Posts Tagged ‘University of Alabama’

Georgia Plays Auburn in Columbus and Almost Nobody Comes

May 15, 2016

About 40 spectators turned out for the historic game, historic because it’s the first time Georgia has played Auburn in Columbus since 1958. The Georgia-Auburn football classic was arguably the biggest sports and social event of the year in Columbus. (I thought it left Columbus because it outgrew Memorial Stadium, but a comment listed below says otherwise.*)

Georgia--Auburn Football Game,, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, 1895. The claissic switched to Columbus, GA in 1920, leaving in 1958 and now alternates between Aubiurn, AL and Athens, GA. They first started playing in 1892 in Atlanta.

Georgia–Auburn Football Game,, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, 1895. The claissic switched to Columbus, GA in 1920, leaving in 1958 and now alternates between Aubiurn, AL and Athens, GA. They first started playing in 1892 in Atlanta.

There was a major difference in the 1958 and 2016 game,  college football and college Ultimate Frisbee. Columbus media ignored the USA Ultimate league’s Southeast Regional Tournament that was held April 30th — May  1s  at the Woodruff Farm Soccer complex in Columbus.  There were sixteen teams from major Southeast universities, including Georgia Tech. 
Georgia beat Auburn in the final game and, along with 2nd Place Florida State and 3rd Place Auburn,  goes to the National Championship Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina May 27th through 30th. ESPN3 does stream the championship games. 
The only reason I knew about the Columbus tournament is that Georgia’s star player Parker Bray is the grandson of my friend Julie Bray. We were among the very few who saw him make some spectacular plays in the Alabama and LSU games. (I didn’t make the Auburn game.) 
Perhaps media ignored the event because Ultimate Frisbee is a stepchild (club) college sport. The teams pay most of their expenses.  I enjoyed the games because I’m into  lifelong learning.  Like most folks, I knew almost nothing about Ultimate Frisbee. Now I know that a team scores when a player catches a disc in the opposing team’s end zone. It’s billed as non-contact sport, but Parker ended up in a hospital for more than a week after one game. When two fast and strong young men are racing to catch a disc, collisions will happen. A  player can’t throw a disc while moving, but must pass it within 10 seconds. There are no referees in college Frisbee. The honor system is used. A game is over in an hour and a half, or when one team scores 15 points first. It’s fast and fun to watch. The players are amazingly accurate when they throw those floating discs, and it’s not unusual for them to make diving catches.
It appeared that Georgia and Auburn had the largest groups of spectators. (I saw no spectators at a Georgia Tech game.) Auburn even had a ‘band!” Well, actually, one trombonist who played the National Anthem before their games. For the championship game, the Georgia team also sang “Amazing Grace.” Really.   The teams are very spirited and do their own cheers after scoring a point. One of the Jojah – that’s the logo name of the Georgia team- cheers is “Jojah, Jojah” followed by barking like a bulldog four times. Those kids have fun and it’s fun to watch them.    
There is also a women’s division. Maybe we can get their Southeast Regional Tournament next year. 
*When I ran a post on the Georgia-Auburn football classic in 2012, I recevied this comment on the reason the game was moved in 1958. I had always heard it was because the crowds outgrew Memorial Stadium, but I got this comment that says otherwise.
Jesse C. Gordon III Says:
Nice commentary, but the reason the series was mover to home and away was Auburn wanted another home game.Columbus(my Grandfather,Auburn graduate, was involved in the politics of the situation at the time) offered to expand Columbus Memorial up to 70,000 capacity. Auburn said no.And that is the long and the short of why the series went to home and away. In 1959 Neither Auburn nor Georgia seated more than the 35,000 Memorial Stadium held.Somewhere in city hall one may find the plans submitted showing an expanded Columbus Memorial with a complete second tier, still horseshoe shaped.Would have been the 2nd. largest stadium in the South behind old Tulane Stadium.

*

 

Crazy Higher Education Values

October 15, 2012

It’s Monday and that means I need to post something to  live up to my promise to try to post something every Monday.  The thing that sticks most in my mind right now, because of a story in the Sunday Ledger-Enquirer, is the incredible fact that higher education in a lot of states, especially Georgia and Alabama, place much higher monetary value on football coaches than classroom teachers and even college presidents.

The highest paid coach in America, Nick Saban, who pulls down more than $5.3 million a year makes about 40 times more than the average full-time professor and about 70 times more than an associate professor at the University of Alabama.  He makes about ten times more than the college president. This is common with SEC teams, though maybe not as extreme as the Alabama example. While teacher salaries have been flat for the last few years, coaches have gotten huge raises. INSANE!

The most famous coach in Alabama’s history, Bear Bryant, insisted one year that he make one dollar less than the college president.  Oh, how times have changed.

Which is more valuable a degree from Harvard where football is an afterthought, or Alabama, where it is king?

Gay Talese is Not Thrilled with Internet and Tape Recorder Journalism

January 25, 2010

THE HIGHLY ACCLAIMED NON-FICTION WRITER AND HIS EDITOR WIFE NAN TOOK QUESTIONS FROM A COLUMBUS PUBLIC LIBRARY AUDIENCE

Gay Talese, the man who gave rise to “New Journalism” when he wrote his most famous article for Esquire, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” has a low opinion of the quality of magazine writing today. The only exception to that judgement is the New Yorker, whose writers do it the old-fashioned way: face to face contact with the source. Speaking to an audience at the Columbus Public Library today, he said magazines are all celebrity oriented.l They want to put a celebrity picture on the magazine cover. The story inside might be written by a writer who maybe spent ten minutes with the celebrity, tape recording an interview. He said you can’t really get a meaningful interview that way.

He and his wife Nan chatted a little about their marriage and careers – they have been married for 50 years – and then took questions from the audience. The first question was about his opinion about the blogosphere and the Internet.

Gay Talese

“I don’t know anything about the blogosphere. I don’t use it,” he said. He went on to say that he believed in face to face conversations with sources, not contact with sources via the Internet, or using Google or anything like that. He believes in personal contact. He doesn’t even like or use tape recorders. For one thing, he says they inhibit sources. The person you are interviewing figures he or she has to get it right the first time. “They usually don’t.” When the person being interviewed is more relaxed and becomes comfortable with the interviewer, they come back to a question and give a more thoughtful answer.

When I pointed out that his most famous article, the one that gave rise to the term “new journalism,” the one he wrote for Esquire Magazine about Frank Sinatra, was one without a face-to-face interview, he admitted that was the case. Esquire had paid his expenses to go to Los Angeles to interview Sinatra, but when he got there, “His press agent said Sinatra could not do the interview because he had a cold.” Finally, the press agent told Talese that Sinatra was upset because he had heard that Walter Cronkite was working on a program for CBS on Sinatra’s connections with the Mafia.

Gay Talese

Instead of giving up, Talese stayed on in Los Angeles and interviewed people who knew Sinatra, people who worked with him in movies and recording sessions. “Hundreds of people had worked with Sinatra over the years.” He believes that he probably got a truer picture of Sinatra than if he had actually interviewed him. But, he said, “I was in Los Angeles. I interviewed those people. I made contact with them.”

The “New Journalism” he is credited with starting with that article refers to the technique that he used in writing it. He dropped the old newspaper style of reporting and wrote it in the same way that you would write a novel. It was all true – his stint as a reporter for the New York Times had imbued him with the importance of accuracy – but, the style was novelistic. It worked big time. Esquire ran it as its cover story.

Talese was not happy with what the “New Journalism” became. His complaint is the same complaint he has with bloggers, the lack of accuracy. Too many writers now, he said, sacrifice accuracy. After their appearance in the library’s auditorium, I went up to him, introduced myself, shook hands, and told him I enjoyed their performance – that wasn’t smoke because I definitely did – and handed him a blog business card, telling him that I had a blog and was going to write about their talk. He took the card and thanked me.

Nan Talese

Nan Talese, who is now Senior Vice President at Doubleday, was asked about some of the authors she has edited for the New York publishing firms where she has worked. It was an impressive list, people like James Michener, Pat Conroy and Rosalynn Carter.

She went to Plains to work with Rosalyn on her autobiography First Lady from Plains. She got to know Mrs. Carter well because they spent a lot of time together. She would have dinner with Rosalynn and President Carter. After dinner they would all watch the evening news on television. She said that was an interesting experience, citing one evening when President Carter became irritated with a report about an English public figure and shouted “jackass, jackass” at the TV.

Mrs. Talese said sometimes Jimmy would try to give Rosalynn some advice about how a passage should be written, which irritated Rosalynn, who finally told him, “Jimmy, you wrote your book, now let me write mine.” She said that the two could be competitive and that when Rosalyn’s book hit the number one slot on the New York Times list of best sellers Jimmy was perplexed because none of his books had done that. She added that they were a great couple and she enjoyed being with them.

Fans in line to get Talese books autographed, Columbus Public Library, Columbus, Georgia

I have never read any of Gay Talese’s books, but that is about to change. After today’s delightful presentation by the two of them, he went out into the library’s rotunda for a book signing. I bought A Writer’s Life, which he wrote in 2006, and the best seller about the Mafia, Honor Thy Father, which he wrote in 1971. I got him to autograph both books.

He was born and raised in New Jersey, but when he graduated from high school, he couldn’t get into any universities there or in neighboring states. He was accepted by the University of Alabama, where he majored in journalism. In “A Writer’s Life”, he reports that his journalism instructors weren’t thrilled when he strayed from the newspaper “who, what, where, when, why, and how” inverted-pyramid writing style. But, look what straying from that style did for him when he wrote the Sinatra story in 1966. It played a large role in his publishing success, and revolutionized journalistic style.

Update: Not All Million Dollar Band Members Go to Pasadena

January 5, 2010

It turns out that not all members of the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band are going to Pasadena for the National Championship game between Alabama and Texas.  The size of the band at this point is 388 members, but only 349 of them, plus 26 support and administrative personnel, are going.  Band spokesperson Jane Hall says the Citi BCS National Championship organization is paying for the flight and specified the number of people it would transport.  She did say that some band members who live in other states may go on their own.

Why Did An Auburn U. Ag Student Die From Drinking Milk?

September 1, 2009

Georgia will beat Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech will beat Georgia. Auburn will beat Alabama. Alabama will beat Auburn.  That’s what the Rotary Club of Columbus Fearless Forecasters predicted last Wednesday.

They got laughs for their sometimes funny insults.  One of them said,  An Auburn student died the other day from drinking milk.  The cow sat on him.”

Now, here are the Fearless Forecasters’ predictions for this season’s football games played by Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. Should you use their predictions when you place your bets?  Well, let’s just say … they try.

For Auburn, Judge Bill Smith – he’s a retired Superior Court Judge, who still judges on a part-time basis – predicts Auburn will go 9-3 and beat rival Alabama 21-13.

Judge Bill Smith, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Judge Bill Smith, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

For Georgia Tech, Frank Etheridge, a retired banker,  got to crow a lot about Georgia Tech beating Georgia last year, even it was the first time in seven years.  He believes Tech will have a great season, winning 10 and losing 2 games.  He says Tech will beat Georgia 35-28.

Frank Etheridge (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Frank Etheridge (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Mac Plummer, St. Francis Hospital executive, who never went to Alabama, fronts for Alabama because, while his college team is West Point since he went there,  he says if you live in South Alabama you have to be for either ALabama or Auburn, and he picked Alabama.  He predicts Alabama will go 11- 1, and will beat Auburn.

Mac Plummer, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Mac Plummer, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

And attorney Ron Mullins,  representing the Bulldogs, predicted Georgia will go 10-2, and beat Tech 38-24. 

Ron Mullins, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Ron Mullins, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

My prediction?  One of my alma maters, Mercer University, will not beat Georgia. That’s because it won’t play Georgia.  It won’t play anybody because it has no team. But, it did. In fact, the first football game Georgia played was in 1892 against Mercer.  The Bulldogs won 50-0.   Georgia’s legendary coach Wally Butts played on  Mercer’s team in the late 1920’s.  Mercer did manage to beat  Georgia Tech that year. It was also the first game played by a Tech team.

The Fearless Forecasters program always draws a lot of guests to the “downtown” Rotary Club.  After all, college football is big deal in our corner of Georgia and Alabama, and all of us need a few laughs to get us through the day.