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With 2013 behind us, 2014 in front of us

First Byline: 
Burton Kemp Jr.

This was written in 2013, but you will read it in 2014. I seriously doubt that fact will make any difference; nothing here of great significance whatever the year. Anyway, here goes the last column written in the year 2013.
The College Bowl season is winding down by now. How are you doing in your office pool? As of this writing, I am 12-3 in mine. Probably others are better. Last year I won the pool and took only a few minutes to fill out the form. The biggest thing I took into consideration was the conference of the competitors. This year I went to the Vegas odds makers and did all sorts of other things.
The point of the previous facts are that two of the three games I have thus far lost -- Boise State vs. Oregon State and Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh. I would have won a year ago just by picking based on the conference affiliation of the participants. Oh well, is there really any way to pick a slate of winners? Probably not.
Last week the Associated Press listed its top 10 sports stories of the year. In maybe a sign of the times, the top five stories were all negatives. The Boston Marathon bombing; the final admission by Lance Armstrong that he cheated; the concussion settlement by the NFL (I reckon in a way this is positive, but it is certainly not a positive subject); the baseball drug bans (don’t you wish that Alex Rodriquez would just go away?); and the Aaron Hernandez arrest were that top five.
Finally, in the second half of the top 10, come the real feel good sports stories like the championship wins by the Red Sox, the Ravens, and Heat. Throw in the Auburn win over Alabama and you have it. Oh wait, there is that story about that idiot from Notre Dame who fell in love with a nonexistence person and grieved over her nonexistent “death.”
This week Enoch publishes a detailed look at the year gone by in Screven County in all categories. Here are the things, in no particular order, some positive and some negative, that I believe are the top sports stories from within the athletic department of Screven County High School. Included in my top stories are the return of SCHS tennis to prominence as both the girls and boys teams won the region together for the first time since 2008 (not really that long ago); and the greatest days of region track for the boys and girls combined as the girls were Region 3AA champions while the boys were region runners-up. This fall the Lady Gamecock cheer squad brought home their first region title since 2009 and claimed their highest statewide finish ever.
Other big stories were the resignation of Billy Pollock as head baseball coach (my thinking is that he will enjoy this baseball season a lot more than the last); the completion of a winless boys basketball season; and the switch to the spread offense by head coach Ron Duncan (hey I am for whatever wins, even the return to the single wing if that will get the job done -- remember the South Effingham experiment with that formation a few years ago?).
There were state playoff appearances by Lady Gamecock basketball, softball, soccer, as well as baseball. Really and truly just making the state playoffs is almost expected at SCHS. Big news is when boys’ basketball turns the trick or if wrestling duals ever does it.
Upcoming you ask? Basketball resumes play on Jan. 7 with a trip to Westside for their Region 3AA opener. There are tough tasks ahead if either is to win a game. The girls won seven games in the calendar year 2013; three of those were against Harlem. HHS is coming up on Friday, Jan. 17, and Friday, Jan. 31, and then, most likely, in the play-in game of the 3AA Tournament. That is their chance. The boys showed improvement in December. Maybe they are on the verge of breaking through. Pencil in Saturday, Jan. 25, in Twin City.
Wrestling? Area duals are coming up on Jan. 3 & 4. Not really sure how they did in their last two matches. Information on those was never made available to me. So many weight class forfeits really hurt the Gamecocks in this tournament.
Finally are you already getting geared up for spring? Remember when those sports started in late March at the earliest? Soccer, tennis, and then baseball open before February is out -- soccer on Feb. 11. No idea about track, but they opened in February as well last year, far and away their earliest ever.
Hope your New Year is off to a good start. I don’t really make resolutions. If you do, hope you can keep them.

Burton Kemp Jr. is a contributing writer to the Sylvania Telephone.