It Could Be Worse, but It Could Be Better

Setzler Field Newberry College (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, April 1, 2018, 4:48 p.m.

By Monte Dutton

On Saturday morning, I left a couple small crises behind me as I drove down U.S. 76 to Newberry College, there to join my friends Brent and Sharon Sanders to watch their daughter, Hailey, play women’s lacrosse for Tusculum College against the Wolves.

This was my second women’s lacrosse game. In the visiting grandstands of Setzler Field, I felt a bit like Andy Griffith, who, early in his grand career, cut a record entitled “What It Was, Was Football.”

What It Was, Was Lacrosse.

The Pioneers won, 20-12. Hailey, a defender, scored one of the points and played, as best I could tell, a smashing game, or match, or, uh, round.

I wore the only orange shirt in my wardrobe. I hoped it would help me fit in.

From left, Brent, Hailey, Sharon, me. (Facebook)

Brent and I make good companions, particularly at football games, where we have similar amounts of sense. I didn’t take my camera. For a day, I wasn’t about that life. I didn’t take pictures. My picture was taken. I had my phone, the better to keep up with small crises from afar.

The photo of Setzler Field above this blog was one I took a while back when in the area. It hasn’t changed much since I played at it. That was in 1975. Only the turf has been changed to protect the innocent.

I like the drive to Newberry. There’s a flimsy fence stretched out in front of what used to be the post office in Kinards. I’m always tempted to stop at Wise’s B-B-Que, but instead I had a peanut butter shake from the Zesto near the stadium. I don’t have shakes often. I picked the right one.

What better way to return to normality on my return to the Pleasantville limits than to go to Dollar Tree, where I felt like I had won the lottery by finding a new carabiner clip for my phone holster. The one from the factory had broken somewhere between Clinton and Newberry.

(Steven Novak cover)

The coming week holds promise. I’ve got a lot to do but should have a lot of time. It’s Spring Break in the local high schools, so the typical crowded sports schedule is nonexistent. By the time the ballgames resume, it will be warm and pleasant, and the rest of the spring should be mainly a matter of avoiding thunderstorms.

(Steven Novak cover)

The new novel, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, has been accepted for publication, and, amazing me as it always does, is already available in paperback at Amazon. The Kindle version will be available in a few days. Also fresh on the market is the brand-new audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) release of Lightning in a Bottle, brilliantly narrated by Jay Harper. Jay is on board to narrate the second Barrie Jarman Adventure, Life Gets Complicated, but there’s no hurry on that. Maybe the stock car racing stretch drive in the fall.

Fenway Park, 2007. (Monte Dutton photo)

Baseball is underway, and it’s so far, so good for the Boston Red Sox, whom I worship. The pitch was great, the hitting unspectacular, but the Sox managed to win three out of four in St. Petersburg, losing the season opener 6-4 when erratic fireballer Joe Kelly squandered a 4-0 lead. Boston then edged the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0, 3-2 and 2-1. Now it’s two games in Miami before the Fenway opener on Thursday, once again, against the Rays.

Kelly, by the way, managed to earn a save in the series finale, though he allowed two two-out hits before striking out Denard Span to end the game.

I just started a novel on baseball. I hope to get out to some minor-league games, in addition to the several high school games I see every week. I’ll be looking for items that will provide inspiration for the book.

It’s spring break at the high schools this week. I’m going to try to catch North Carolina A&T at Presbyterian on Wednesday. The Blue Hose, Clinton, Laurens and Laurens Academy all have losing records thus far. Three of them didn’t last year.

But … it’s still, uh, relatively early.

(Gabe Whisnant photo)

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Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which are available for sale here.


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