In an olive branch to everyone from Winnipeg, I am now going to mock the state that I live in. See? I'm EQUAL OPPORTUNITY (although I still maintain that I've never made fun of Winnipeg, ever. You must have me lumped in with my editor at SBNATL).
Walton County: Where We Haven't Done Anything, But The Guy We're Named After Did!
In an op-ed from the Walton Tribune (who, NYT alert, have stolen your logo/typeface in an attempt to be "journalistic"), a Mr. Brian Arrington goes on and on about how no one cares that the Thrashers are gone, how he never sees children playing ice hockey around him, and how much better things were when he was growing up in Buffalo.
Ok, I'm not going to pick on him because he's from Buffalo - despite some of my personal experiences here in Philips with drunken Buffalo fans, most of the ones I've talked to on-line have been very supportive of us in what's gone on here. I will, however, mock his county.
I had to Google the county to find it. I (probably because I'm an evil Northern carpetbagger myself, or something) try very, very hard not to leave the metro Atlanta area unless I'm driving to Florida. Why? Two - thirds of the state's population lives in the metro area. South of that all you have are strippers and truckers. North of ATL is beautiful country, but I really don't have a reason to go there. The population of these areas aren't exactly "hockey inclined." Or "basketball inclined." Or "Falcons inclined." They're more or less "UGA football" and "local high school football" inclined. Maybe possibly "Braves inclined," though that tends to be when they're winning.
Of course no one in Walton County cares that the Thrashers are leaving. They're more concerned with 14 year olds playing football and if Mark Richt is a good coach (he's not) to care. The highlight of the op-ed was this:
Another reason I never thought hockey would last here is because it was an oddity. There are no outside hockey rinks like in the North, where kids of all ages could don skates and imitate Sidney Crosby or Tim Thomas.
Every day before school growing up outside of Buffalo, I used to play hockey with my friends on a frozen pool of ice in a field near our houses. A number of times I came to school with lumps on my head after falling on the ice skating after a frozen tennis ball.
I have never, ever, seen a child playing ice hockey here, or in the street for that matter. If you can’t get kids to like hockey in Atlanta, there really isn’t much potential for fanbase growth, is there?
Hockey's not an oddity in Metro Atlanta. You know, where the people are. Youth hockey has an enrollment of 2000 kids, making it one of the fastest growing in the nation. Hockey has to be played on rinks, because in the winter time it doesn't get cold enough for lakes and ponds to freeze here. At the very least they'll form a thin layer of ice and then some dingus (usually a Northerner, actually) has to go out and be all "Wooo! I'm on ICE!" for two seconds before he falls through. Find a tax base in your county that's half the size of the county seat of mine, and build a damn public skate rink. See what happens.
Or, better yet, go mention to your Walton County compatriots (who apparently have nothng doing in their own county since most of your paper covers Athens) that UGA has an ice hockey team and they they play Georgia Tech. Watch the tailgaters come out in droves for that one.
BTW, I am a Southerner by birth, proud of it, but somewhat of a hybrid-Dad from Ohio and mom from N.C. I was born in Atlanta, prior to the Flames(showing my age), and we moved to Washington D.C. for eight years(74-82). You may be aware that was the year the NHL expanded and a little team called the Washington Capitals was born. Or you/us Thrashers fans might call them,as we did at times in D.C., The Crapitals. Anywho, my love for hockey was born at that time. I attended school at UT the year the ECHL was born and one of the original 8 teams, The Knoxville Cherokees became my team while I always kept a fond eye North to D.C. when possible. I didn't REALLY fall in love again passionately with hockey until 1999, one year after the birth of my only daughter. I remember how magical and perfect the Thrashers environment seemed that first year. Philips was state-of-the-art and the team's uniforms and the smell of the ice and chill in the arena brought back those fond memories of being a child in The Capital Centre and cheering on the worst team in the NHL yet again. It didn't matter. It was OUR team and we loved the Red, White, and Blue or now the Blue, White, and Crimson! Back in '82, the year we left, there was talk of the team leaving in D.C., there were games where the empty seats outnumbered the occupied in The Capital Centre, but then, as has happened countless times in many other cities(except the ATL) a new owner stepped in and the rest is history, please see the longest game in NHL history please. GO THRASHERS/CAPS!
That is why we must take heart Thrashers, Blues, and Winnipeg Whatever fans. Hockey lives. It lives and thrives in North Georgia just like the state bird does in every county. There is a cup, called the Kelly Cup, that we will be shooting for starting in October and Gwinnett Arena will be the place to be for our hockey fix in GA. As for the future of hockey in my state, I much rather be a Gladiators Fan than a UGA fan right now. GO GLADS!
I think I am going to invite him to tailgate with me at a Glads Game since I is 30 minutes away in beautiful "Walnut County-Where The Men Are Men And The Sheep Are Nervous." He can explain it to a group of diehard Glads Fans......
Frozen tennis ball? I'd be too embarrassed to admit that in an article talking about the superiority of hockey fans outside the South.
I'd rather write an article citing the number of ice rinks in metro atlanta and how popular amateur hockey is - oh wait, someone from the AJC did last fall: "Every night -- on ice rinks in Marietta, Kennesaw, Alpharetta, Duluth and Cumming -- they're out there: men, women, children, skating, bumping, swinging sticks and thwacking pucks. You want to know how big amateur hockey has gotten in Atlanta? A city short of water is now running out of ice.""It’s hard to get an accurate number of how many players are out there because there are so many house teams and leagues and levels of play. But, the biggest of them, the Atlanta Amateur Hockey League (AAHL), estimates there are 2,000 players on its roster of nearly 100 teams.
“It’s gotten insane,” says Marc Hoffritz, a vice president of the AAHL.
Hoffritz grew up in Buffalo and was practically born on skates with a stick. He said the growth of amateur hockey in Atlanta is in sync with all the snow belters who have moved here over the past three decades, making the city increasingly more Southern in name than natural inclination." http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-amateur-hockey-league-678439.html
But you're right Brian... no one in Georgia cares about hockey or the Thrashers. Riiiiight. And someone from Buffalo isn't the VP of the AAHL either... oh wait...
The views of the author are misguided. It's as if he does not understand what's going on, therefore he will make fun of it. It's a strategy employed by a good many people.
However, the responses that try to shine light on the intelligence level of the author are even more misguided. I'm happy as hell that I studied on my own while in high school, because I certainly wouldn't know a damn thing otherwise. Fact is, Georgia is nowhere near an intelligent state. The state ranks 48th out of 51 (including DC) school systems in the country, and has been for quite some time. Individual schools may do better than others, but as a whole, the education system in this state blows.
Walton County is a beautiful place east of Snellville, whose beauty is often overlooked due to the number of hicks that reside there. Not saying that everyone there is a hick, of course. Their love affair with Athens and UGA is a bit understandable, since US78 runs through there. They're not far off from Athens, compared with the rest of Metro Atlanta. Hard Labor Creek State Park one of its highlights, and was used in the filming of Friday the 13th part VI.
The article in this paper is the sort of article that an editor would allow if they were seeking attention. They've now got it, for better or for worse. I have a feeling it's for worse, though don't expect a retraction anytime soon.
He moved from Buffalo to Walton County, GA. How very cosmopolitan indeed. Remember that sisterhood retreat from Hell I told you about?? It was in Hard Labor Creek Park - just outside of Walton County. Let me put it this way, downtown Rutledge (the town there) involved a 4 way stop with an oil drum, with 4 stop signs in it, in the middle of the main intersection. ( http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/11/28/travel/escapes/1128-AMER_index.html )
I can't imagine why hockey isn't a priority out in the sticks. Nooo, I'm just flabbergasted that people who have to drive 45 min to get to the nearest Walmart in their bib-jeans and mullets (oh yes, there were plenty), don't watch/drive to Atlanta for hockey. They'd only turn out to UGA hockey games if they had a free keg.
THAT's where that sisterhood retreat was? Jeebus. That's more rural than northern Bartow County. An oil drum with four stop signs in it? And he wonders why they don't have street hockey around?@missblondie13
@hildymac Yes, that is where sisterhood retreats go to die -I think we were all possessed by angry spirits that did hard labor there and died -and are now pissed that a park deemed as "relaxing" is named after their suffering. I'm blaming that for the puffy paint t-shirts that said "Our cabin can kick your cabin's @$$" " With so many ways to relax, it is ironic that the park’s name is thought to come from slaves who tilled summer fields or American Indians who found the creek difficult to cross."
Also, The author of this article 'brian Arrington' is exactly what was wrong with Hockey in Atlanta. Transplants who ONLY support their old home team and only go to those few games. And if not attending a Buffalo game, then going to another game to root against Atlanta. Now because of him and his ilk, they have NO games to go to. And on top of that, If Buffalo was soooo great, why are you living in walton county??? Please go back.
"There are no outside hockey rinks like in the North."
Saying that is like buying a Kia and complaining that it doesn't go 120mph. You expect there to be outdoor rinks in Georgia because there are also ones in Buffalo? Are you impaired in some manner? This is the SOUTH.
"A number of times I came to school with lumps on my head after falling on the ice skating after a frozen tennis ball."
1. Ohh, so the brain damage explains your lack of logic skills.
2. Wait. You chased after a frozen tennis ball? Hm. Even us dumb Southern hockey fans know you play hockey with a PUCK.
Go back to Buffalo. You're way too stupid to live in Georgia.