More Jackson County Opinions...

 August 23, 2000

Column
By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
August 23, 2000

Fall sports predictions
Earlier this week, a local dignitary likened this writer to the supposedly prophetic Nostradamus.
It seems that a column in this space several weeks back was at least close to the mark in likening Jackson County politicians to World Wrestling Federation stars, thanks to the Honorable State Representative Scott "The Weed" Tolbert's return to the wrestling ring last week.
Let me be the first to pass on congratulations to Rep. Tolbert on his overwhelming win (you didn't really fit into the old uniform, did you Scott?), and to point out that I did not, contrary to popular opinion, inherit the allegedly psychic powers of Jeanne Dixon upon her death.
In order to prove this point, I have compiled the following list of predictions for the coming fall sports season. When none of them comes to pass, you'll see that this writer is indeed a mere mortal.
And coaches, please don't complain about me jinxing the season for you. That's why you should keep your fingers crossed all fall ­ to make up for the bad luck a prediction will bring.
Here goes:
The New York Mets will win the National League pennant from the wildcard position.
Jefferson will win the class A state softball title, and Commerce will take the football crown.
The Lady Panthers softball team will ride the incredible talent of its freshmen and sophomores all the way to a state sectional berth, and perhaps beyond.
Jackson County's football team will shock everyone even remotely acquainted with GHSA football by going 5-5 or better.
The Georgia-Georgia Tech football game will end in controversy for the fourth straight year.
That brings up another prediction, since Tech will not even stay close in the game unless Quincy Carter goes down in an earlier game due to injury, which will happen by midseason, probably after he walks past a black cat. Or fails to run past a red Razorback.
Atlanta's Falcons will rebound from a dismal 1999 by going 9-7 and reaching the NFL playoffs.
Bobby Labonte will take the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, sparing all of us from seeing nasty old Dale Earnhardt move ahead of Richard Petty for the most points titles won in a career. The Incriminator ­ I mean, Intimidator ­ will finish a close second.
Jackson County coach Brent Mikel and Jefferson coach Kevin Jacobs will discover that they are actually twins who were separated at birth.
Okay, Jeanne, I told them. Now will you please get out of my head?
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald.

Column
By Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
August 23, 2000

Be a hero: Give blood
My favorite superhero when I was growing up was Batman. The movie was so cool and I loved Michael Keaton. I still try to catch the Batman cartoon in the mornings before I leave for work.
Without fail, Batman still saves the day, but I'm not so much in awe of his prowess anymore. I know that real heroes are not necessarily dressed in black tights and a mask.
Real heroes are the people who strive every day to save lives; they are the doctors and nurses who use medical technology to treat cancer, replace organs and stitch up a serious accident victim. But, just like Batman, they can't do their job without a little bit of help from the people they are trying to save. Right now, the Red Cross is in the middle of a blood shortage. Patients in need of blood to stay alive are facing an uncertain future. A single pint of blood can save four lives.
There is no excuse for not donating on a regular basis if you are a healthy adult. I was so afraid of needles that I used to beg my pediatrician to allow me to pick scabs for her to take blood from rather than have my thumb pricked. I kicked a nurse when I was 12 when she tried to give me a shot of penicillin. I actually stood up on the examining table and kicked her. I'm not proud of it, but there was no talking around me. I hated needles.
I was 17 and away at college the first time I met someone from the Red Cross. I didn't think twice. I felt that it was something I needed to do. I marched into the student center, filled out paperwork, allowed them to prick my ear and plopped down into one of their lawn chairs.
I will freely admit that the needle was not small. It was much larger than any needle I'd ever seen before. But it only stung for a moment and then there was a feeling of pressure that was slightly uncomfortable.
As I sat there with my arm in a blood pressure cuff and a pint of blood dripping out of my body, I thanked God. I thanked God that I had never needed to receive a pint of blood because of a car accident. I thanked God that I had been born healthy without leukemia or any number of other diseases that would have meant I'd have needed blood transfusions every month. I thanked God that I was a healthy adult who could give blood to others who needed it. And I thanked God for the medical technology that allowed my sacrifice to mean the difference between life and death. With all of my thoughts, the uncomfortable feeling in my arm didn't seem so uncomfortable anymore. The memory of the moment of pain disappeared and I smiled.
In the minutes it took from my life while I sat in their lawn chair instead of doing my homework or watching TV, I may have added years to someone else's. I don't who they are, but I can imagine. Maybe I helped a college student who rolled into the ER after hitting a tree in their Honda, or a little boy with leukemia. It doesn't really matter; no matter what, I felt good. I did something tangible. I became a hero and it only took me 30 minutes.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

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