From the Editor: Launch Sequence

Glad to have Steve Spurrier among us.

A few years ago, my wife and I were watching a televised football matchup between my alma mater, the University of South Carolina, and a Southeastern Conference foe. At halftime, as Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier walked off the field, a sideline reporter asked him to assess his team's performance. He talked about how “we’re gettin’ our butts kicked. We’re gettin’ out-blocked, out-tackled and out-coached.’’ Then, as the reporter prepared to step away, Spurrier leaned in to say one more thing: “But we’ve got another 30 minutes. Maybe something can happen!’’

It was all there: the trademark visor, the uneven gait, the wincing expression, the folksy voice, the determination to say exactly what was on his mind.

My wife turned to me and said: “I love Steve Spurrier.’’

Yeah, count me in that camp too. I was saddened when Spurrier left Carolina in the middle of the 2015 season and doubted I’d ever see him pacing the sidelines again. How wrong I was. The legendary coach, who led both the Florida Gators and the Gamecocks to new heights over nearly a quarter-century, is back, this time in charge of the Orlando Apollos, the local team in the new Alliance of American Football.

In this issue, writer Peter Kerasotis traces Spurrier’s journey to this spot in his career, with the coach assuring us the Apollos are going to be fun to watch. And who would dare doubt him? After all this is the same person who, as a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the Gators in 1966, waved off his team's regular place kicker in the Auburn game with two minutes left and booted the winning 40-yard field goal himself.

I think we’re going to be glad the Ol’ Ball Coach—and the Apollos—landed here.

Elsewhere in this issue, Joseph Hayes explores the Peruvian offerings at El Inka Grill, as well as the elevated menu at Bar 17 Bistro. Megan Padilla writes about the big heart of philanthropist Bickley Wilson, who provided a home to the artists of McRae Art Studios, as well as the kids in her ArtReach program. Plus we explore some nutrition facts and fiction, how to plan for a new pool in time for summer, and learn about the life of a wildlife rescuer. And Extra Pulp columnist Laura Anders Lee relates how playing basketball had a huge influence on her life.

Finally, for our monthly travel getaway, we journey to Gainesville, where you can explore numerous natural wonders. The North Florida city is also home to a noted university that once had this pretty remarkable football coach…

Categories: Column