Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-For love of the game

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

Recently I’ve started watching the show Friday Night Lights again. Let me just say- this is partially important because I’m not a big TV show person. I don’t have the patience to sit through an hour-long episode nor do I usually have the time to keep up with a series. But I figure with pre-season football kicking in and the fall season quickly approaching, revisiting a show that revolves around high school football is one of the best ways to get me hyped up for what’s to come.

Watching this series has also made me think about a couple of things. For one, why do we as a society rally so much around a sport that’s played by boys no older than 18-years-old? Second, do we put too much pressure on athletes who play the game? And finally, is the hype and the pressure truly worth it?

I think the answer can be summed up pretty easily- yes. And why? For love of the game.

But the love of the game is different for each of us. We’re not all going to attend every single football game or spend thousands of dollars to sit in Sanford every Saturday. We all have our limits, and in my opinion that’s perfectly okay.

Why else would my friend Erin and I bundle up in the freezing cold for playoffs? Because we love football!

I like to say that there’s something about having a team that you love that will get inside of you and never leave. I find it fascinating that there are towns across America like Dillon, Texas that will show up in the thousands to support their Panthers. Coaches and players are local celebrities, and you get your butt in the stands every Friday night just as religiously as a pew on Sunday morning. I came from a high school of nearly 4,000 students and a county of almost one million people, but the same spirit that rallies much smaller towns across the country still pulses through mine.

Yes, oftentimes I’m afraid that means we put too much pressure on the athletes who play the game. In my own personal experience, at the high school level we had so many students that it was nearly impossible to know the daily goings-on at the field house. But it was that age-old cycle of that when we would win, the coaches and players would be praised. One loss and the attitude switched faster than the direction of a twister.

But one of the many great things about this country is we have the freedom of choice in many of our decisions. Even though the athletes and coaches who play these games catch a lot of grief, they still have the choice to walk away. Some do. But for those who don’t? I’d venture to say it’s for love of the game.

When it comes to putting pressure on athletes, especially young ones, I believe the relationship is a two-way street. They should know what they’re doing, but despite all the love we have for the game, we need to understand when enough is enough. I’ve heard the term “daddy ball” thrown around a lot before, and it makes me sad to think that there are parents out there who try to live through their children. It’s important to love and support them, but even more important to let them develop their own love for their game.

Finally, like I mentioned earlier, everyone’s love for the game is different. My Papa Skip, who I probably talk to the most about sports, has a different appreciation for them than I do. I’ll use UGA football as an example. He attended classes at UGA- I never have. He still goes every year to the UGA/Florida game in Jacksonville- I’ve only gone once. He pays each year to have season tickets for the home games- I CERTAINLY don’t do that, although when he doesn’t want them I get first dibs (thanks Papa!)

The point I’m trying to make is while we all may say we love sports, we each love them differently. We each have a certain line we’re willing to cross. But at the same time, come Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or playoffs, we rally behind our team. And we each get our butts in the stands. Why? For love of the game.

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Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter

All of TeamFYNSports, Featured Stories, Sports

About five years ago I told my dad, who is one of my biggest fans but also one of the most blunt people you’ll ever meet, that I wanted to be the first female head coach in the NFL.

“You can’t do that, Lauren,” he said.

“Why?” I argued.

I was expecting some drawn-out response about how I didn’t know enough about football.

“Because you can’t go in the men’s locker room,” he said flatly.

Ah, I hadn’t thought of that.

That was my senior year of high school, and never did I think I would be where I am now.

I grew up an UGA fan; my grandad attended college there in the ’60s and the red and black passed down into my veins. I learned to spell Georgia by chanting the fight song in my head (I still do subconsciously whenever I have to write it out!) I had an UGA cheerleader outfit and one of my baby pictures has me holding a stuffed bulldog. One of my nana’s fondest memories is of dancing around the living room with me as an infant when Georgia scored a big touchdown against Georgia Tech. I’ve never considered myself athletic, but I believe I owe a lot of my passion for sports to Papa Skip and Nana.

Papa Skip, Nana, my momma and I at the Georgia v. Florida game in 2017

Flash forward a few years and the first time I stepped foot on a sideline was as a cheerleader for the 8th grade Mill Creek rec football league. Cheerleading was not for me, and within a year I traded in pom poms for a six-foot flag pole as a member of the Mill Creek High School Colorguard.

In high school I lived for Friday night lights, and I have many fond memories of screaming myself hoarse for the Hawks while in the stands with the marching band. It was a well-known fact that I was the most spirited person in the band when it came to football, and while my coach would be yelling at me to pay attention during our warm-ups I’d be busy trying to figure out how much yardage we’d gotten from the last pass.

I guess my fellow classmates took note of my love for the game as well, because they voted me their Homecoming Queen my senior year. That is still one of my all-time favorite memories from high school- hearing my name called while standing on the 50 surrounded by family and friends.

My senior year of high school I was elected Homecoming Queen. This was the moment after my name was called. Look at my dad’s face!

I graduated from Mill Creek in 2015 but I had a hard time staying away from Markham Field. The University of North Georgia doesn’t have a football team, and Mill Creek decided to get really good the year after I left (this was the fall of 2015, the year they got knocked out by Colquitt County one round before the state championship.)

In the spring of 2016 I heard of an opportunity to work for the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A minor league affiliate for the Atlanta Braves. Needing a summer job but hoping to avoid retail, I took it. I spent the next two summers as a Guest Relations Representative scanning tickets and welcoming fans. In addition to my already-sound knowledge of football, I learned all I could about America’s favorite pastime and a new love was born.

I spent one more summer at Coolray Field before graduating college, and this time it was as a member of the Promotional Team. That may be the most fun I ever had at work. Our team set up the on-field promotional games, signed up contestants, sold 50/50 raffle tickets and overall worked to make sure people had a good time. I certainly did- the memories I made with my team that year will forever be some of my favorites.

For a while I told people that I wasn’t interested in sports journalism, but the Lord as he fortunately often does had other plans. I got the opportunity to intern with the UNG Athletic Department my senior year of college, and I left Gwinnett County to plant some roots in the North Georgia mountains.

I worked for the Gwinnett Braves (now Gwinnett Stripers) for three seasons. Here I’m in my third season as a member of the Promo Team.

Two months ago I still wasn’t certain that I’d ever work in sports again, but when baseball started back up I knew I couldn’t live without it. I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to apply with FetchYourNews.com, and even more fortunate to get an offer. And here we are.

I don’t tell you all this to brag on my accomplishments or give you some long-winded biography. I want to be just as much a part of your community as you all are now a part of my daily life. When I come to your sideline I want to know each of you and each of you know me. Part of being a great sports reporter is establishing a relationship with your team and community. Part of that relationship includes establishing trust, and how can you can trust someone if you don’t even know them?

One of the biggest reasons I keep working in sports is because of the the communities they create and the people I get to meet. There’s something about having a team to rally around that gets inside of you and never leaves. The people I have met so far and the connections I have made are priceless and will forever be a part of who I am and a big reason for why I do what I do.

So here’s to the journey ahead, and here’s to memories that are yet to be made and the relationships yet to be formed. I can’t wait North Georgia!

Lauren Hunter

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Team FYN Sports Covers Local Sporting Events

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FetchYourNews.com is dedicated to bringing our viewers local sports. All our events are streamed live and then archived for later viewing. FYN covers all sports for all ages: Football, Baseball, Soccer, Volleyball, Tennis……

 

Rec Super Bowl Saturday Schedules Set

Park and Recreation, Team FYN Sports

The Mountain Football League playoffs have finally reached their final destination for 2017:  Super Bowl Saturday.  This weekend, several of North Georgia’s finest young athletes will meet on the gridiron at Fannin County High School, battling to take home the league’s top honor of Super Bowl Champions.

Here are the results from last weekend’s final round of the playoffs:

6U: Fannin defeated Gilmer 22-0. Will play East Hall in the Super Bowl. East Hall defeated Chestatee 34-0.

7U: Fannin defeated Dawson 32-0. Will play Gilmer in Super Bowl. Gilmer defeated Pickens 46-0.

8U: Union defeated Fannin 20-0. Will play Chestatee in Super Bowl. Chestatee defeated Gilmer 25-19.

9U: Chestatee defeated West Hall 34-8. Will play Pickens in Super Bowl. Pickens defeated Dawson 26-0.

10U: Fannin defeated Gilmer 29-0. Will play Dawson in Super Bowl. Dawson defeated Union 12-0.

11U: Chestatee defeated Fannin 20-7. Will play Gilmer in Super Bowl. Gilmer defeated Dawson 7-6.

Follow us on Twitter @teamfynsports next weekend (or on Facebook) as we will have complete Super Bowl coverage from the sidelines on Saturday.

Updated Game Times:

6u Super Bowl
East Hall vs Fannin 10Am

7U Super Bowl
Fannin vs Gilmer 1145Am

8U Super Bowl
Union vs Chestatee 1:30pm

9U Super Bowl
Chestatee vs Pickens 3:15Pm

10U Super Bowl
Dawson vs Fannin 5pm

11U Super Bowl
Gilmer vs Chestatee 6:45 Pm

 

 

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Rec Football Postseason Brackets Set

Park and Recreation, Team FYN Sports

Saturday (Oct 15) marked the final week of regular season football for the Mountain Football League.  The MFL consists of Chestatee, Dawson, East Hall, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union and West Hall; and age divisions begin with 6u (under 6-years-old) and go up to 7th-grade.  Parents and coaches of youth athletes are encouraged to please send your photos, stats and game stories to Jason@fetchyournews.com so that we can highlight the youth players throughout the post-season!

6u Playoff Bracket

7u Playoff Bracket

8u Playoff Bracket

9u Playoff Bracket

10u Playoff Bracket

7th Grade Playoff Bracket

 

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Dawson Tigers drop close contest against West Hall; Turn attention to White County

Sports, Team FYN Sports

The Dawson County Tigers are one possession away from a perfect season. Last Friday, September 15, West Hall, a 4A-Region 7 favorite, managed to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season, but it wasn’t easy. At the end of the first quarter Dawson held a 7-3 lead, but their early touchdown would be the only time the offense found paydirt for the rest of the night.

West Hall scored a touchdown before the half, and both defenses came out swinging for the fences in the third; holding each other scoreless for 15

Photo courtesy of Dawson County Tigers Football facebook and Dawson County High School.

minutes. The Tigers kicked a field goal in the fourth, forcing a tie; but West Hall’s kicker had enough leg and accuracy to put it away for the Spartans, 13-10.

Now 2-1 overall, with a 29-14 win over Chattooga (Summerville, GA) and a 9-0 skunking of 7A-Region 5’s Forsyth Central (Cumming, GA); the Tigers turn their attention to 4A-Region 7 White County (4-1), who is coming off a big 28-18 win over a very talented North Hall squad (3A Region 7). The last time these two teams met on the gridiron, the Tigers took the Warriors to the woodshed, winning 46-0. This year’s contest will most likely be much more competitive as both teams bring solid talent and experience on both sides of the football.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm in Cleveland, Ga.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Ask the Doc with Dr. Whaley – aromatherapy, artificial sweeteners, and Taurine

Health
Doctor Whaley had some excellent information for us this morning. He answered the following viewer questions this week:
  • What are the benefits of aromatherapy?
  • Can I use artificial sweeteners if I have diabetes?
  • Taurine is listed as an ingredient in many energy drinks. What is taurine? Is it safe?
He also talked about studies of NFL and college football players that have donated their brains to test the long term effect on your cognitive function after years of this full contact sport.
 

Ask the Doc 9/2/16

GMFTO

Dr. Whaley discusses Zika and Kaepernick this week as we visit downtown Blue Ridge.

Featuring Dr. Bill Whaley.
Sponsered by the Georgia Cancer Specialists.

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