A sad footnote to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is the death of former USC song girl Claudene Christian, who was aboard a tall-ship replica of the infamous HMS Bounty when she sank off the North Carolina coast sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning. Christian went to SC sometime in the ’90s, near the end of the ill-fated Larry Smith era and beginning of John Robinson’s much-hyped but short-lived “Return to Glory.”
I never met her, but SC fans and alums like to think of ourselves as one big, dysfunctional family, especially when we’re in alien places such as D.C., New York and the Carolinas, surrounded by inbred SEC acolytes. Christian was apparently a descendant of Fletcher Christian, the ship’s first mate who led the “Mutiny on the Bounty” on which the books and movies were based. The latest film from 1984 starred Mel Gibson as mutinous Fletcher Christian and Anthony Hopkins as the ship’s arrogant captain, William Bligh.
(Bligh’s command style, which some would say led to the mutiny, reminds me of the British naval version of Tom Coughlin, the head coach of the New York Football Giants. NFL Network’s “A Football Life” documentary about Coughlin manages to humanize the obstinate SOB, whose militaristic rules have often chafed the league’s pampered professional athletes. Great Coughlin quote: “What time does 3:20 practice start? 3:15, right?” After all, what idiot would think practice would start at the stated time? Another good one from one of his assistants, after a clock tower chimes the top of the hour: “Clock must be wrong.” Coughlin replies: “I’ve got 5-after.”)