sports

Laurie Helms / City of Rock Hill

Rock Hill’s shiny new Sports & Event Center was all set to be a big deal. It was just slated to open at a colossally unfortunate time – March, 2020.

To be fair, it did open, briefly. There was a soft launch; a few events happened. But the city’s newest economic driver, a facility humming with revenue-raking sports and contests, ringed by businesses and restaurants poised to make a killing, never got its hoopla-launch. COVID-19 shut the center’s doors for two months, before it even had a chance to prop them open.

"J" is for Jackson, Joseph Jefferson Wofford [1888-1951]. Baseball Player. "Shoeless Joe" Jackson was reared in the mill villages of Pelzer and Greenville. He never attended school and could neither read nor write.  At thirteen he began to work full-time in the mill and also to play for the mill's baseball team.  In 1908 he turned pro and during the season landed in the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

How does a gym for a high-contact sport like mixed martial arts or boxing go about its business when there’s a virus in the air that demands we stay far apart?

The short answer: Carefully.

Who Decides if College Football Returns in the Fall?

Apr 30, 2020

College athletic directors are optimistic about the prospects of a 2020 college football season. According to a recent poll by Stadium Sports Network, 99% think there will be a season, though when it will begin is another question. The network polled 130 athletic directors. 114 responded. 

"Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Cleveland, in 1913.
Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress

In his new novel, The Last At-Bat of Shoeless Joe (2019, Chickadee Prince), Granville Wyche Burgess  imagines Shoeless Joe Jackson, the outfielder disgraced in the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, living in Greenville, South Carolina, and finding that sports history has one more twist in store for him.

"Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Cleveland, in 1913.
Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress

In his new novel, The Last At-Bat of Shoeless Joe (2019, Chickadee Prince), Granville Wyche Burgess  imagines Shoeless Joe Jackson, the outfielder disgraced in the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, living in Greenville, South Carolina, and finding that sports history has one more twist in store for him.

How the Golf Industry Drives South Carolina's Economy

Jun 19, 2019
File photo, close-up of golf ball and golf club head.
File photo: HeungSoon/Pixabay

The golf industry is big business for the state of South Carolina, generating $2.59 billion in sales for the state in 2018.

The sport generated 31,434 jobs, $857 million in wages and income, and $309 million in federal, state, and local taxes, according to an economic impact study created by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

That the NFL’s Carolina Panthers would eventually move the team’s practice facility and operations out of Charlotte and south of the border to Rock Hill was really just a matter of when the South Carolina Legislature would greenlight a set of tax breaks (worth somewhere between $115 and $120 million, by most estimates) that would allow the team to set up shop in York County. And when Panthers would officially say they were coming.

On June 5, the Panthers, the state, and City of Rock Hill made the official announcement that the team will be moving in over the next couple years.

The future home of the Rock Hill Sports & Events Center is still under construction.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Tourism is big business for South Carolina. The state Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (PRT) puts annual tourism revenue at about $20 billion.

File photo: Soccer balls
Joe Shlabotnik [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Evidence of soccer’s enormous growth in America is the September kickoff of the inaugural season of the Midlands’ new semi-pro soccer team, the Soda City Football Club.  It’s the third team in the state in the 170-plus team United Premier Soccer League, joining Spartanburg and Charleston.  Coach and co-owner Patrick Burnette says soccer is exploding in the U.S., and thanks to small but dedicated clubs around the state, the talent pool is strong.  Player Hunter Haynes says it’s all he’s ever wanted to do, and like teammate Nestor Jaramillo (and the rest of the team, for that matter), he aspi

hoto from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.
Photo from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.

At the University of South Carolina, the Moving Image Research Collection has established a reputation as one of the top film archives in the country. Curator Greg Wilsbacher says Newsfilm Collections at USC has received some notable donations over the years—including footage from the United States Marine Corps. But it all started with a donation in 1980 from the Fox Corporation, containing countless hours of newsreels and outtakes from the turn of the 20th Century.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"H" is for Horse racing. “The Sport of Kings” emerged in South Carolina within a few decades of settlement. Before 1754, most horses were descended from stock brought to Florida by the Spanish and known as the Chicasaw breed. Horsemen later imported fine stallions and mares from England and Virginia. In Charleston races at the Washington Course coincided with a gala social season. Inland, the elegant setting and refined audience attending the racing scene at Pinewood claimed to rival that of British courses. The Civil War ended horse racing in South Carolina.

Sandi Morris, a native of Greenville, won the women's pole vaulting silver medal at the Rio summer Olympics in 2016.  She quickly followed this victory by becoming the American women's outdoor pole vaulting champion with a 5- meter jump in Brussels.
Courtesy of Sandi Morris, via Flickr

Greenville native Sandi Morris has been a natural athlete all her life.  At age seven, playing around at her older sister’s soccer game, she offered a boy a quarter to race her, and beat him handily.  The boy’s mother, who was sitting near Sandi’s parents, told them of a track team for kids her age.  That was the beginning that led to Morris’s silver medal for the women’s pole vault in the 2016 Rio summer Olympics.  Then, only three weeks later in Brussels, she set the American women’s outdoor pole vault record of five meters, or 16’5”, a feat which only three women in the world have accomp

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"E" is for English, Alexander [b. 1954]. Basketball player. A graduate of Dreher High School in Columbia, English play college basketball for the University of South Carolina and became the 4th USC player to have his jersey [#22] retired. In the National Basketball Association he played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and the Denver Nuggets. The fluent run-and-shoot style of Nuggets' Coach Doug Moe was tailor-made for English's smooth game. By the end of his career in Denver in 1990, English had become the most prolific scorer of the 1980s.

Bicycle racers from around the world fly through the air as part of the BMX World Championships held recently in Rock Hill.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Rock Hill has enjoyed a growing reputation as an amateur sports Mecca, and the city recently proved it by hosting the BMX (bicycle motocross) world championship competitions.  Men, women and children came from across the globe to compete, and the event drew 3700 riders and 20,000 spectators from 48 countries. 

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