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A look back at 2006

    Another year, another Holiday and another 365 days of sports gone by.
    Locally and nationally, it seems that the sports world, if more often than not, is turning into a breeder of negativity.
    Our childhood heroes are suspected of steroids, superstar receivers are slowly deteriorating everything that was once good about competition, and amazingly awesome athletes are using their size and strength to pummel their opponents with fists and kicks, instead of flash and charisma. Sports was once an escape from the troubles of the real world. Now, it’s seems to be becoming a reflection.
    So this holiday season, let’s instead turn towards the things that made us enjoy the 2006 sports year, and be thankful for those great moments.
    Be thankful for the legendary Erk Russell and the lovable Teddy Craft. The year of 2006 will always be remembered for their sudden deaths, but we should take one last time this year to remember what these two greats of Georgia Southern football did to make us smile.
    Be thankful for all our area athletes. Sometimes we tend to forget that these kids are still playing the game the way it was meant to be played: for fun. Support them, cheer for them and remember their faces after that big win.
    Be thankful for your coach. It will never fully be understood by those of us on the outside just how much time and effort these men and women give to their players, program and community on a daily basis.  
    Be thankful for the Atlanta Braves (if your a fan of the team, that is). The miraculous run of 14 straight division titles ended this year and their may not be another franchise, in any sport, that ever pulls off that feat.
    Be thankful of your college football team. Whether it’s the Eagles, Jackets or Dogs, remember that in the South football brings us together. No matter how tough or wonderful the 2006 season was, some schools aren’t fortunate enough to even have the opportunity to reunite on Saturday’s with food, family and friends.
    Be thankful for the George Mason men’s basketball team. Out of nowhere these nobodies stormed to the Final Four back in April and gave everyone who has cheered for the underdog a reason to believe in their own team again.
    Be thankful for Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. We may be witnessing two of the greatest ever at their respective sports. With every year that passes so does the chance to witness these two perform their crafts.
    Be thankful of Michelle Wie. This wonder of a teenage golfer is beginning to do things no one thought possible. Pay attention to her, because she may have a profound impact on the young women near and dear to you.
    Be thankful of the memories we hold of the sports heroes we lost this year. Names like Maggie Dixon, head coach of the women’s basketball team at Army; Red Auerbach, legendary coach of the Boston Celtics; Byron Nelson, one of golf’s grandfathers; Kirby Puckett, Hall of Fame ballplayer with a Hall of Fame smile to match; and Bo Schembechler, historic coach of the Michigan Wolverines.
    2006, for all intensive purposes, is gone. And while 2007 will undoubtedly bring more unfathomable sights and sounds from the sports world, be thankful you got to witness the ones of 2006.

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