Last week was certainly not one that was full of good news in and around McDuffie County, the state of Georgia, and the southeast. Although we will never be able to, it was a week we would just as soon forget.
On Tuesday morning, we lost one of our outstanding young citizens, Cheryl Helmly, in an automobile accident. My condolences are extended to Miss Helmly's family and friends. On Thursday night our community was struck by a terrible tornado and rainstorm that wrecked property to the extent that it will take some of our neighbors years to totally recover.
As if we thought we had heard everything bad that we could take, the news came in from Atlanta that a busload of college baseball players from Ohio had somehow managed to run off a bridge on I-75. This terrible tragedy cost the lives of kids who were innocently traveling to do something that they love - play baseball.
It is at times like these that we realize that the games we play really aren't all that important. When a matter of life and death takes on such a real meaning, we learn that a game can never be a matter of life and death. All too often, our overzealousness makes us forget that. Last week brought us back to reality. That's why they call them games. Remember that the next time your team loses one.
When our children need momentary diversions in life, fortunately they do have sports. Sports provide a positive outlet from life's frustrations that kids may not fully understand. Such occurrences like we saw last week confuse even us adults.
Lost in all of the bad news last week was some good news from the Thomson High sports scene. Playing mostly in anonymity, the Bulldog boys' basketball team advanced all the way to round three of the state tournament. They upset Carver-Columbus 79-77 and Westover 79-74 before losing in the quarterfinals to West Laurens by a score of 56-53.
This accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider that Coach Michael Thomas had to take his team across the state to Columbus for all three of these games. They beat Carver on Carver's home court on Feb. 24 and returned to Columbus State University last weekend. In between, they faced the upheaval of the week that was here in Thomson.
It seems that Thomson is forever traveling to Columbus or Albany for state competition in both basketball and football. You would think that one day Augusta, or even Savannah, would bid to host some state tournament action. Perhaps the ages of their arenas, and maybe even their management capabilities, have something to do with the fact that they don't. It is really tough on Thomson fans to make multiple treks across the state with today's gas prices.
The Thomson High baseball team battled through the loss of a beloved classmate and the elements to finally get to play the season lidlifter. Their Tuesday game with Jefferson County was rightfully postponed until Saturday, and the Bulldogs won it 10-0. Make sure to come out and watch the Diamond Dogs, and you can listen to the home games on WTHO radio or at www.mcduffiemirror.com. Ralph Starling, Stuart Young, yours truly and assorted guests will try to make the broadcasts interesting.
Don't forget the Thomson High Booster Club Banquet coming up on Friday night, March 16. This year's honoree is football assistant coach Curtis Williams, and the guest speaker is the ultra-entertaining author and columnist, Daryl Huckaby. The banquet location is the First Baptist Church, and the tickets are $10. The easiest way to get a ticket is to stop by The Queensborough Bank.
Let me remind you that the Booster Club makes zero money on this banquet. They simply put it on to honor folks and award well-deserved college scholarships to our young people. The admission is to help cover expenses and the catering costs of the banquet. As usual, Neal's Barbecue is doing the cooking.
The next day, March 17, the baseball parents will be selling BBQ chicken plates at the high school during that day's games. My plans for that weekend are ready made. You be there too!