Madison County Opinion...

NOVEMBER 13, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
November 13, 2002

Frankly Speaking
Flag bit Barnes, will Perdue do better?
It was amazing to watch. Soon to be former governor Roy Barnes spent $20 million on a campaign for governor. He lost to a $10 scrap of cloth!
As I predicted, the flag cost Barnes and the state Democrats a great deal. It cost them control over the state government. But the flag was not the cause of their defeat. It was a symptom of the true problem.
The Georgia Democratic Party has been taken over by special interest groups and liberals, mostly located within the city of Atlanta. As a result, they have acted as if Atlanta was the sum total of Georgia. Everything they did was designed to benefit the city, with total disregard to the needs and desires of the rest of the state.
Consider the real reason the flag was changed. Atlanta wanted to host a NCAA basketball tournament. The nation’s academic community is leading the effort to destroy all things Southern. They announced that they would not allow the tournament to come to Atlanta unless the flag was changed.
Atlanta’s political and business communities decided that they had to have the money the tournament would bring. So, with the help of several major businesses, including Coca Cola, they devised the back room tactic used to force a new flag on the citizens of Georgia against the will of the majority.
Realizing that they were losing the rest of Georgia, the Atlanta based Democrats forced through an absurd redistricting plan they thought would keep them in power. They acted to protect their stronghold in Atlanta then ripped the rest of the state into shreds.
In order to control the schools, they set up a new education program under the governor’s office and used it to strip the state’s constitutional head of the school system of her powers.
In order to direct more highway money from the rest of Georgia into the Atlanta area, they set up a new transportation authority that tried to take power from the state’s constitutional Department of Transportation.
This effort by the Atlanta-based Democratic Party to dominate all of Georgia for the city’s benefit became clear to those of us outside that troubled city. We grew tired of being the doormats for the Atlanta big-wigs. When the opportunity came on Nov. 5, we revolted.
It was not an organized revolt. Sonny Perdue did not have major political support. His failure to attract campaign money made that clear. The voters did not so much choose Perdue. They rejected Barnes and the Atlanta Democrats. That is something Perdue and the Republicans need to keep in mind.
Now, back to the flag. Perdue is already talking about putting the flag “on the back burner.” That would not be a good idea. We the people are still in a rebellious mood. The flag represents that rebellion. If Perdue and the Republicans ignore the people and their flag, the 2004 elections are likely to be even more explosive.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
November 13, 2002

From the Editor's Desk
The ‘ESPN-ization’ of sports
I will not spike the ball. (So 80s).
I will not flap my arms like a chicken or other dirty bird. (So 1998).
I will not do as Earl Campbell did years ago, which was run parallel to the goal line to seek out another defender to pummel before scoring six. (Which was actually pretty cool).
I will not pull a pen out of my sock to autograph the football before handing the pigskin to my agent in the stands. (Already been done).
No, when I’m about to score my first NFL touchdown, I will slow down at the five-yard line, long enough to pull a cell phone from a special pocket. I will then pretend to order a pizza, only to have a delivery guy waiting on me with an enormous pepperoni pizza at the back of the end zone. Once there, my teammates and I will enjoy the meal to the dismay of our opponents.
Once I have applied the napkin to my mouth, I will remove my shirt and pads, showing off an enormous ad stenciled on the skin of my back — the way pro fighters do these days for casinos. But my ad will be for Dominos or Pizza Hut, or some other chain.
Don’t be surprised if you see someone actually do this.
O.K., not me, but somebody.
Yes, there’s an obvious “ESPN-ization” — granted, it’s an atrocious attempt at coining a word — of the sports world where a big dunk gets a “booyah” and a layup gets ignored, where a pass is only special if it’s behind the back, where you are cool if you do something gaudy enough to raise a fuss, like pull a pen out of your sock to sign a football after a touchdown as Terrell Owens recently did.
Now, I enjoy ESPN. And the highlight reels are wonderful for sports fans like me. But they do seem to have an effect on behavior on fields and courts. A sort of “What can I do to make Sportscenter?”
Too often the answer doesn’t stop with just doing something spectacular. It requires a brilliant play followed by a spectacle of how proud a player is of his dominance.
Of course, the braggadocio element is nothing new in sports.
There’s always been smack talk, posturing and a general desire to show up the other guy.
But today’s big-time sports culture has gone beyond that. There is a market like never before for self-aggrandizing behavior.
I generally laugh at the goofy posturing after a monster dunk or a touchdown, equating it with the foolish trash talk one pro wrestler offers another.
Other times, I’m irritated, particularly if it’s a team I’m rooting for. I think: Yes, beautiful play. But you already had our attention. Why do have to act so desperately to hold on to the attention? It cheapens what you did.
Of course, there has been a push in college football to curtail self-congratulatory nonsense in recent years. Referees have started calling more celebration penalties, which is good, except they’ve gone overboard at times, punishing genuine elation over a great play, instead of limiting penalties to spotlight-seeking individuals.
Hopefully, more sports figures will learn to recognize the truth, that cool is quiet confidence, not a loud “look at me” and that success is not limited to an appearance on “Plays of the Week.” It’s more often the silent thing that helped someone else shine.
Some guys — i.e. Herschel Walker — gain a reputation for handing the ball back to the referee after a touchdown, for acting like they’ve “been there before.”
Unfortunately, the Terrell Owens style of rub-it-in-your-face theatrics will surely continue.
And don’t be surprised when that cell phone call to the pizza man finds its way into an NFL game.
It’s gaudy enough to work.
And, hey, I have sure hands. I can catch a pass. I like pizza.
It’s the 6.2 speed in the 40. That’s the trouble.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

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