Over 50 years and not one fist fight. Not even one F-bomb. A roomful of over 300 mixed partisans of assorted sports allegiances and not one pair of beady eyes glared back at me…. not one set of clenched teeth. I’d like to say it was me what created such a harmonious environment but I was merely a beneficiary of this den of anachronistic civility. BobLee and The Raleigh Sports Club…. a synergy like blackstrap molasses on a warm biscuit……
Make no mistake, they “care” who wins. They keep score and they have long memories…. VERY long memories. I used a Peahead Walker reference and did not have to explain who he was. My story about Lou Bello did not require subtitles.
OK, if I had mentioned “hashtags” or “retweet” or “unique views” I might have gotten a few quizzed looks. But since I’m not sure what a “hashtag” is either, that was not a concern.
During one of the many waits for their laughter to subside I thought of a special gentleman down in Beaumont Texas. A fella many of you only know here as “CNR”. Coach….. these were “our kinda folks” for sure. This was The Raleigh Sports Club – The Jurassic Park of Sports Fans. Actually Jurassic Park is too violent an image….. it was more like visiting Williamsburg or Plimouth Plantation. How sports fans behaved in a bygone era…… It was very nice.
The Raleigh Sports Club is over 50 years old. I had visited the club back in the 70s when it met at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium…. and in the late 80s when it met at Ballentine’s Cafeteria…. and now the 300+ convene in the fellowship hall of Highland United Methodist Church…. and open each meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance AND “a blessing” (Kiss our grits ACLU!)….. and a down home buffet of butter beans, turnip greens, meat loaf and three choices of pie.
Yes, the average age of the assembled was up-there. If I had said “Bones” they woulda thought of Horace McKinney…. not that TV show with the decomposed bodies. But, since I’m getting up-there too I was among “my kinda folks”.
Had I called for a show of hands, I suppose most hands woulda made that little wuff finger thingy that Frau Yow makes when she fires another coach. But there were representatives of all the various warring tribes of this region.
I will say that my line…… “when Roy left Kansas he signed a non-compete clause” did get one of the biggest laughs. But so did my signature bit about Mikki Krzyzewski running a whorehouse out of Hope Valley Country Club. Hellfire…. everything worked with this bunch.
Ask anyone who tries to be a professional smart-aleck….. when you flip the switch to semi-automatic fire you will hit on an empty cylinder at some point. I had enough ammo to do 60 minutes without stopping and only got to about 30% of it because of all those pesky interruptions for laughter. How rude! Here I was trying to explain the meaning of Life and save Western Civilization and this crowd kept laughing. Go figger. ☺
I usually try to warn my audiences about the toxic evils of the Internet and the human cockroaches that crawl around in cyber space but that was not necessary with these fine folks. I don’t mean to imply these were not fully functioning adults in a modern society at all. They definitely are. Almost all of’em had cell phones and they ALL knew what the phrase “Marvin tweeted” meant. Trust me….. they ALL knew about THAT.
These were the remnants of a once civil society where “folks of different partisan strokes” could co-exist and enjoy each others company and laugh “with” and not “at” each other and who have enjoyed going to “ball games” long before there was an ESPN or an Internet.
The clock on the back wall seemed to move at warp speed. I knew that a sweet tea tsunami was forming in their bladders so I left lots of primo material for “next time”.
As I descend once more into the cyber sewer to battle the sinister snot noses and 45 y/o little league right-fielders, I do so with a wonderful reaffirmation that there ARE still places and people who “get it”…… places like The Raleigh Sports Club.
People who still keep score because they absolutely do “care who wins” …… but good decent people who realize that “being a sports fan” is a recreational respite from reality….. not the reason d’etre of anyone’s existence.
Auburn is suspected of all sorts of “cheating” but not to worry…… both former Coach Chizik and the AD are already deep into Sgt Schultz mode. When Big Time College Football coaches get together do they practice their “I knew NUTHHH-Thing” routines on each other?
The Louisville kid with the broken leg has 48 more hours as “a lead story”…….
Norwood hired “Little Ricky” to be Head Gopher……
Amanda Enfield has done her first swimsuit shoot on Malibu…….
The NCAA Poobah is “lashing out” at his critics…..
I’m wondering if “the guy in the ski mask” is Peahead Walker…..