Recently I’ve started watching the show Friday Night Lights again. Let me just say- this is partially important because I’m not a big TV show person. I don’t have the patience to sit through an hour-long episode nor do I usually have the time to keep up with a series. But I figure with pre-season football kicking in and the fall season quickly approaching, revisiting a show that revolves around high school football is one of the best ways to get me hyped up for what’s to come.
Watching this series has also made me think about a couple of things. For one, why do we as a society rally so much around a sport that’s played by boys no older than 18-years-old? Second, do we put too much pressure on athletes who play the game? And finally, is the hype and the pressure truly worth it?
I think the answer can be summed up pretty easily- yes. And why? For love of the game.
But the love of the game is different for each of us. We’re not all going to attend every single football game or spend thousands of dollars to sit in Sanford every Saturday. We all have our limits, and in my opinion that’s perfectly okay.
I like to say that there’s something about having a team that you love that will get inside of you and never leave. I find it fascinating that there are towns across America like Dillon, Texas that will show up in the thousands to support their Panthers. Coaches and players are local celebrities, and you get your butt in the stands every Friday night just as religiously as a pew on Sunday morning. I came from a high school of nearly 4,000 students and a county of almost one million people, but the same spirit that rallies much smaller towns across the country still pulses through mine.
Yes, oftentimes I’m afraid that means we put too much pressure on the athletes who play the game. In my own personal experience, at the high school level we had so many students that it was nearly impossible to know the daily goings-on at the field house. But it was that age-old cycle of that when we would win, the coaches and players would be praised. One loss and the attitude switched faster than the direction of a twister.
But one of the many great things about this country is we have the freedom of choice in many of our decisions. Even though the athletes and coaches who play these games catch a lot of grief, they still have the choice to walk away. Some do. But for those who don’t? I’d venture to say it’s for love of the game.
When it comes to putting pressure on athletes, especially young ones, I believe the relationship is a two-way street. They should know what they’re doing, but despite all the love we have for the game, we need to understand when enough is enough. I’ve heard the term “daddy ball” thrown around a lot before, and it makes me sad to think that there are parents out there who try to live through their children. It’s important to love and support them, but even more important to let them develop their own love for their game.
Finally, like I mentioned earlier, everyone’s love for the game is different. My Papa Skip, who I probably talk to the most about sports, has a different appreciation for them than I do. I’ll use UGA football as an example. He attended classes at UGA- I never have. He still goes every year to the UGA/Florida game in Jacksonville- I’ve only gone once. He pays each year to have season tickets for the home games- I CERTAINLY don’t do that, although when he doesn’t want them I get first dibs (thanks Papa!)
The point I’m trying to make is while we all may say we love sports, we each love them differently. We each have a certain line we’re willing to cross. But at the same time, come Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or playoffs, we rally behind our team. And we each get our butts in the stands. Why? For love of the game.
About five years ago I told my dad, who is one of my biggest fans but also one of the most blunt people you’ll ever meet, that I wanted to be the first female head coach in the NFL.
“You can’t do that, Lauren,” he said.
“Why?” I argued.
I was expecting some drawn-out response about how I didn’t know enough about football.
“Because you can’t go in the men’s locker room,” he said flatly.
Ah, I hadn’t thought of that.
That was my senior year of high school, and never did I think I would be where I am now.
I grew up an UGA fan; my grandad attended college there in the ’60s and the red and black passed down into my veins. I learned to spell Georgia by chanting the fight song in my head (I still do subconsciously whenever I have to write it out!) I had an UGA cheerleader outfit and one of my baby pictures has me holding a stuffed bulldog. One of my nana’s fondest memories is of dancing around the living room with me as an infant when Georgia scored a big touchdown against Georgia Tech. I’ve never considered myself athletic, but I believe I owe a lot of my passion for sports to Papa Skip and Nana.
Flash forward a few years and the first time I stepped foot on a sideline was as a cheerleader for the 8th grade Mill Creek rec football league. Cheerleading was not for me, and within a year I traded in pom poms for a six-foot flag pole as a member of the Mill Creek High School Colorguard.
In high school I lived for Friday night lights, and I have many fond memories of screaming myself hoarse for the Hawks while in the stands with the marching band. It was a well-known fact that I was the most spirited person in the band when it came to football, and while my coach would be yelling at me to pay attention during our warm-ups I’d be busy trying to figure out how much yardage we’d gotten from the last pass.
I guess my fellow classmates took note of my love for the game as well, because they voted me their Homecoming Queen my senior year. That is still one of my all-time favorite memories from high school- hearing my name called while standing on the 50 surrounded by family and friends.
I graduated from Mill Creek in 2015 but I had a hard time staying away from Markham Field. The University of North Georgia doesn’t have a football team, and Mill Creek decided to get really good the year after I left (this was the fall of 2015, the year they got knocked out by Colquitt County one round before the state championship.)
In the spring of 2016 I heard of an opportunity to work for the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A minor league affiliate for the Atlanta Braves. Needing a summer job but hoping to avoid retail, I took it. I spent the next two summers as a Guest Relations Representative scanning tickets and welcoming fans. In addition to my already-sound knowledge of football, I learned all I could about America’s favorite pastime and a new love was born.
I spent one more summer at Coolray Field before graduating college, and this time it was as a member of the Promotional Team. That may be the most fun I ever had at work. Our team set up the on-field promotional games, signed up contestants, sold 50/50 raffle tickets and overall worked to make sure people had a good time. I certainly did- the memories I made with my team that year will forever be some of my favorites.
For a while I told people that I wasn’t interested in sports journalism, but the Lord as he fortunately often does had other plans. I got the opportunity to intern with the UNG Athletic Department my senior year of college, and I left Gwinnett County to plant some roots in the North Georgia mountains.
Two months ago I still wasn’t certain that I’d ever work in sports again, but when baseball started back up I knew I couldn’t live without it. I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to apply with FetchYourNews.com, and even more fortunate to get an offer. And here we are.
I don’t tell you all this to brag on my accomplishments or give you some long-winded biography. I want to be just as much a part of your community as you all are now a part of my daily life. When I come to your sideline I want to know each of you and each of you know me. Part of being a great sports reporter is establishing a relationship with your team and community. Part of that relationship includes establishing trust, and how can you can trust someone if you don’t even know them?
One of the biggest reasons I keep working in sports is because of the the communities they create and the people I get to meet. There’s something about having a team to rally around that gets inside of you and never leaves. The people I have met so far and the connections I have made are priceless and will forever be a part of who I am and a big reason for why I do what I do.
So here’s to the journey ahead, and here’s to memories that are yet to be made and the relationships yet to be formed. I can’t wait North Georgia!
TeamFetchYourNews Sports Reporter’s Player of the Week goes out to 88 Jalen Ingram. Jalen Ingram is a Sophomore at Fannin County High School. Ingram plays Tight End and Defensive Line for the Fannin Rebels. Ingram played a good game Friday night, scoring a 24-yard touchdown for the Rebels. Ingram gained a combined total of 75+ yards in kickoff returns for the Rebels. In the third quarter of the game on Friday, Holloway made a 30-yard connection with Ingram getting the Rebels closer to Trojans red zone.
The Fannin County High School Rebels took on the North Hall High School Trojans Friday night for their third game in the regional conference. The Trojans came out of the locker room ready to rumble and executed offensive plays to gain the win over the Rebels, 62-13.
In the first quarter, the Rebels received the kickoff and started on their own 20-yard line. The Rebels attempted to find holes in Trojan’s defense but was limited. 12 Luke Holloway made a 24-yard connection to 88 Jalen Ingram for the first touchdown of the game. Shortly after, Holloway gained a 10-yard touchdown rush, 86 Sarah Sosebee with the extra point put 13 on the scoreboard for the last time of the night. The Rebels had a combined total of 137-yards compared to Trojans 248-yards, and a score of 27-13 Trojans.
The second quarter was even more difficult for the Rebels as they tried to get down field but between incomplete passes, flags for ‘false starts’ and ‘offsides’, the Rebels just didn’t have luck on their side. The Rebels gained 15-yards compared to Trojans’ 144-yards, 41-13 Trojans.
Coming out of halftime, the Rebels pulled together more yards than the previous quarter, a combined total of 85-yards, but the glimmer of hope the Rebels felt when the Trojan’s end zone was in sight, was snuffed out by an interception. The Trojans gained 142-yards adding to their lead, 55-13.
The Fannin Rebels suffered a great loss during the third quarter when 15 Chandler Kendall, a senior at FCHS, was seriously injured after colliding with a Trojan. Kendall played his very first season of high school football this year and since has had some great plays on the field. Kendall was also featured as last week’s Player of the Week for TeamFYNSports.
Kendall’s father shared, “Update on Chandler… Broken collarbone but not displaced 4 to 6 weeks. He said he was thankful for the life long memories made over the last 8 weeks. He would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Had a blast AWESOME EXPERIENCE.”
In the fourth quarter, the Trojans opted to run the clock out after their 80-yard touchdown, with the extra point, the Trojans had a decimating lead of 62-13. While in possession, the Rebels broke even on yards after a tackle for a loss of 5-yards kept them behind the 40-yard line before the turnover. The Trojans were in possession once more before the final buzzer.
With a game total of 660+ yards, the Trojans brought home the W. It was their back-to-back touchdowns in the first half that set them apart from the Rebels. The Trojans came out onto the field seeing scoring opportunities and answering efficiently with 4 touchdowns in the first quarter and 2 more in the second quarter.
The Rebels play their 4th regional game at home against Dawson County High School at 7:30pm. Dawson Tigers are coming off a bye week after losing to Greater Atlanta Christian, 23-20. The Tigers are 6-1 overall, and 2-1 in the Region. Come out to support the Rebels this Friday as they take on the Tigers.
After the coin toss, Fannin County High School Rebels received the kick off. The Union County Panthers defense shut the Fannin Rebels offense down immediately and seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game. Rebels didn’t cross the 50-yard line into Panther territory before having to give possession back to the Panthers.
In the Panthers first possession, they made quick work of crossing the 50-yard line into Rebel territory. The Panthers were able to move the ball for a new first down. It didn’t take long for the Panthers to be up 14-0 over the Rebels in the first quarter.
Panthers defense was determined to hold their lead by not allowing the Rebels offense into Panther territory. No matter what moves the Rebels made, the Panthers defense was there to shut it down.
With only seconds remaining in the first half, the Rebels had possession deep in Panther territory. The Rebels had the Panthers end zone in sight. #12 Luke Holloway’s pass was intercepted and ran all the way back for a Panther touchdown, smashing whatever hopes the Rebels had of getting a touchdown.
At the end of the first half, the Panthers had found themselves in the Rebels paint, lighting up the scoreboard and leaving Rebels in the dust 35-0. The Rebels may have felt a little stunned by Panthers fast-paced offense and shut-down defense.
The Panthers opened on offense in the second half, nothing had changed as Panthers lit up the scoreboard when a Panther ran downfield into Rebels end zone as they lit up the scoreboard once again. Panther’s increased their lead 42-0.
Unfortunately, Rebels #47 Tate Heaton, was ejected from the game due to a personal foul for what seemed to be shoving a Panther’s player after the touchdown. According to GHSA rules, a player ejected from a game is not allowed to play the following game. So, it’s possible that Heaton will not be playing in Fridays game against Chestatee High School.
With a 42-0 lead in the third quarter, this gave Coach Allison a perfect opportunity to rotate players in the game. After the Panthers made substitutions, the Rebels offense was able to move the ball into Panther territory.
With each possession, the Rebels seemed to get closer to Panthers end zone. It was in the last few seconds of the 3rd quarter, that the Rebels set themselves up for a potential touchdown. The Rebels ended the 3rd quarter on Panthers 1-yard line.
The first play of the 4th quarter, the Rebels finally found the Panthers end zone and on the scoreboard with the extra point, changing the score 42-7. The Panthers answered the Rebels with a touchdown and the extra point making it 49-7.
A Rebel highlight, late in the game, Rebels #15, Chandler Kendall, got an interception and about a 15-yard gain, which gave the Rebels the ball. In the last 4 minutes of the game, both Panthers and Rebels opted to run a ground game. The game ended with the Panthers winning 49-7 on their home turf.
The Fannin Rebels will pick up next weeks game at 7:30 at home against Chestatee High School. Come out to support our Rebels as they play their 4th game of the season. Let’s go Rebels!
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – This program offers children a great beginning to the wonderful game of tennis. Classes are limited, so each child receives proper personal attention. Mark Miller will be the instructor and, in conjunction with the Fannin County Recreation Department, will be conducting the program. The schedule below lists the dates and times of lessons each week.
Lesson program includes:
Grip, set-up, form, stance, matches etiquette and rules.
City of Blue Ridge tennis courts
350 Gray Street BR
2018 spring schedule
(begins March 20)
Days: Tuesday and Thursday
Time: 3:45 to 5:15 p.m.
Registration fee: $35
Join us as TeamFYNSports, FYNTV, FetchYourNews proudly present the LIVE coverage of the entire Gilmer Parks & Recreation annual basketball tournament. Coverage begins Saturday morning and all games will be streamed LIVE on FYNTV.com and our YouTube Channel and we will be posting updates via our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts.