Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 22, 2014

Wachter: Looking for a special place

While covering the Thomasville-Thomas County Sports Hall of Fame, former Thomasville High School football coach George Bobo put into words what anyone that has lived in the Rose City knows to be true.

“Thomasville is a special place,” Bobo told me. “This is the most special place there is.

“Everything here is first class because of the expectations. People here make sure everything is done first class.”

Thomasville, where I originally moved in 2005, was where I first was introduced to the ritual that is south Georgia football, and the importance it plays within a community. Something about seeing a practice field lined with adults at 12:01 a.m. on a worknight does that for you. Thomasville was also where I met my wife of five years. And Thomasville is where a small south Georgia town can make a sports writer from Missouri feel at home.

But as special as Thomasville and south Georgia is, my wife Stasi and I moved to Meridian, Miss., in Nov. 2008 to take advantage of a new opportunity at the newspaper there. And Meridian became special to us, too. Little more than a year later, the best Christmas present I will ever receive came a day later when our daughter was born. Three years later, her brother followed.

But a year ago, when we had the chance to return “home,” and the chance to live close to my wife’s family, it was reason enough to move again. Thomasville and south Georgia is that special.

But live anywhere in south Georgia, and it doesn’t take long to hear all about Valdosta. There’s just something about Winnersville.

So, even though I fully agree with Bobo about Thomasville — after all I agreed to move there and work there twice — when the opportunity arose to join The Valdosta Daily Times as the sports editor, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

There may not be a better — or more special — place in south Georgia for a sports writer/editor. You have the winningest high school football program of all time in Valdosta High and the hallowed ground that is Cleveland Field. Add in fellow powerhouse and cross-town rival Lowndes and there are already enough stories to keep a sports department busy. Add in the success at Valwood and the addition of a football program at Georgia Christian. Not to mention Valdosta State and its usual deep playoff runs — that alone has me excited to get started, and we haven’t even touched any of the other sports. Or even left Lowndes County.

I can’t wait to get a better understanding of what Maurice Freeman does at Brooks County, to see how Cook adjusts to its move to Class AAA (for football) and Class AAAA (in all other sports), and to talk to the legendary Ed Pilcher at Berrien about some dadgum football again.

And I'm sure Winnersville will prove to be special in its own right. I'm excited to be here and can't wait to get to know the community.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowndes_McPherson.jpg Milestones on tap for upcoming season

    Some milestones are destined to occur, like when Georgia Christian hosts David Emanuel on Aug. 22 in the Generals’ first varsity football game since the late 1960s.
    Others will have to wait and see what continues to take shape come Friday when teams can begin fall practice, and especially Aug. 1 when teams can suit up in pads for the first time, such as can Valdosta win its record 24th state title, or can Lowndes capture its fourth state championship under Randy McPherson, or can Valwood and coach Ashley Henderson play in its third straight GISA state championship game?
    As we start to find out the answers to those questions in just a few short weeks — the regular season is just 31 days away — there should be a few more milestones for area coaches to mark 2014 right along with the Generals getting back on the gridiron.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Jimbo.jpg Back on top

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Petrino.jpg Petrino returns to Louisville for first ACC season

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Braves_Marlins JUpton.jpg Jones lifts Marlins past Braves in 10

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ant Smith.JPG Anthony Smith ready for new test in college

    Smith was a three-year starter as a Wildcat and quickly worked his way up as a leader on both the defense and the team as a whole.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wildcats participate in national 7-on-7 tournament

    The Valdosta High Wildcats have been working extremely hard this summer to prepare for the football season. Summer workouts and a plethora of 7-on-7 tournaments and competitions have kept the Wildcats busy.

    July 20, 2014

  • Valwood.jpg A Different Look

    With football summer workouts in full swing, occasionally the intensity and competitive drive can wane going against teammates. But on Friday, Valwood, Brookwood, Lanier County and Tiftarea Academy broke up the monotony by meeting at Goddard Field for a four-team, 7-on-7 passing league.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • pilcher.jpg Berrien competes in 6-team passing camp

    If Ed Pilcher had his way, Berrien High would never throw the football.
    But that doesn't mean the veteran coach doesn't enjoy the opportunity that a passing league, or the six-team passing camp at Cairo on Thursday morning, can provide his Rebels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog
More