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Pray for Joe Watkins ....

POSTED: November 25, 2011 2:01 p.m.

Belated update: Joe passed away on Saturday. Heaven not only got a pretty good baseball player, but a fine kid as well.

If you haven't heard, former Liberty County High School baseball standout Joe Watkins is in a hospital in Florida after suffering a brain injury due to a car wreck.
Watkins, who signed to play baseball at Georgia Southern and just moved into the dorms up there a few months ago to start his freshman year,isn't doing so well. So, if you pray, please offer up one for Joe. It's bound to help.
I've long worked with Joe's father, Coastal Courier web editor Pat Watkins, and remember Joe as a rambunctious bundle of energy tearing up the rec leagues in Liberty County. Though I hadn't seen much of him the past several years, I know he grew into a fine baseball player and a great young man. Lots of folks around here know him and hope to see him out of the hospital and back to being himself.  Me included.

To less important stuff:
The Georgia High School Association is in the process of reclassification. After appeals are heard, and there will be appeals, up next is the apparent sausage grinder that leads to region alignments and much bellyaching.
It happens every two years and I've yet to see one that worked to everyone's advantage. Or was fair to everyone.
But until someone figures out how to evenly distribute the state's population -- which boomed in spots like metro Atlanta and the Coastal Empire during the 2000s, but left a vast part of the state virtually unchanged -- then some folks will wind up with the short end of the stick.
Or, long travel.
Though, as a friend of mine who covered sports in Marietta for years noted, there are times when it can take a team in metro-Atlanta an hour or more to travel a few miles to a region opponent for a Friday night game, thanks to the traffic.
No thanks.

Finally this:
If you want to fix high school sports and save taxpayer dollars, start with schedules.
Cut them to one game a week in every sport and limit the regular season to 10 weeks, just like in football.
End the home and away stuff. Do it like football -- we're at your house this year, my house the next.
Why it's necessary for high school kids to play as many as 30 games in a season is beyond me.
Biggest complaint I hear from grownups (even a few parents) who follow high school seasons? They're too long.
Biggest complaint I've heard from athletic directors in recent years is the whack travel puts on budgets.
Well, fewer games equals less travel equals less money spent on gas.
Besides, fewer games/meets/matches/tilts/competitions puts more importance on those that remain. If you only have 10 games to get to the playoffs, you only have 10 games to get to the playoffs.

Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was a good one.




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