The year 2012 is nearly at an end
Many are probably ready to put 2012 in the books - if for no other reason than a desire to forget the overly abundant election year political ads on TV.
Yes, I'm looking at you North Carolina Governor-elect Pat McRory. If I ever see another commercial with you walking through an empty warehouse, looking earnest and wearing a farm jacket, I'm going to set my TV on fire. Seriously, I have a gas can and matches in a glass case marked "In case of hokey Pat McRory political ad, break glass" sitting by my TV.
In the waning days of 2012, I'm sure many of you have read various "Best of 2012" lists in regard to any number of topics. Best shows, best albums, best stories, best Richard Whiting mid-life crisis moments, etc.
I'm not here to offer my opinion of what was "best" in 2012, as I'm in no way qualified to be an arbiter of such. However, I will share with you just a few of my favorite things in 2012.
Favorite movie - "Argo," starring and directed by Ben Affleck, was my favorite movie of 2012. Based on the true story of CIA operative Tony Mendez's efforts to rescue six American diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, "Argo" was a tense, exhilarating, fascinating film.
While the Iran hostage crisis was an infamous event, Mendez's caper to extract the six diplomats holed up in the Canadian embassy in Tehran was not as well known. With "Argo," Affleck, who previously showed some serious directing chops with "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town," showed he is capable of stepping out of his South Boston directorial comfort zone and delivering a serious award contender.
The only negative aspect of "Argo" is I had to see it with staff writer Frank Bumb. He almost made me late to the show, then he kept trying the old "Yawn, stretch and put his arm around my shoulder" move during the movie. I guess I was asking for it when I showed up at the theater with a bouquet of flowers and a Color Me Badd CD.
Favorite local political candidate - I've worked numerous city, county, state and national political races in my years with the Index-Journal. As such, I've developed relationships with a litany of politicians and would-be politicians.
While many of the politicians I've encountered are genuinely nice people with good intentions, in many cases there's just a whiff of "bull stuff" there. Agendas - overt and hidden - abound.
But, every once in a while, there is a candidate who is absolutely, positively, exactly who he purports to be. Greenwood's Chet Royston is just such a guy, and that's why he's my favorite local political candidate of 2012.
Royston ran for state senate in District 10 and was ultimately defeated in the Republican primary by Jennings McAbee.
By his own admission, Royston came into the senate race with zero political experience. Despite having never been a city councilman, county councilman, public works commissioner, soil commissioner or holding any other type of elected office, Royston decided to jump right into a senate race.
Go big or go home, right?
When I interviewed him for a story upon the announcement of his candidacy, Royston didn't pretend to be something he wasn't. The longtime transmission repairman was up front about the fact he was simply a regular guy who wanted to make a difference. When I asked him for a second source for the story, he didn't give me the name of a political consultant or an economic development bigwig. Instead, he said I should call the owner of a local garage.
Royston was not successful in his bid for the senate. But, he showed courage in his attempt. In an era where politics are increasingly controlled by big money and special interest groups, we could use a few more like Chet Royston, an everyday Joe willing to step up and give it a shot.
Favorite football game - I could list the South Carolina-Clemson game here, but I don't feel like receiving hate mail and death threats for the rest of the week.
So, with that said, South Carolina's 35-7 win against Georgia on Oct. 6 was my favorite football game of 2012.
With all apologies to Greenwood city manager and Georgia alum Charlie Barrineau, there's just something about beating the Georgia Bulldogs, a team I have trained my 4-year-old daughter to refer to as "those low-down, dirty dogs."
Both teams were undefeated and ranked in the top 10 in the nation going into the Oct. 6 matchup. ESPN's College Gameday broadcast from the Horseshoe in Columbia that day. With the 9 a.m. Gameday gathering kicking off a lllooonnngg day of tailgating before the 7 p.m. game, many of the 85,199 in attendance at Williams-Brice Stadium had been, um, enjoying beverages for many hours and were at full throttle when kickoff arrived.
By now, you know what happened. The Gamecocks came out and jumped all over Georgia, right from the opening bell. South Carolina was up 21-0 before the first quarter even ended and the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.
During that raucous first quarter, I might or might not have:
- Gotten goose bumps on my arms following Bruce Ellington's opening touchdown reception.
- Bearhugged the guy sitting to my left (who I did not know) when Ric Flair was shown on the Jumbotron. (And, yes, I also screamed "Woooo!" in my new friend's ear.)
- Inadvertently assaulted my wife during Ace Sanders' 70-yard punt return touchdown. I was trying to do that "jump up and shoulder bump" thing the players do. My wife was unfamiliar with this maneuver. It's a good way to get your first criminal domestic violence charge.
I had many more favorite things in 2012, but I've gone on for way too long already. I probably lost a few of you when I (JOKINGLY, let's get that straight) said Frank Bumb tried the old stretch move on me at the movie theater.
Either way, I hope your 2012 was a good one, and I hope your 2013 is even better.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.