In this week’s edition of “Conversations with Clayton,” I catch-up with Down the Drive favorite Travis Hale.
Hale is the author of Dream No Little Dreams, a novella set in Hale’s native Lubbock, Texas and the state’s South Plains. Hale is also an accomplished sportswriter whose work has been featured on NBC Sports World, Medium, SB Nation, Staking the Plains, SI Now and The Cauldron. Travis writes as well about football and basketball as anyone around.
Last year, Travis talked about the Spurs, Bill Bellichick and Tecmo Bowl.
This year, we talked about minor league baseball walk-up music, attending a race at Talladega and the states that Travis is most and least qualified to live in.
Clayton Trutor (CT): How hot is Kliff Kingsbury’s seat right now?
Travis Hale (TH): I think it’s pretty hot. He essentially saved his job with the win over Texas on Thanksgiving last year, and with the success of other sports (College World Series for baseball, Elite Eight for basketball, top 5 finish for track) he’s going to have to win at least 7 this year, I think, to save his job. The good news for Tech fans is that they might legitimately have a defense this year. The bad news is we don’t have anyone established at QB.
CT: What are your thoughts on the Spurs’ recent draft picks?
TH: I love the Walker pick. The Spurs have historically found diamonds in the rough and I think Walker will be another one of those. They’ll put him in their magical Spurs lab and he’ll come out as a valuable wing that gets some good minutes this season.
CT: Come December 29th, what four teams will be participating in the College Football Playoff?
TH: Can I pick Alabama four times? It’ll likely be the usual suspects—Bama, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, etc. But I think—and it kills me to say this—you better watch out for TCU. They play Ohio State in September so we’ll see, but that QB is supposed to be the real deal and they always play good defense. Now I need to go throw up because I hate TCU and their fans hate me.
CT: If you could wave a magic wand and make the Southwestern Conference come back, would you do it?
TH: Yes. There’s a lot of nostalgia for the old SWC but I also think it could be a strong conference again.
CT: If you were a minor league baseball player, what would be your walk-up music?
TH: Andre Rieu - Scotland The Brave - Amazing Grace
Either this or “Backseat Freestyle.” Maybe both.
CT: What three states are you the most qualified to live in? What three states are you the least qualified to live in?
TH: Holy crap this is the best question ever. Most qualified to live in Texas, Florida and West Virginia. I’m a lifelong Texan but have just enough uncouthness to thrive in a place like Florida or WVA. Totally unqualified to live in California, Washington or Hawaii. Not near smart or pretty enough.
CT: What are your favorite and least favorite offensive styles in college football, past or present?
TH: I’ll live and die with the Air Raid. Any system that’s built upon how I’ve always played the game on my XBox is my style. Four verts or die, mofo.
CT: You a Big3 basketball guy?
TH: It’s OK. My son likes to watch but it’s also kinda sad to watch. It might be better if they got some younger, more athletic guys to play rather than retired and washed up NBA players who are always one cut away from having a knee explode on live TV.
CT: Describe the worst seat you’ve ever had at a sporting event.
TH: Not sure if it’s the worst seat ever but some buddies and I went to Talladega Alabama in July of 1995 to watch a NASCAR race. I’ve never been so hot in my life. To this day I still can’t drink Bud Light because I think I might’ve poisoned myself just trying to stay hydrated that day.
CT: What are you working on right now?
TH: Man I haven’t written much in the last year or so. I did just write a piece about how strange things are in San Antonio right now with the Kawhi Leonard drama: Most Peculiar Days – Travis Hale – Medium.
Follow Travis Hale on Twitter: @LubbockElitist
For more of the same, follow me on Twitter too: @ClaytonTrutor