BL: They won’t make Caulton Tudors any more

C Tudor
BobLee
November02/ 2017

BobLee logo

Nov 2, 2017

They won’t make Caulton Tudors any more

♦♦♦

This is not a compilation of anecdotes between the late Raleigh-area sports columnist Caulton Tudor and me. Nor is it a personal tribute to a man I didn’t know any better than 98% of you “knew” him. A very fine and very humble gentleman from all the comments from his colleagues over the past several days.

Caulton Tudor passed away Tuesday evening from “a lingering illness” which is often a euphemism for some form of cancer. He was, at 70, a member of my generation. “We” have reached that point in the Life Cycle, that upon our passing, no one laments “but he was so young” because we aren’t.

 

I met Caulton Tudor just once and very briefly about ten years ago. Former N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan asked me to conduct a seminar for N&O reporters on “the influence of the Internet” on how news is and will be covered. Caulton attended my presentation.

NOTE: FWIW… my prophecies then about how Internet technology would drastically change “the information business” have all come true.

If given an opportunity to ask Caulton Tudor one question it would be a question that everyone with an unusual name deals with.

At what point do you simply ignore misspellings and mispronunciations of your name? His name was “Caulton”… not “Carlton”.

I assume “Caulton” is either (1) a family name or (2) a misspelling on his birth certificate. The latter seems to happen a lot with AfAm births. Caulton was not AfAm.

A second question would be how long it took him to learn to spell Krzyzewski correctly… if ever.

His colleagues called him “Toots”. That’s not a nickname given to someone not popular with ones’ colleagues. Reaffirming his legacy of conviviality.

.

INSERT:  After this column first appeared, I received notice from a totally reliable source that – Caulton Tudor lived next to Hayes Barton Methodist Church.  – On Sunday mornings, The Tudors would stand in their front yard and “yell vulgarities” at families going to church.  – YIKES!

My considered response was “one can not work at The N&O for 30 years without some form of mental illness”.
.

He was from the central NC rural community of Angier… attended ECU and Campbell… and spent his career as a reporter / columnist with various forms of the News & Observer until 2013 when he joined WRAL’s digital sports team.

I have no clue of the circumstance of his leaving the N&O in 2013. Many/most longtime employees have left The N&O in recent years under tenuous circumstances. The publishing company is permanently “downsizing”… faster than Marie Osmond on NutriSystem.

The title of today’s opus refers to the fact Caulton Tudor spent his entire adult life writing about the local / regional sports scene… from the early 70s until the past few months. I believe he was still sending in columns to WRAL thru the early/mid stages of his fatal illness.

He would have pecked away on a portable “typewriter” for multi-decades, transitioning to a “laptop” the past several decades. No clue if he transitioned well with that. Did he miss the clackety-clack of typewriter keys? Many writers of “our generation” do.

Over 40+ years he covered numerous “big sports events” involving local high school, college and pro teams. Who won and who lost those games likely spread out pretty evenly, and to my knowledge, not influenced one iota by a single word Caulton wrote about those games.

Blondie despises the use of “unique” especially the phrase “most unique” because little or nothing really is “unique” despite our efforts to “uniquefy” everything about our lives and circumstances.

That said, covering “sports” in The Triangle-area does have a uniqueness in that there are three “major college” sports programs within this media market of a 50-mile circumference of RDU Airport.

Not EVERY one of the 1.5 million humans in this market area is a live-or-die partisan of one of those three programs but enough are to make a sportswriter’s life a “game of solitaire with a deck of 51”. He can’t win.

My all-time favorite Caulton Tudor story (yes, I’ve told it several occasions) was a column he wrote pre or post a “big game” between State and Carolina 12-15 years ago. … football or basketball? … doesn’t matter.

The Internet was already well-habitated with board monkeys of all species with their sinister “fan forums” and “chat rooms”. The average IQ hovering in the mid 30s or so… able to feed themselves but only with plastic sporks… never with anything sharp or pointy.

Caulton broad-brushed his comments analyzing both teams as he should. BUT… all that did was piss off BOTH tribes of board monkeys.

“THIS PROVES once and for all that ^%$#*^ Tudor is a ______ homer.” Insert the hated “them team”.

Both sides had turned Caulton’s column upside down and held it up to a mirror revealing the satanic message he had encoded in his words cursing “our team”. How stupid of Caulton to think he could get away with such a trick!!

Every regional board monkey knew Caulton went to ECU (and Campbell)  which is bad enough…. BUT his wife  not only was a UNCCH alum but apparently WAS A SEASON TICKET-HOLDER. How stoopid does The N&O think we are by golly.

I don’t recall the proof positive that Caulton was OBVIOUSLY an NC State “homer”. Maybe he was spied eating at Amedeo’s once… or a similarly heinous act.

Over 40 years Caulton Tudor had to have written a minimum 2-3,000 game recaps and/or columns. If he was EVER less than effusively praising “your team” you never forgave or forgot THAT column. You cut it out and taped it on your bathroom mirror as a forever reminder what a low-down dirty-lying scallywag “That Damn” Caulton Tudor surely was.

Caulton Tudor was a “That Damn” before Dan Kane had ever typed the word Nyang’oro the first time.

Hard as it may be to believe… there was Life in this area before The Great Unpleasantness @ UNCCH. In a time long long ago there was The Jimmy V Scandal. Caulton wrote for the Raleigh Times back then. An evening newspaper for Greater Raleigh long since dead and buried… to be joined “soon” by its eeevil big brother The N&O. Suffering also from “a lingering illness”.

When elders gather to gnaw on the bones of The Jimmy V Scandal, Caulton is not a central character. The sportswriter villain then was Mickey McCarthy along with N&O Editor Claude Sitton. Both were quite “That Damned” in those days and still are today… when elders gather.

They won’t make Caulton Tudors any more…

…because “newspapers” are on life-support these days. Plus, nobody is employed by anybody for 40 years anymore. We live in a very disposable society and employees are as disposable as those plastic sporks … used to feed those lunatic board monkeys.

When Caulton was satisfied with a column, he jerked it from his typewriter… handed it to a copy boy of some sort… it passed thru a editor’s glance and was sent to the typesetter. The next morning “it” was on driveways all across Eastern / Central North Carolina… pissing off 1,000s of partisan fans over their morning coffee.

I wonder if Caulton Tudor even had columnist’s remorse… “maybe I shouldna hadna oughta wrote what I wrote quite like I wrote it”…?

Websites have advantages over “print” in that they can be continually updated and edited and simply deleted.

I bet A.J. Carr, Tom Suiter and Bob Holliday will be at White Memorial Presbyterian for Caulton’s service.

I bet Dick Herbert and Joe Tiede and Don Shea met Caulton at the Pearly Gates.

I hope St Peter doesn’t call him “Carlton”. …but if he does, I doubt that bothers him anymore.  If it ever did.

###

More of BobLee -Link

AP LOGO

AgentPierce’s Latest  – LINK

NCNV

NCNews&Views -LINK

 

0 0 vote
Article Rating
BobLee
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

32 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ron ‘gator’ Swaim
Ron ‘gator’ Swaim
2 years ago

Although I haven’t seen Caulton in years, we were very close when I worked as a sports writer for years. He was such a character that I felt honored just to know him and share many, many personal experiences, most of them pure fun. If you didn’t know toots, you just can’t image why he’s so well liked. He had such a great attitude on life and he loved his daughter so much. My name is Ron but Tudor named me Gator long ago and seldom called me anything but that. I have tears in my eyes as I tell… Read more »

Rummie
Rummie
2 years ago

BL, thanks for doing this.Lived in Raleigh many moons ago and knew “Toot” and Inez socially. He was a great American and an outstanding Journalist. He was a humble guy who, I believe, never realized just how talented he was. That’s a great trait!

MC in Goldsboro
MC in Goldsboro
2 years ago

Well done, BobLee. I never met the man, but I spent some time in the newspaper business in a previous life (not as far back as hot type, but pre-computer), and I knew a few folks among the local/regional sportswriters, and from what I could tell, Caulton Tudor was universally respected and very well-liked among that group. As others have mentioned, he had a reputation as a very humble individual. Your assessment of there “never being another one like him” is spot-on, as usual. The local/regional sportswriter, as we once knew them, are quickly going the way of the dinosaur… Read more »

wolfbuff
wolfbuff
2 years ago

As you might tell from my “internet name” I’m a Wolfpack fan. But I always liked Tudor’s columns and found them to be fair. In fact, I would often look for his column first in the sports page. On another note, I know you don’t lament the fall of the newspaper. But there is something about picking up a paper and skimming through it for the articles of interest. For the most part, internet news is dumbed down and more and more outrageous just to get clicks. I usually have to read multiple articles on the same topic to find… Read more »

BC78
BC78
2 years ago

This was a lovely remembrance. I grew up reading him, of course. These old-school newspaper columnists are going and won’t be replaced.

fayettewuf
fayettewuf
2 years ago

I always liked Caulton Tudor’s work and was a subscriber to the Raleigh Times. I never saw the homerism in his work. I admire the old school journalists. Sorry to hear of his passing.

Ken.G.T
Ken.G.T
2 years ago

NOBODY does eulogies like you BL… even when I don’t know the dearly departed, I feel like I do after reading your tributes. Another Home Run…

Doug
Doug
2 years ago

I’d say “old school” sums it up nicely. I was reading Mr Tudor’s work at 23. He was around 26 by my math and I thought the material was from someone much older than the three years that actually separated us.

scott
scott
2 years ago
Reply to  BobLee

My Dad spent 40 years in the sports dept of the Greenville Daily Reflector. Been retired about 15 years now.

scott
scott
2 years ago
Reply to  BobLee

Yes, he did. I don’t remember them myself, but Mom says yes. I will talk to him later and get more details.

scott
scott
2 years ago
Reply to  BobLee

He said that he doesn’t remember the nickname, but they were seniors the first or second year after he came here. He did know Jack Stephens.

scott
scott
2 years ago
Reply to  BobLee

Mom said one of them was a mayor somewhere down near the coast.

rivlax
rivlax
2 years ago

I always liked Caulton Tudor because he was an afternoon-paper guy like I was for most of my career, first at The Columbus (Ga.) Ledger, then The Durham Sun, before moving to The Durham Morning Herald in 1988. I see from the stories today that he moved to The N&O in 1989, so he made the switch to A.M. about the time I did, mainly because our beloved P.M. papers were dying. Afternoon paper people could always perform on deadline better than morning paper people because they had to write two or three stories before noon each day. Caulton Tudor… Read more »

Mayberry Jim
Mayberry Jim
2 years ago

Great job BL, much respect to Mr. Tudor. I use a search engine to locate & contact people as part of my work. I searched “Caulton Tudor” across the USA and he is/was the only one, so there’s your “unique”. Regarding us having reached “that point in the Life Cycle”, my family treated me to a 60th birthday picnic at an outdoor concert a few years ago. There were lots of friends there who came by to chat. One guy asks “So today’s your birthday?” to which I responded “No, it’s actually tomorrow”. He said “If you die tonight, people… Read more »

DM Carpenter
DM Carpenter
2 years ago

Fine piece on a fine writer, growing up in Rawley, I reading his columns, a piece of a passed age, a society forever gone, but in memory.

Rick.Tudor
Rick.Tudor
2 years ago

Thank you for the kind words from his brother, Rick, and family. There is laughter in our tears as we are on our way to make funeral arrangements.The answer to the question on the name is He was named after his grandfather Caulton Brown, a landowner in Harnett County. There is actually a road in Lillington, named after him. He did for many years carry a portable typewriter, the same royal typewriter for many years and finally converted to a laptop. His last laptop had so many birthdays it ran out of candles, and her name is Betsy. Betsy is… Read more »

theotherboblee (Robert L. Carper)
theotherboblee (Robert L. Carper)
2 years ago

Well done, BobLee. Thank you for your comments about Mr. Tudor.

BC.PV
BC.PV
2 years ago

BL, a touching tribute to someone you didn’t know well. Thank you, well done. Your columns have a way of making you think and reflect! What a gift!

32
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x