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.