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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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 AngieEditor@aol.com.
The Banks County News
October 18, 2000
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.