• 79°

NSSA Weekend: Sports took a backseat for McCarter

SALISBURY — Recently, the Huntsville Times’ Mark McCarter was given a three-day vacation from sports writing.
It was unwanted.
Tornados ripped through Alabama, devastating Huntsville with its worst storm in 35 years.
Sports? No one was really thinking about who was playing who in the early part of May.
“We essentially didn’t have a sports section for three days,” said McCarter, in town this weekend for the NSSA festivities as Alabama Sportswriter of the Year.
The storms hit right about the time the NFL Draft was on the air, promoting Auburn’s favorite son, Cam Newton, as the No. 1 pick.
“It was really odd,” McCarter said. It was one of the biggest pieces of news. We had one sports page to get the draft in there.”

Known for his popular “McCarter’s Musings,” sports stories were not what McCarter was banging out as April turned into May.
“I wrote columns all week on the tornados,” he said. “About all of the space was devoted to the tornados.”
Eight people were killed in the Huntsville area. McCarter remembers writing about a family who did make it, but just barely.
A man, three miles from his home, decided to check up on his mom, and found her taking a nap. They were following the storm on the radio when he grabbed his mother and yelled, “Mom, get down.”
McCarter still shudders about the story.
“Thirty seconds later, there was nothing there but a little bit of the bedroom and the hallway they were lying in,” McCarter said.
McCarter and his wife, Patricia, who accompanied him to Salisbury, weren’t hit as hard as others. But their power was still out for four days.
“We were some of the lucky ones,” McCarter said.

Mark and Patricia live 21/2 hours from Tuscaloosa and 31/2 hours from Auburn. Patricia is an Auburn follower and both she and Mark enjoyed Auburn and Alabama working together.
“I think there’s a lot more cohesiveness between the students,” Patricia said.
There was proof of that when someone poisoned 130-year-old oak trees at Toomer’s Corner at Auburn.
People from Tuscaloosa started “Tuscaloosa for Toomer’s.”
Auburn paid Alabama back when the storms hit Tuscaloosa.
McCarter spoke of “Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa,” where people from Auburn loaded up trucks with supplies and clothes for their rival.

Now, if for only a weekend, McCarter puts it all on the backburner and celebrates a long career in the business.
“I started when I was 17,” he said. “It’s 13 years at Huntsville.”
It’s a special weekend, not just because of the NSSA, but due to the date.
“This is my third time to win,” McCarter said.
Looking over at Patricia, he announced, “The second time I won it was a week before we got married.”
Today is the McCarters’ anniversary.

Even with the tornados, there was still interest in Carolina’s No. 1 draft pick. Auburn fans treat Newton like a god. McCarter admits there’s something different about him.
“I’ve been around few guys who have more charisma on and off the field,” he said, also referring to that famous Cam Newton smile. “We sit there and watch Tebow for four years and go, ‘Gosh, there will never be anybody like Tim Tebow in college football ever again.’ And a year later, somebody’s better.”
It was easy to tell McCarter was much more comfortable talking sports than talking tornados.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

N.C. lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

Local

Rowan Public Library joins initiative to help people with digital connectivity

Local

Mocksville to dissolve police department

Crime

Blotter: May 5

Local

Salisbury’s McElroy named top city, county communications professional in state

Local

Locals condemn use of force during 2019 traffic stop of Georgia woman

Kannapolis

Back and better than ever: Cannon Ballers kick off inaugural season in Atrium Health Ballpark

News

NC police reform package approved by Senate committee

News

Rowan County Health Department receives $5,000 grant to fund prenatal oral health program

Local

City outlines use of federal HUD funds, approves NCDOT project to create U-turn bulb near Morlan Park Road

Local

Salisbury VA staff make the day for veterans with visitation parade

Kannapolis

Minor League baseball: Wood Ducks top Cannon Ballers in season opener

News

NC Senate eases caps on income, grants for K-12 scholarships

Nation/World

Biden aims to vaccinate 70% of American adults by July 4

Local

Cheerwine now accepting entries for festival’s T-shirt design contest

Coronavirus

North Carolina reports fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 positives

Local

Post accepting submissions for Mother’s Day photos, stories

Business

Perkins Cafeteria plans for July opening, looks to provide ‘wholesome, quality meals’

Local

Commissioners finalize grant application for Woodleaf Community Park

Landis

Landis board gets first look at budget that decreases town’s residential electric rates

Local

City to discuss two traffic-related measures, hold public hearing for use of federal funds

Local

Summer Fun: In-person camps are back this year

High School

High school baseball: South’s Deal will play at Methodist

Coronavirus

Vaccinations not counted in state data improve Rowan’s numbers