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Column: Sports, sand gnats, and peculiar springs in SE Georgia

Springtime is a peculiar time for sports in Southeast Georgia.

The column reflects the views of the author and not necessarily of those of AllOnGeorgia. 

Pro Roof GA

The calendar says it’s spring. The first official day of the season was actually Tuesday of this week.

However, the weather outside in Southeast Georgia in recent days makes you question if spring has really sprung, what with the gusting winds that can put an immediate chill in your bones and the cool morning and evening temperatures that can make it feel like winter all over again.

But having lived in this neck of the woods for most of my life, I am fully aware that the month of March can be a bit peculiar when it comes to what Mother Nature will give us.

About the only thing crazier than the weather this time of year might be that thing called March Madness. What has college basketball come to, really? Loyola-Chicago versus Nevada in the Sweet 16 with the winner going on to play this weekend for a spot in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.

This is what Atlanta gets this weekend for the South Regional. Are you kidding me?

I’m not surprised by that, though. I knew this tournament had the potential to a wild ride that would likely make James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, roll over in his grave a time or two before a national champion is crowned.

I also knew the 70-degree weather we experienced down here in February probably had about as good a chance of lasting until spring arrived as I have of finding a reasonably-priced ticket to the Masters in two weeks. If you need clarification, that means little to no chance!

I’m resigned to the fact that I will probably be watching the television coverage from Augusta National once again on my widescreen, but here’s hoping the azaleas are at least still in full bloom come tournament week. That Tiger Woods Sunday Red will look even better in HD with the pink and white flowers sprouting alongside the fairways of Amen Corner.

You know, nothing signals the arrival of spring in Georgia quite like the Masters. If you’ve never been you can’t really appreciate the beauty of the sprawling old nursery property that makes it so appealing to the human eye.

So much about it says Georgia to me, specifically springtime in the Peach State. There are the towering pines swaying in the gentle breezes that sometimes turn into howling winds. There are the blooming magnolias and dogwoods and of course the famed aforementioned azaleas in their usual variety of colors.

And while I’m not necessarily a big fan of Pimento cheese, a Masters Pimento cheese sandwich is a must-eat item while sitting along the tightly-mowed fairways watching the world’s best players shoot for birdies as if you were enjoying a picnic with the kids in your favorite neighborhood park on a Saturday afternoon.

But for the sports fan in Georgia, there are several other yearly occurrences that are synonymous with springtime such as the start of another Braves baseball season, spring football practice for the Georgia Bulldogs and turkey hunting season which fires off this weekend across the state.

And for a high school athletic director in the state, spring means long days at the office, which really is the baseball park, the tennis court, the track and field complex, the golf links or maybe the soccer pitch. Any combination of these sports can be going on simultaneously most any day other than Sunday, meaning the local AD has a loaded schedule during the final few months of the school year.

Yes, spending an afternoon at the golf course and an evening at the baseball field sounds like fun. And, it can be as long as you have an ample supply of sunscreen for the daylight action and insect repellent by the truckloads to ward off the pesky sand gnats that love to chew on your skin both day and night.

Good luck with those aggravating creatures, by the way, Steve Waters. (He is the athletic director for Glynn County Schools.)

I just hope he has found the right concoction to scare them away and hopefully he is willing to share because it looks like I will be at the same practice and playing fields in the coming days, tracking the area prep scene for All On Georgia which is interested in expanding its sports coverage on its digital platforms.

We’ll cover the breaking news, develop features on teams and players and look into state-wide issues that will affect area schools in addition to writing opinion pieces related to any hot-button topics in the sports world. These are liable to put fire in your bellies if you disagree with our slant on an issue, but one or more of these commentaries might just make you smile and laugh, too.

A well-written column should stir the emotions of the reader or at least be thought-provoking. That thought might even have you asking yourself “what is this idiot thinking and how did he ever get out of journalism school with a degree in hand?”

I’m blessed to be able to say I graduated from one of the best J-schools in the country – Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. There, I got the tools to go out and write for newspapers, magazines and web sites locally, across the state and region and throughout the nation, too.

I’ve also done some sports broadcasting in recent years, which really I just tried after listening to legends in Georgia radio such as Larry Munson and Skip Carey for many a year going all the way back to my little league days.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing, watching and covering sports in the media. Here, we’re about to dive into high school, college and maybe even pro sports, all of which are compelling to both local and statewide audiences.

The spring is a good time to roll up the sleeves and go to work.

But first, I’ve got to find my sand gnat spray – the most important item for a freelance sports journalist in South Georgia in the spring other than a notepad and pen.

Writer – Kevin Price- Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with over 20 years in sports journalism and communications. 

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Rex Stalvey

    March 23, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Another good column by a good writer.

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