More Jackson County Opinions...

January 31, 2001

By Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
January 31, 2001

Reality shows are ruining real reality
The conclusion of Sunday night's Super Bowl began another season of Survivor. The show no doubt attracted a large viewership and was as much a buzz at the water cooler Monday morning as the Super Bowl itself.
Survivor follows a long history of reality-based shows, including Cops, the Real World, Big Brother and Temptation Island. All of them have, ironically, struck an interest among Americans in reality television.
And though I found myself doing my work with Survivor glowing on the TV in the background, the country's fascination with these shows amazes me.
Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars to escape the real world. We buy airline tickets to exotic islands, take trips to the mountains and beaches and purchase tickets and flock by the hundreds to sporting events and amusement parks.
And until our TVs were overrun with reality, we escaped from our own existence into the living rooms of blissful and fictional TV families. Now, here we are, leaving our own world to enter someone else's-someone else's real world.
Though each of us function within a certain reality, we find others' lives to be more interesting than our own. We laugh at their jokes; we cringe when they are hurt; and we cry when they cry. It's almost as if they become a part of our own lives.
But what does this habit say about our society?
Sure, these shows are interesting. And sure, we sometimes feel better about our own situation when we know that someone else has a harder life than we have.
Yet, instead of enjoying the many sophistications and triumphs of our real life, we'd rather escape to a couch in a dark room and dive into a "real" fantasy world-one not much different than our own.
Families hardly enjoy a meal together anymore and even more seldom do they spend time together having fun. In fact, conversation is often limited to that which is a necessity: "What's for dinner?" "Clean your room" and, "Can I have some money?"
Instead of expressing interest in one another, we rush to the TV to find out who's getting voted off the island and who is having an argument with whom.
And yes, I will admit that I have fallen victim to the perils of reality television myself. I sometimes watch Cops and even the Real World.
But perhaps we'd all be better off by turning the TV off every now and then and spending more time with our friends and family. Play a board game. Take a walk in the woods. Or just have a civil conversation about your own real life.
No one can deny that TV has nearly spoilt Americans. Most of us are unhealthy. A lot of us are lazy. And many more don't know anything about what's going on besides who is sleeping with whom on Temptation Island.
And though I'm not suggesting getting rid of TV altogether, I think moderating its use would be beneficial to everyone.
After all, we all have our own reality-based show. It airs everyday and it's on all day long. You just have to put out a little effort sometimes to keep it interesting.
But if we'd all make the effort to put down the potato chips, get up off the coach and do something, our own reality wouldn't seem that bad.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
January 31, 2001

Panther ­ Dragon wrestling: A thrilling matchup
Last week's Tri-County Duals offerd a serving of something we don't see very often around here ­ a dual meet wrestling tournament.
Dual meet tournaments are quite different from ordinary individual tournaments, and give us another viewpoint as to which is the better team.
Not to take anything away from the standard individual tournaments, though. They, too, are a pretty accurate measure of a team's strength, just in a different way.
The ideal format for a wrestling tournament would be similar to that used at Jefferson's Keen Classic, in which both dual meet and individual tournament results are added in the final tally.
But that's another column . . .
From the outset, it was pretty obvious that the Tri-County Duals would come down to a Jefferson-Jackson County finale. Loganville was the only team with a real shot at playing the spoiler, but the Red Devils came up short against Jefferson in the semifinals.
The Panther-Dragon matchup featured kids who've known one another for years ­ cruised our roads together, dated one another's friends, attended church together, and who knows what else.
It was a lot like getting together with your old high school pals for a pickup basketball game in the driveway.
And so before the first whistle blew, this meeting between the perennial powerhouse and its talented playmate looked to be a draw, with the Panthers possibly having a slim edge.
Through the early matches, the meet more than lived up to its billing, the score virtually even. Then came those moments that come in every sports event, those times we all expect but are still surprised by.
Over the course of four matches, Jackson County took over the meet, winning three of four (two of which they shouldn't have) and losing the fourth by a narrow margin.
The Panthers had accomplished something Jefferson has been renowned for ­ beating people they shouldn't ­ and in the process had put the Dragons on their heels going into the higher weight classes.
The end result was still up in the air, but Jackson County picked up at least one more upset (and as many as three, depending on whom you ask) in the final five matches to pull away.
Perhaps it's the fact that this writer knew most of the kids involved on both sides, or perhaps it was just the thrill of these guys who very much like one another going at it head-to-head. Whichever it was, they provided all the fans in attendance one of the most thrilling events of the season.
If you looked closely, you might even have caught the brothers Thurmond smiling at one another across the mat as each tried to out-strategize the other. It was a thing of beauty, and I for one would like to see it more often.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald.

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