Banks County Opinions...

August 30, 2000

By Drew Brantley
The Banks County News
August 30, 2000

Region 8-AA takes to the field this Friday
Banks County is in a new region this year for football. The realignment shook things up last spring. But now is the time to see what those changes will mean in real competition.
While several of the teams are familiar, some of the teams are new to the Leopard schedule.
Rabun County, Dawson County, Union County and Greater Atlanta Christian were all with the Leopards last year in Region 8-A. East Hall, Lumpkin County and White County were all in Region 7-AA last year.
Another of the new region teams is Apalachee. But this Barrow County school is new to everything.
Opening this year to handle overcrowding at Winder-Barrow, Apalachee is playing a region schedule without any seniors. It's not just that the football team doesn't have any seniors. The whole school has just grades nine through 11.
That did not keep Apalachee from winning its first-ever game last week, though. Banks County will get a crack at the Wildcats on Oct. 13.
Glascock County has the dubious distinction of the most consecutive losses by a high school team in the state with 62 straight defeats, a streak which was ended by a forfeit win.
The team won its first game on the field in the 1990s last year. This year, Glascock County opened with a 26-6 win over Stewart-Quitman.
The World Wrestling Federation and NBC have joined forces to produce a professional spring football league that will begin play next year as the Xtreme Football League.
Set to begin in the weeks following the Super Bowl, the league is supposed to offer a more raw edge to football.
Dick Butkus is the coach of the Chicago team, harking back to an era when the NFL played a more rugged brand of football.
The XFL is designed to be rougher, with no fair catch rule on punts, but based on some of the nicknames for the teams next year, I think it may be a little too rough.
The main problem I have is with New York-New Jersey team. They have chosen to be called the Hitmen.
In 1996, the NBA's Washington Bullets decided that their nickname made light of guns in a city that had led the nation in murder rate.
The Washington basketball team is now known as the Wizards.
I don't know if changing the Bullets' name was a good thing to do or not. But starting a sports team in the New York City area called the Hitmen does not seem to make a lot of sense.
Recent studies by the Justice Department show that violent crime has dropped significantly in New York City and the state.
Highlighting violence by the use of the nickname seems to make light of something that should always be taken seriously.
The WWF is fun show to watch, much like a cartoon. Simulated violence is a part of that show.
But the XFL will apparently be a true contest of athletes. Making a direct connection between football and murderers does not seem healthy.
The NFL has the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I am sure that pirates did kill people.
In baseball, the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians do use a Native American warrior as their mascot. Indeed, warriors like those killed people and were killed.
But we do not have to deal with much swashbuckling or battles on the prairies these days. The violent death of anyone at any time should not be trivialized, but there is a distance of history that removes much of the sting from pirates and Indians.
Murder for hire will always be a serious issue.
There are still several months before the season begins. Hopefully some changes will be made.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News.

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By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
August 30, 2000

'Ya gotta have heart!'
On a recent weekend, I covered the Banks County Fire Department's Boot Drive. What a job they had! There they were risking life and limb­on Hwy. 441 at the I-85 interchange no less­collecting money for children with Muscular Dystrophy These firemen are gutsy! And not just at fighting fires or making amazing rescues!
It was very hot that weekend. But not only did these guys, who were on their own time, brave the heat from the sun, but also the heat from the asphalt below. It was toasty out there, as I found out in doing interviews with the men and women. Dodging the heart-stopping traffic on Hwy. 441 alone was a major feat, but add a few semis passing you in both directions and you get an idea of what taking your life in your hands really means. Lieutenant Tim Smallwood said he liked it when the big trucks passed by. He said it provided for "a nice, cool breeze."
After spending a couple of hours with them, Captain Lee Burks told me that he needed more people to volunteer so that he could give the teams more breaks from the heat. He looked at me and asked if I'd like to join them over the weekend. Well, how can a girl refuse a guy in uniform! Especially for such a good cause! All the funds the fire department was raising were to stay in Banks and Jackson counties to help our own children with MD.
So Sunday afternoon, I went out to give them a hand for a few hours. What I didn't realize was that they were going to make me wear a fireman's helmet and carry one of those firemen's boots. That added several pounds to manage while doing a balancing act between lanes and collecting change and bills from passing motorists.
It didn't take long to figure out who was going to be generous and who did not want to be bothered. What I discovered, and it took me by surprise, was that the drivers of Caddys, Lincolns, Beamers (BMWs), Corvettes and Lexuses were the least likely to give. Maybe their car payments were too high and they didn't have a dime, literally, to spare. Or maybe they were just too cheap. I don't know. All I do know is that many of these drivers would not turn to face us or even acknowledge we were there at their windows asking for help for the kids. Elderly people were the most likely to totally ignore us. Hmmmm... Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?
On the other side of the coin, the crappiest-looking cars, family vans and SUVs, high school students and young adults heading off to UGA were the most generous. It is thanks to their generosity that the drive was such a success.
One father, who had just finished shopping with his teenagers for school clothes, asked me, "Are y'all collecting for us parents? We need a foundation to pay for all this stuff our kids want." We both laughed while his kids glowered in the back seat. He threw in a $20.
Young couples just starting out with babies of their own dug deep to help children in need. Children who didn't have as good a chance at life as their own happy, healthy babies. What hearts they had! Even teenagers and the college crowd found at least some "spare change" to give to the kids.
To all of you who opened your hearts and wallets, "Thank you from the bottom of my heart!" You gave me a view of American spirit that I hadn't seen in a while. More importantly, you gave hope and love to the children who suffer from this terrible disease and their families. On their behalf, "God Bless You All!"
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.

The Banks County News
August 30, 2000

Have a safe and fun Labor Day holiday
It's considered to be the last official day of summer. The last day for a long weekend trip. The last day to head to the lake or cook out by the pool. Labor Day is a holiday for students and many adults and plans are likely in the work for fun activities.
Those who plan to hit the road are encouraged to buckle up and not drink and drive. Law enforcement officers across Georgia will be on the roads this Labor Day weekend. A "Strap 'N Snap" campaign is planned with troopers and officers conducting road checkpoints across the state and issuing citations to those who don't have on a seat belt or have their children in car seats.
Enjoy the long holiday weekend, but be sure to make it a safe one.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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