Walton County: Where Is That Again?

In an olive branch to everyone from Winnipeg, I am now going to mock the state that I live in. See? I’m EQUAL OPPORTUNITY (although I still maintain that I’ve never made fun of Winnipeg, ever. You must have me lumped in with my editor at SBNATL).

Walton County: Where We Haven’t Done Anything, But The Guy We’re Named After Did!

In an op-ed from the Walton Tribune (who, NYT alert, have stolen your logo/typeface in an attempt to be “journalistic”), a Mr. Brian Arrington goes on and on about how no one cares that the Thrashers are gone, how he never sees children playing ice hockey around him, and how much better things were when he was growing up in Buffalo.

Ok, I’m not going to pick on him because he’s from Buffalo – despite some of my personal experiences here in Philips with drunken Buffalo fans, most of the ones I’ve talked to on-line have been very supportive of us in what’s gone on here. I will, however, mock his county.

I had to Google the county to find it. I (probably because I’m an evil Northern carpetbagger myself, or something) try very, very hard not to leave the metro Atlanta area unless I’m driving to Florida. Why? Two – thirds of the state’s population lives in the metro area. South of that all you have are strippers and truckers. North of ATL is beautiful country, but I really don’t have a reason to go there. The population of these areas aren’t exactly “hockey inclined.” Or “basketball inclined.” Or “Falcons inclined.” They’re more or less “UGA football” and “local high school football” inclined. Maybe possibly “Braves inclined,” though that tends to be when they’re winning. 

Of course no one in Walton County cares that the Thrashers are leaving. They’re more concerned with 14 year olds playing football and if Mark Richt is a good coach (he’s not) to care. The highlight of the op-ed was this:

Another reason I never thought hockey would last here is because it was an oddity. There are no outside hockey rinks like in the North, where kids of all ages could don skates and imitate Sidney Crosby or Tim Thomas.

Every day before school growing up outside of Buffalo, I used to play hockey with my friends on a frozen pool of ice in a field near our houses. A number of times I came to school with lumps on my head after falling on the ice skating after a frozen tennis ball.

I have never, ever, seen a child playing ice hockey here, or in the street for that matter. If you can’t get kids to like hockey in Atlanta, there really isn’t much potential for fanbase growth, is there?

You gonna try to get them Hazzard boys on skates? Actually, come to think of it, they might like it.

Hockey’s not an oddity in Metro Atlanta. You know, where the people are. Youth hockey has an enrollment of 2000 kids, making it one of the fastest growing in the nation. Hockey has to be played on rinks, because in the winter time it doesn’t get cold enough for lakes and ponds to freeze here. At the very least they’ll form a thin layer of ice and then some dingus (usually a Northerner, actually) has to go out and be all “Wooo! I’m on ICE!” for two seconds before he falls through. Find a tax base in your county that’s half the size of the county seat of mine, and build a damn public skate rink. See what happens. 

Or, better yet, go mention to your Walton County compatriots (who apparently have nothng doing in their own county since most of your paper covers Athens) that UGA has an ice hockey team and they they play Georgia Tech. Watch the tailgaters come out in droves for that one. 


About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.