a man I barely knew. He was a friend of friends – someone I’d never said 10 words to. But we went to school together. And now he’s gone.

And it bothers me. Nobody deserves this.

My son is the most precious thing in my world. And he’s in the other room sleeping right now. Hayden didn’t get to meet his dad. His dad never came home from a place that most of us don’t think about anymore. And his mom has to pick up the pieces.

And it breaks my heart.

It’s been years since 9-11, but Americans are still dying. Brave souls who leave their families to go halfway across the world to fight for me so I can write stories about kids playing games.

I fussed at my wife for talking about it today, but I think it was guilt.

There are things in my life that I don’t like. My boy suffers from autism, and I’ve cried over that. But he’s here. His mom’s here. And so am I.

I wasn’t called to fight and die in a place God as we know him doesn’t exist. All I have is the ability to write in complete, mostly grammatically correct sentences. But I can, and I will, stop to say two things:

Thank you and God bless you.

Live now. Tomorrow may not come.

Rest in peace, David…