SPARTANBURG Rowan Atkinson, a British comedian, did his Mr. Bean routine at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. Mr. Bean is the character for which Atkinson is, or was, famous.
On E. St. Johns Street in Spartanburg is the Bean Law Firm.
Yes, Spartanburg and London have a lot in common. If youre a sports fan in Charlotte youll see the datelines almost daily until mid-August. London is the site of the 2012 Olympics and Spartanburg is the site of the Carolina Panthers training camp.
The opening ceremony of the Olympics was Friday. On Friday the Panthers moved into their Olympic Village, a dormitory at Wofford. The Olympics end Aug. 12. Training camp ends August 15.
Of course there are differences between the cities. London is bigger. Spartanburg is hotter. But both have Twitter.
I dont know how to compare them, says Panthers center Ryan Kalil. Theyre both really cool.
Whats your favorite landmark?
In Spartanburg? asks Kalil, who is beginning his sixth training camp.
The question is tough because Kalil rarely leaves the Wofford campus. He has to think.
The terrier, he says excitedly, although not excitedly enough to buy a full-page newspaper ad with the terriers picture. When I think of Spartanburg, I think of the terrier.
Woffords teams are called the Terriers, and in front of the student union is a stunning black terrier statue donated by the class of 56.
Although London and Spartanburg are 4,059 miles apart, they share so many qualities they could be twins.
London has royals. Spartanburg has VIPs. You need proof? Theres a VIP entrance in downtown Spartanburg at Club VI.
London excites visitors with the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
Spartanburg excites visiting Panther fans with the changing of the tackle. The Panthers shipped tackle Jeff Otah to the New York Jets and replaced him with Byron Bell.
In unrelated news, former Feetwood Mac singer Lindsey Buckingham is playing Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium Sunday night.
Last month London treated residents to the Queens Diamond Jubilee Beacons.
Since 1948 Spartanburg has treated residents to the Beacon Drive-In. In a typical week the Beacon goes through four tons of beef, chicken and seafood, three tons of potatoes and three tons of onions.
The Beacon claims to sell more iced tea than anybody in the U.S. Here is yet another amazing similarity: In London, tea and biscuits are popular; in Spartanburg, iced tea and sausage biscuits are.
I like Spartanburg, I really do, and I would never resent a co-worker who is sent to London all-expenses paid to cover the Olympics. Unlike some Charlotte Observer sports columnists, I dont need the bright lights.
But if I did I could listen to the song, Lights of Spartanburg as I shopped for HID lights at Spartanburgs Nash Electric Supply, which is closed weekends.
One final blaring cant-be-denied this-settles-the-argument similarity: London and Spartanburg produce pageantry.
On Friday, amid a celebration that included the most recent James Bond, and sheep, the Olympic Cauldron was lit.
At 5:30 p.m. Saturday the second annual Mayors Ball run began at Spartanburg City Hall. Representatives from each of Spartanburg Countys 13 municipalities ran a football from the hall to Gibbs Stadium, where at 6:30 p.m. the Panthers opened training camp.
The pageantry and hoopla and deep emotion the run stirs are a vivid reminder of what transpired at the opening ceremony in London, minus the sheep.