Column/Top sports stories surrounding Dallas County

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 19, 2006

Good morning. And for those rare folks who prefer to read their papers later in the day, good evening and good night.

I’m sure most of you have heard by now I have taken over the sports editor job here at The Selma Times-Journal. I’m very excited about covering local and regional sports.

Obviously, I have my preferences about what I like to watch as a spectator, but I’ll be the first to acknowledge my views don’t necessarily reflect those of our several thousand readers.

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My theory is, as long as there’s competition and a winner or loser, it’s a sport I’ll enjoy watching.

Having said that, there are several things about the sports culture surrounding this area that piqued my interest even before I took this job.

And you’ll find out exactly what they are once we go down “The List.”

5. Skate-o-Rama – I must say, I never thought of Selma as having a strong following for skateboarding, but there seems to be a loud call for a skate park.

The user base would be a lot smaller than Montgomery or Birmingham, so it may not be necessary to build one along those guidelines. Still, it’s a great idea and one I hope will materialize.

4. Tennis, anyone? – From what I’ve read about the Selma tennis program, I saw enough reason to be very encouraged. It can only get bigger, and that is a great thing.

It’s not so much about the game. It’s a way to show kids there is more to life than basketball, football or worse – doing nothing at all.

Now a golf program – that would be interesting.

3. Luck be a lady – One thing my predecessor Griffin Pritchard and I had in common was an enthusiasm for women’s sports. Sometimes, he got way more excited about it than I did.

The progression of any sports culture has to be partially judged on how much support is put behind women’s athletics.

The fastpitch softball program in the city rec league is a good start. I’ve been fortunate enough to have covered high schools with outstanding volleyball and softball programs – sports most people wouldn’t watch unless they have daughters that play.

I understand winning brings with it a fan base. But sometimes, the reverse is true.

2. Go, Hornets, go – For several years, the Dallas County football team has been a mystery to me. The school has very good basketball teams. And the Hornets have recently done things on the baseball field that may have surprised even them.

Am I wrong, or were a lot of those same athletes playing football, too? I can’t speak much about the current team, but I’ve seen their talent up close and personal in the past. They’ll be an interesting story to watch, and I hope they get things going in the right direction.

1. Hoops craze – The first week I began working here, a baseball player’s dad came up and made my acquaintance. When I told him I was joining the staff as a news/sports writer, his response was, “That’s great. Grif will need the help during …”

I expected the next words out of his mouth to be “football season.” Not so much.

It’s all about basketball here. I was floored. I grew up in south Alabama where football is first, second and third on the list of priorities. I’m excited to see what the big deal is, and I’m sure it’ll make my job a lot of fun.

Also List-worthy: R.C. Hatch’s hardcourt dynasty; Maplesville football; Morgan rebuilding?; Selma football; and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop … I’m guessing 1,349.

George l. jones is sports editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at