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Sports Talk: Championships should have home-field advantage

Before getting to my thought of the week allow me to get a plug in for the Thomson High Baseball Camp. The camp runs Monday, Dec. 19, through Wednesday, Dec. 21. The camp will run from 9 a.m. until noon at the Thomson High field. The cost is $50, and the camp is for ages 8-14. It will give Coach Terry Holder and his staff a look at future prospects for the Bulldog program.

The Class A Football Championship game between Lincoln County and Washington-Wilkes was preceded by much hype. The big deal was two arch rivals only 18 miles apart playing for a state championship.

If this were 2006, this game would not have been played in Lincolnton or Washington. The Georgia High School Association has decided that state championships will be played at neutral sites.

The GHSA will predetermine a list of suitable venues to host championship games. I assume adequate seating, parking, restrooms and concessions would be the major parts of the equation in selecting these locations.

Assuming that Thomson's Brickyard is on that list, it, and perhaps Elbert County's Granite Bowl would be logical choices to have hosted this big game. In my mind, they would be the only two logical choices.

Now that little tidbit of speculation coming from my feeble brain really means nothing to fans in McDuffie County. Such a game might help the restaurant business in town and put a little money in the pockets of those recruited by Thomson High School and the GHSA to work the game. You know, security officers, ticket takers and the like.

Now let me pose a hypothetical situation that just might get the attention of local Thomson Bulldog fans. What if Thomson and Washington County were to meet for the Class AAA state championship in 2006? I'm not making that prediction but simply asking, "what if?"

Such a matchup would be similar to the Lincoln County-Washington-Wilkes contest. As the crow flies, Thomson and Sandersville are about 40 miles apart. Both schools will be in the same region and play each other during the regular season.

So, where would the two schools meet to play such a game? What stadium is no more than 40 miles from both Thomson and Sandersville and suitable to host at least 8,000 fans? I doubt if Washington County would want to play in Augusta. Heck, Thomson wouldn't be crazy about dumping money in Richmond County either. Burke County perhaps?

I'm sure the GHSA considered many factors in making this decision. I wouldn't see much logic in both teams having to travel significantly further than 40 miles to play. If they do that they may as well play on the home field of the top-seeded team as has been done in the past.

Right now everyone would say that if Thomson makes it to the state championship next year we'd tolerate playing in Ellijay. Washington County supporters would agree. Next December however, if this becomes a reality, we will all be waiting with baited breath for the GHSA to make its' decision. If they make what we might consider the wrong choice, we'll be in an uproar and screaming in protest.

This scenario will play out with 10 schools somewhere in Georgia next year. If you like controversy just hold on, it's a comin'. It won't be hypothetical either.

Web posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005


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