It's Time To Stand Eyeball to Eyeball

 
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Originally published on August 22, 2019 in the Tribune & Georgian

Alright sports fans, it’s that time again. The most magical time of year. We’ve prepared. Practiced. Sweated it out with the humidity and gnats and skeeters, dodging rainstorms at every turn. The time has come to tee it up at famed Chris Gilman stadium, stand eyeball to eyeball, see who is best. Indeed, it is football time.

I’m proud to be a Camden county wildcat. Friday night lights in South Georgia are a spectacle to behold. Our area has produced more than its share of talent. College recruiters can devote a lifetime to these fertile fields south of Macon, south of the gnat line. Where the sprawl and suburbs end and the real Georgia emerges.

It’s a mystery as to why South Georgia produces such great athletes. Maybe it’s the bugs, or the onions, or the cornfields. Maybe it’s the muck and gumbo and practicing in the heat of summer. No one can say for sure but I think it a combination.

One thing is for sure, in all these little towns that dot our landscape the Friday night game is the main attraction of the autumn months. There is a lot on the line. Town pride. County pride. Region pride. Bragging rights. Those bright lights can be seen for miles, a beacon of truth. On Friday nights we can shake off the stress of the week and put our bunch up against their bunch to see who wants it more. The famed Erk Russell used to call it “a bad case of the wants.”

A true sight to behold. The cheerleaders. The band. The fans. Man it really gets my blood pumping. Of course I was raised on football. It is imbedded deep in my DNA. Both my father and grandfather coached high school ball. As a kid I was lucky enough to be on the sidelines at historic Memorial Stadium most Friday nights. The smell of boiled peanuts and hot dogs wafting through the air, seemingly the entire town in attendance.

Back then it was three yards and a cloud of dust. No one dare pass the ball. Run the option or run it up the gut, a toss sweep if you were feeling adventurous. Play some stout defense. Old men with radio headsets interspersed in the crowd, tuned in to the local announcers. Speaking of which, here in Camden we have a fantastic radio crew. Definitely worth tuning in your radio dial, I greatly enjoy listening to them.

Truth is, long before we moved to Camden county I heard tell of the football team. Those giants of region 1. The Columbia blue and white. The mighty wildcats. Legends of the fall. My familiarity with Camden football led me to investigate where Camden actually was located which led me to investigate the schools and cost of living all of which led me to move my family and farm. For that I’m eternally grateful. Now squarely in the bosom of paradise I rest.

Football can be more than a game. It can be a economic engine, something to hang your hat on. Yes, I am proud to be a Camden County Wildcat. Sure the game has evolved and changed and is more fun than ever to watch. No more three yards and a cloud of dust.

We should be in for a treat this year. I tip my cap to all the coaches and players. Thank you for your hard work. Have fun, be safe.

We stand ready to cheer you on to victory.