Banks County Opinions...

October 18, 2000

By Drew Brantley
The Banks County News
October 18, 2000

One last focus on jumps, screams
I enjoyed a rare if not unique experience this weekend. I don't mean to say that I discovered a way to produce unlimited power from a glass of tap water, but it was a series of events that have never happened to me before.
Covering the high school softball teams of Jefferson, Commerce and Banks County at the Class AA and A sectional tournament, I knew that three teams in one day would be a chore. While I had Adam Fouche's help for each team's first game, after all the local teams had won those games, I was left alone to report on three state-tourney-clinching games all going on at the same time.
I made fairly quick laps around the complex in the early innings to try and keep up with things. Jefferson made it easy by jumping to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Banks County made it easy by playing a 0-0 tie for the first five innings or so. Commerce made it convenient by playing a close and longer game than the other two.
I was able to witness Banks County's 3-1 win and ensuing celebration. When I had finished that roll of film, I moved on to the Jefferson game. While not close in score, it was close to the end of the game. Jefferson soon spread hugs and hand slaps for their win and upcoming trip to Columbus.
Then on to Commerce, who won an ugly hard-fought victory over Schley County, which, by the way, is pronounced something similar to the word "sly."
The Tigers closed out the third celebration in the span of 15 minutes or so.
It is the kind of event that causes anxiety in the back of my mind. I can hear myself giving not-so-subtle advice: "Get in focus. Wait for some of them to turn toward the camera. Get in focus. You have to get a good photo of this. Get in focus. Were any of them in focus?"
I have never had the opportunity to cover so much success around the same time by so many teams. I do not think this event is akin to being struck by lightning on the same day every year or catching the same fish two seasons apart, but it was special in my experience.
It was also a good way to go out. I will remember that the final event I covered for MainStreet Newspapers was a winner to the third power.
But looking at the way I came in, it seems fitting that I go out in a blaze of glory as well.
My first day on the job, I watched Daniel Carder and the Commerce boys' basketball team be mediocre for nearly four quarters and spectacular for one minute to claim a spot in the state basketball tournament. Carder was almost perfect as the Tigers overcame a 10-point deficit in just more than 60 seconds to close out the victory.
I will remember watching Orlando Wiley break and set the Class A high jump record in 1998. I shared watching him clear the bar with most everyone at the Georgia Olympics that morning.
Occasionally, I recall how the Commerce competitive cheerleaders jumped around screaming and crying after they won the state meet last year. I don't know what the proper response for winning a championship is. I don't think anybody else does either.
For teenage girls, it seems to be jumping up and down while screaming and crying.
But jumping, crying and screaming kind of go with the territory of covering all high school sports.
Though not always the product of celebration, the three just about cover the whole experience. Bounding cheerleaders, bellowing hand-cupped coaches and wincing tears that come after a turned ankle are among those things that add to the action during and after the games. They are all images that I witnessed.
Some of them I captured on film and put in the paper. Some of them were captured on film as blurs of action and color that were way out of focus.
But they are all captured with perfect clarity in my memory.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor of The Commerce News and The Banks County News.

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By Angie Gary
The Banks County News
October 18, 2000

Baseball bats and a big horse track
Baseball bats and horse tracks are two things that have never been top on my list of favorite things. I haven't held a baseball bat since my elementary school days and have thought about them very little, if at all. As for horse tracks, I have never been to one, thought about one or planned my vacation around visiting one.
Despite this, I found myself on a recent business trip visiting a large baseball factory/museum and the most well-known horse track in the country. Neither one are places I would have visited had I been on my own, but I didn't find a lot of other things within walking distance of the hotel we were at. So I decided to tag along with two male co-workers to visit the Slugger Museum and the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchhill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
The Louisville Slugger Museum catches your attention several blocks before you actually arrive at the building. A huge baseball bat, taller than the five-story building next to the museum, greets visitors as they arrive. It is the world's largest bat.
Inside, visitors walk through the factory as employees are busy at work making the bats. I had never thought about how bats are made, but it really is interesting. It is also a very loud process. The Louisville Slugger Bat Factory was established in 1884 and is the world's largest manufacturer of baseball bats at over one million each year.
In the museum portion of the complex, bats and memorabilia from baseball stars are displayed. I'm not as familiar with baseball stars as Mark and Zach are, but I did recognize a few recent names, such as Sammy Sosa, and a few really well-known older ones, like Babe Ruth.
Louisville is perhaps best known for the Kentucky Derby, which is held each year during the first weekend in May. People come from all over the country for this race and millions of dollars are won (or lost). Other races are held in the spring and fall at the track which is America's most historic and famous thoroughbred racetrack. The track was established in 1874 and is a one-mile oval and the facility covers 166 acres.
The track was empty during our tour, but it was easy to imagine the stands filled with cheering fans and horses racing around the track. It sounds like a cliche, but you really can feel the history of the track when you visit.
Our tour guide provided interesting facts about the Kentucky Derby race, including that only three fillies have won over the years. We also stopped for a quick glimpse at one of the thoroughbred horses and a miniature horse.
The museum has memorabilia from past derbies and interactive displays. One game allows "riders" to test their skills against others in a horse race. Another area has a scale similar to one where horses are weighted. Guests can hop on and check out their weight. Zach and Mark both had no qualms about jumping on the scales, but I quickly declined. That is one of the differences between men and women.
I now have a much better appreciation for baseball bats and horse tracks. I also realized that I should expand my horizons on trips and check out things that don't interest me that much. I might be surprised and enjoy myself, while also learning something.
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald and editor of The Banks County News. She can be reached at

The Banks County News
October 18, 2000

Political coverage should only be 'real' news events
Candidate fund-raisers are not news events.
A "press release" that a particular organization "endorses" a candidate is not news.
A "rally" sponsored by one party to push their candidates is not a news events.
During political seasons, especially the last few weeks before an election, some people get a warped view of what makes a news event. A political forum of all candidates sponsored by a non-partial group is a news events. Although covering one forum gleans just as much information as covering three in a two-week period.
It has always been our policy to only publish real "news" during an election season. Coverage of political forums and question/answer surveys sent out to the candidates are among the news we will provide this election season to make our readers as informed as possible before going to the polls on Nov. 7.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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