Banks County Opinions...

MARCH 12, 2003


Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
March 12, 2003

Nothing should stop the fun of vacations
A sinus infection, an unexplained (and sudden) nauseous afternoon, two blisters from wearing new shoes, two shaving wounds, bad sunburn and a sprained ankle...
It may sound like a lot of negative stuff but none of this stopped me from having a wonderful seven-day Caribbean cruise.
Just one of the above things could ruin a trip for some people, but not me. Cruising is a wonderful way to travel and I had a wonderful vacation despite a few setbacks.
I started out the cruise with a sinus infection. I had some antibiotics from an earlier visit to the doctor and they cleared up the problem in just a few days.
It didn’t stop me from lounging on the deck and soaking up some sun or traipsing around Mexico.
About the time the sinus infection cleared up, I got sick very suddenly one afternoon. We had been walking around Key West in the hot sun and had snacked on a slice of key lime pie dipped in chocolate and served on a stick and raw oysters (not at the same time, of course). All of this must have led to my sickness.
Hanging my head over the sidewalk in view of hundreds of people while I was sick tops as one of my most embarrassing moments.
There can’t be much worse that doing this in public. I just sat down on the sidewalk and wiped my face off with my T-shirt.
I’m sure some people thought I had visited some of the bars in Key West, but I promise that I didn’t. I was fine in a few hours and didn’t even have to miss dinner on board the ship.
The next day, I spent five or six hours on the deck in the sunshine. That night, I had at least 20 blisters on my left shoulder. This was the only spot that was blistered which is still a mystery to me. It was so sore that I had to be careful how I slept that night.
Add to all this, a blister on each foot from wearing new sandals one day and two cuts on my leg from trying to balance and shave in the very small bathroom on the ship and you have quite a week.
My friend also had a sprained ankle which led to us juggling crutches with our luggage as we traveled.
I’m sharing all of my (mis)adventures to make a very important point—don’t let anything stop you from having a good time on vacation. We save all year and use our precious few days off for these vacations and we should get the most of them.
Nothing slowed me down from having a great time as we sailed from New Orleans to Mexico to Key West. I ate way too much food, including lobster, prime rib and filet mignon, saw some new sites and got a nice golden tan.
I also didn’t miss much on board the ship, including the midnight chocolate buffet, the nightly entertainment and the pool-side activities, including the hilarious belly flop contest.
No, I didn’t enter this one, although I could have with all of the food I ate. I also caught up on my sleep and read a few mystery books. Nothing beats taking a nap in the middle of the day.
Happy traveling!
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.

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Column

By: Bill Shipp
The Banks County News
March 12, 2003

A tale of two presidents
Michael Adams probably wishes he could change places with Kirby Godsey.
Godsey, on the brink of retirement as the accomplished president of Mercer University, is edging toward a race for the U.S. Senate to succeed Zell Miller.
Adams, the UGA president and recognized national champion of ethics in collegiate athletics, is hurtling toward becoming the center of attention in one of the worst sports scandals in university history.
Until the current allegations of corruption erupted in Bulldogs basketball, Adams, 55, looked on paper like a near-perfect candidate for high political office in Georgia.
A former chief aide to GOP Sen. Howard Baker, Adams has presided over an unprecedented era of expansion since becoming UGA president in 1997. Though he is not universally beloved in Athens, Adams has received, until recently, high marks across the state for his political acumen and sense of timing.
He has adroitly maneuvered the university through the choppy waters of litigation involving racial preferences. He has attracted some of the most talented faculty in the country.
The student body tests among the top 20 in public universities in the nation. Infrastructure improvements abound on the campus.
Alas, Adams’ tenure may be most remembered for his involvement in sports. He played a major role in sacking UGA football coach Jim Donnan, when he decided the coach had lost control of the football team. (Besides, it wasn’t winning.)
The university president next ordered the firing of Ron Jirsa, a losing basketball coach. Then Adams led the recruitment of nationally known (notorious in some quarters) Jim Harrick Sr. to coach basketball.
To his everlasting credit, Adams was instrumental in bringing to Georgia Mark Richt - a head football coach who could both win ball games and speak passable English. Old-timers at Georgia thought Adams unnecessarily invaded the turf of venerable athletic director Vince Dooley in his zeal to refashion Bulldog sports.
So be it. Adams was on a roll. He became a leading voice on the nationally acclaimed Knight Commission, impaneled to return purity to intercollegiate athletics.
Then, back in Athens, the Adams yarn started to unravel. The first inkling: Adams announces a multimillion-dollar contract for Coach Richt just days after the state reveals it could not find enough public money for academic scholarships.
Sure, Richt’s fat raise came from private funds, while the scholarships were underwritten by taxpayers.
In a time of austerity, however, awarding such a whopping salary increase was seen as plainly arrogant and uncaring.
Now comes the Harrick affair with tales of academic fraud, player payoffs, unbridled nepotism and who knows what else.
Nothing like this has happened at UGA since the 1980s when the Jan Kemp football-academics uproar led to the resignation of Fred Davison as president.
Meanwhile, in Macon, a Baptist preacher named Kirby Godsey, 66, is winding up a controversy-marked career as president of Mercer University. He says he is considering a bid for the Senate.
Like Adams, Godsey has led his school to new heights. The Mercer School of Medicine is widely recognized for training hard-to-find primary-care physicians for rural areas.
Mercer’s law and theology schools have received national accolades. Also like Adams, Godsey is not without detractors.
Conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention and the Georgia Baptist Convention have labeled him a heretic for failure to subscribe to the literal meaning of the Bible.
The conservative Baptists have repeatedly threatened to withdraw support from Mercer because of Godsey’s “liberal views.” (A “liberal” in Baptist land is often regarded as an arch-conservative in the rest of the universe.)
Despite the squabbles, Godsey enjoys the loyal support of thousands of wealthy Baptists and others who have given record sums to Mercer. Under Godsey, Mercer University Press has become one of the most active academic publishers in the country.
But Godsey has no experience in seeking elective office. Like many others before him, he may find that his talents, which served him well at Mercer, are liabilities in an election campaign.
He also may not understand that success in academics or business or even the pulpit does not translate into victory in a knock-down, drag-out statewide campaign against veteran political candidates.
So, for the sake of Georgia, it would be nice if Adams and Godsey could swap career paths. If the sports scandal has not already bruised him too badly, Adams appears perfect in manner, speech and background for a run for the Senate.
He could leave the athletics tangle behind and set his aim on Washington.
And the athletic department in Athens appears ripe for salvation before it’s too late. The Rev. Dr. Godsey might be just the right man for the job.
You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160 or by calling (770) 422-2543, e-mail: bshipp@bellsouth.net, Web address: http://www.billshipp.com


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