Banks County Opinions...

July 26, 2000


Column
By Drew Brantley
The Banks County News
July 26, 2000

GHSA football playoffs 2000: everybody in?
Professional hockey and basketball are often criticized for letting too many teams into the postseason. More than half of each league makes it to the playoffs. Teams with losing records make it in most years.
These reasons are often given for why making the playoffs in those sports is not a great achievement.
Now the Georgia High School Association is getting the same kind of reaction. This fall, because of the late realignment to five classes, 160 teams will make the playoffs, while 178 teams will not.
The GHSA's ratio is a good bit better than the NBA or the NHL.
Class A is the most frequently used example of decreased competition, where 14 of the competitive teams will miss the playoffs next year.
In Class AA, five of the regions will send as many or more to the playoffs as they send home.
It does make the playoffs less of an achievement. But is that really such a bad thing?
The new football rules are not so different from most every other sport offered by the GHSA. In basketball, every team gets at least one chance in the postseason. Just because the GHSA hasn't been able to increase the number of football teams, that doesn't make it a bad idea.
Wrestling, golf and track give individuals a chance to be state champions regardless of their regular season records.
While not every football team in Class A will be given this opportunity, I do think the new playoff format will be better.
A team with no region wins wearing a state playoff patch is no good, however.
Making the subregion basketball tournament is not something to celebrate. Neither should making the playoffs automatically in football.
MAKING IT ALL BETTER
In every class, the football playoffs can be improved.
Rather than just grouping regions before the season starts, teams should be ranked somehow and seeded accordingly.
As it stands, the same problem that did away with the gridiron region playoffs has come into play in the state tournament.
When the top four teams from each region played out to a region champion, several schools complained that they were better than some of the other region champions.
The GHSA took away one region round and eventually both of them, seeding all teams into one state tournament.
In the first round, the seeding is not such a factor. The fourth-placed team from each region is not usually better than another region's champ.
Last year, Dawson County downed Trion in the first round, however.
But in the later rounds, no seeding is in place, allowing the two best teams to meet even before the semifinals.
Forming a selection committee as they do for the NCAA basketball tournament could help this. A selection committe would not be perfect. No system ever will be.
But things could be done to make the system better.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News
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Column
By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
July 26, 2000

Take time to talk to strangers
Random acts of kindness.
This catch phrase has been around for a long time now. I don't know who strung those four wonderful words together, but I sure wish I did. Whoever it was gave the world a touch of mercy and taste of grace.
There have been a number of times when I performed such acts. It always made me feel like I had touched some deep river of sanctuary that flows constantly through all of us, whether we know it or not.
Recently, while in between two assignments, I found myself with some free time and a growling stomach reminding me to eat. I was in Cornelia and decided to stop at a place I had yet to visit called Fender's. It's a quaint little place - 50's style décor.
Being the lunch hour, the restaurant was extremely busy. It would be a little while before a table opened up. Over on the side of the entrance room was a very comfy-looking couch beckoning to me. At the other end of the couch sat an elderly lady, all alone.
We struck up a conversation, as us ladies are prone to do when we're bored, and soon we were chatting away like old friends. Billie is a recent widow. Her husband of 50 years had passed away last December. Her children and even her grandchildren were grown and long out on their own.
She told me she lived in Commerce. A long way from home for some, but not this plucky senior citizen. She had so much youthful vigor about her, so much of a zest for life.
In order to keep her life interesting, she decided that she would go out for lunch once a week to a new restaurant - somewhere where she had never been.
The waitress came over to us and said that our tables would be ready any minute now. Since it was so busy, we sat together at the same table, rather than take up two.
As we waited for our lunch, I told her a little about my life as a reporter, among other topics. Billie ordered the meat loaf, which by the way she said was "very good." I had a BLT. We were just chatting away and nibbling on our lunches between words. Billie and her husband had done a lot of traveling in their many years together. And I had the feeling that he was still traveling with her in spirit. She seemed so settled and secure, so confident in her life's successes.
All too soon, the waitress brought over the check - she had put us on the same bill. In the blink of an eye, Billie had picked it up. And when I began to protest, she just smiled and said, "You're my random act of kindness for today." She was so gracious when she spoke those few words, I found myself without words, without objections.
She looked at me and smiled when I murmured my "Thank you," and I felt as though I had just had lunch with an angel. I still can see the glow of her face and feel the warmth of her smile. I hope that I will always have that vivid memory.
So, the next time you find yourself sitting by a stranger, give a little conversation a chance. You never know what can happen. It could not only make your day, it could make a memory for life.
May you stay forever young, Billie!
Shar Porier is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.


Editorial
The Banks County News
July 26, 2000

Don't miss Sunday School Celebration
An event that has been going on for well over 100 years will again take place Saturday in Homer. The annual Sunday School Celebration is an event that brings out locals, people from neighboring counties and those who have moved away but remember the event.
A wonderful group of area gospel singers is lined up to perform throughout the day. They will bring a wealth of talent to the park for the celebration that also provides an opportunity for fellowship. A covered dish luncheon under the tree-lined park will add to the festivities.
The Sunday School Celebration is the type of event that makes our community special. It is this small-town atmosphere where no one is a stranger that makes Banks County stand out. Don't miss this unique event.


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The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
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