Just survived a family road trip, something I’ll loosely characterize as a “vacation,” to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Not bragging, mind you, although I will say the 78-degree temperatures and crystal blue, Chamber of Commerce sky when we rolled in Sunday kicked the crap out of whatever the rest of you poor suckers were shoveling and/or draining from your basement that day.

I’m sharing my travel itinerary because I was close enough to see Steve Spurrier’s nose hair when he unwittingly became the fabricated, blown-out-of-proportion, sports-related non-story of the week.

Spurrier, last seen recovering from his flirtation with the pros by coaching the perpetually mediocre University of South Carolina football team, riled up the rednecks something fierce.

Seems The Ol’ Ball Coach had the nerve to suggest that Columbia would be a better city in which to live and work if the Confederate flag were removed from the State House lawn.

Now, get this: Spurrier has been assailed from all points beneath the Mason-Dixon line as the bad guy in this discussion.

News anchors speculated aloud whether or not Spurrier’s regime could survive his “controversial” comments. They conducted softball interviews with some guy named Bubba Licious from Florence, who stood in a cemetery and opined that airing out the stars-and-bars was the only way to properly memorialize his great-great-great-great-great-uncle Elmer’s death at Shiloh.

With the tragedy at Virginia Tech reassuring us that sticks and stones might break the Rutgers women’s basketball team’s bones but not prevent them from becoming doctors, lawyers, parents or coaches, Spurrier’s stand against an overtly racist symbol took over as a region’s great waste of its collective breath.

This one seems like a no-brainer. Spurrier is right. It is possible for dead people to have fought for ill-advised causes. It is possible to make this argument without speaking ill of those predecessors. And it is possible to properly memorialize somebody without alienating half your state’s population.

Cooler heads will prevail. Spurrier won’t get canned over this, as long as his team goes 12-1 and wins the Excessively Caffeinated Workout Drink Bowl.

Talk about two different worlds. Here in blue-state country, Bates College insisted upon referring to a pre-operative transsexual athlete on its women’s track and field team as “he,” and an admittedly right-leaning, Bible-reading columnist accepted it almost without question.

Down yonder, in the sea of red, one of the esteemed coaches in the game made a common sense proclamation and took it on the chin from the Fourth Estate.

Yeah, our weather reeks. Our teams aren’t always much better. But suddenly I’m glad to live here and thrilled to be back.


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