Tommy Tomlinson

Columnist and host of SouthBound

Credit JEFF CRAVOTTA

Tommy Tomlinson has written for publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Garden & Gun, and many others. He spent 23 years as a reporter and local columnist for the Charlotte Observer, where he was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in commentary. His stories have been chosen twice for the “Best American Sports Writing” series (2012 and 2015) and he also appears in the anthology “America’s Best Newspaper Writing.”

He teaches magazine writing at Wake Forest University and has also taught at the University of Georgia, Queens University of Charlotte and the Poynter Institute. He has been a speaker at workshops and conferences across the country.

His book “The Elephant In the Room,” a memoir about life as an overweight man in a growing America, will be published soon by Simon & Schuster.

He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia and was a 2008-09 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Tommy and his wife, Alix Felsing, live in Charlotte.

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Ways to Connect

Football season used to be a five-month national holiday for me. I’d watch college games from noon to midnight on Saturday, and NFL games until the last snap on Sunday. I had elite-level skills with the remote control. I mainlined the Red Zone Channel, which shows every scoring play from every NFL game. I spent weekends in a football trance.

Ben Folds has pounded pianos into submission around the world for the past 25 years, playing everything from ballads to heavy-metal covers to symphonic pieces – often in the same night.

The race for North Carolina’s 9th House district has been like a NASCAR race from the old days – multiple wrecks, lots of caution flags, some country boys trying to pull a fast one.

I’m not a fabric store kind of guy. I’m more like a “please, Lord, don’t make me go in the fabric store” kind of guy. But even I had to respect Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia.

Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images

In Southeastern Conference football history, the true legends go by just one name. Bear. Herschel. Bo. And now there’s another, although you have to stretch it out: Pawwwwwwwwl.

Sometimes justice makes nobody happy. And that is where I think we have landed in the death of Danquirs Franklin.

There are certain rules you need to know when you’re doing comedy. One, timing is everything. Two, don’t repeat the punchline. And three, don’t stand in front of a group of several hundred public servants and tell a joke about sex and cows.

Apparently, Bob Cordle never made it to Rule No. 3.

Barb Bondy

Kyes Stevens went from her tiny hometown in Alabama to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. For a lot of people it might have been a springboard to a bigger world. But Stevens ended up going back home and making her own world bigger.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board doesn’t seem to be inclined to reveal why it got rid of Superintendent Clayton Wilcox. Technically he's resigning as of Aug. 2, but he’s suspended until then, and he’s not likely to be going to any company picnics.

We lost one of Charlotte’s true characters the other day. His name was Greg Good but you probably knew him as the Catman. The cameras would find him at every Panthers game, cheering his lungs out in his jersey and his bright blue wig, looking like a cross between a linebacker and a Smurf.

I’ve been thinking about buying tickets to the Charlotte Hornets’ home games with the Boston Celtics next season. But I’ve been wondering if that would be too much like looking up an old girlfriend on Facebook.

The debate was supposed to be about noise.

I was talking to Richard Vinroot the other day when the subject of gerrymandering came up.

Vinroot, for those of y’all who are new to town, was mayor of Charlotte from 1991 to 1995. He’s a moderate Republican, but he is most definitely a Republican. His party has used gerrymandering to its advantage all throughout the country, especially here in North Carolina. He wishes they wouldn’t.

We live in a time when some people react to news they don’t like by calling it fake news. That’s a deep insult to those of us who have spent our lives trying to bring you the real thing.

I had to go up to Cornelius the other day, so I intended to try out the new toll lanes on I-77.

It turned out the traffic was light and I didn’t need to. But a few people were using the toll lanes anyway, flying past at 80 miles an hour, as if paying the toll means you don’t have to bother with the speed limit.

I went to the Excelsior Club a few times back in the ‘90s, and it wasn’t much to look at even then. Now it’s even more rundown. If you just drive by the club, off of Beatties Ford Road, you might wonder what’s worth saving. But that’s only if you haven’t heard the stories.

Today we’re going to discuss one of life’s eternal questions: Does size matter?

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte is crawling into the 21st century. They should get some credit for finally moving forward. But they should also understand that there’s a long way to go.

I’ve seen a lot of the Carolinas over the years, but the other day I heard about a place I have to go visit sometime – the Black River down in southeastern North Carolina.

Its tea-colored water is home to a couple of rare fish species, and it’s known as one of the cleanest streams in the state. But the real attraction is the trees. There are bald cypress trees in the Black River swamp that have been around more than 2,000 years – literally since Jesus was a boy.

Last Tuesday I was taking our garbage cans back around the side of the house when I saw two baby birds on the ground.

One was already dead, and I thought the other one was, too. But I looked closer and it was breathing – too weak to stand, but breathing. It was a fledgling, not quite a newborn, not quite ready to fly.

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