2005-11-24 / Letters

Soccer Fever’ is having a positive effect


For someone crowding the age of seventy, I sometimes fear that I have exhausted my quota of rich experiences. Last Saturday disproved that attitude when I attended my very first Soccer game and I attended it not in Brazil, Los Angeles, or even Atlanta—but, right here in this precious town of Washington, Georgia.

On a beautiful Wilkes County Saturday morning this fall, as I approached the soccer field, the very first impression I got was where I would find a place to park in or near the jam-packed lot of our Recreation Center. So, following a good trot to the playing field I first witnessed at least 250 moms, dads, friends and relatives (over half were from outside Wilkes County) focused enthusiastically upon their most treasured living possessions. Then I saw 22 boys and girls, on the playing field, half in blue and half in orange soccer uniforms.

Our five Washington teams had begun a sequence of competitions, according to three age groups, with five teams from Oglethorpe County. Despite the absence of a marching band, majorettes, and cheerleaders, the fans and the contestants could not have been more spirited. Most competitions involving balls require the player and/or the ball to be moved from one position to another with multiple variations on ruling how this can be accomplished. Saturday’s soccer was no exception; the ball was moved up and down the field, sometimes into the goal and often not. There was no tackling, no clipping, no time-outs except at halftime and no players were carried from the field on stretchers.

Prior to 2001, Washington-Wilkes soccer activity was modest and had periodic highs and lows. Surrounding counties, i.e. Elbert, Lincoln, Oglethorpe, Greene and McDuffie were accelerating their soccer programs and currently all these counties have incorporated soccer into their schools’ athletic programs. Washington-Wilkes soccer activity’s velocity was substantially stimulated with the introduction of Mr. Todd Reeves’ leadership in the fall of 2001. Mr. Reeves, working through our Parks and Recreation Department, has proven to be a dynamic, competent and well-respected community asset who has brought our county’s children and their families into a sport they would have missed had former circumstances prevailed. Soon, Reeves would be joined by the Smith brothers, Keith and Kevin as well as Phil Renew, Kenny Sifre, Eric Sifre, and Cad Johnson who enthusiastically coached and refereed the teams. Add to this the energies and financial support of the many individuals, families, and sponsors coaching part-time, raising money, organizing events and one understands why the soccer parking lots are filled during every competition.

I learned from the dedicated TO THE EDITOR:

On behalf of the Shepeard Community Blood Center and the Wills Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, we express our appreciation to those who donated blood at the quarterly drive November 17. We were pleased that more than 50 individuals responded to t he call for donors.

Wilkes County is blessed to have regular donors who encourage others to join them in giving, but the need remains great. Northeast Georgia faces an ongoing critical shortage of units for trauma, burn and surgical patients.

This drive the Blood Center expanded the hours to last from noon to seven oclock and will repeat this time frame in February. We hope to see you then.




Blood Drive Co-chairmen coaches that soccer is the most popular and largest sport m the world. This is a very old game and there is documentation that a game involving kicking a ball into a small net was popular during the Chinese Han Dynasty around 200 and 300 B.C. The Greeks and Romans had a version of soccer which permitted ball carrying. Modern soccer is known to have begun in England and the first ball was the head of a dead Danish brigand. In the middle ages, whole towns and villages competed with kicking, punches, biting and gouging heartily encouraged.

Soccer came much later to The United States but has been on a roll for the past twenty years. Some of the reasons given for interest in soccer are:

Participation can begin at an early age, i.e. five or six is not unusual.

Cost of material is modest.

A participant is not required to be 6’4 or weigh 200± pounds

Soccer appeals to a large group of young people many of whom would not join other sports because of limited physical and/or family financial conditions.

Currently, most support of our five Washington-Wilkes teams comes from the players’ families.

This is not enough when one considers the positive effect this is having on our children from five years old into their teens. It is an uncontested fact that the lack of other activities and interest offered to children outside basic academic courses is a major cause of our serious dropout rate. My hope is that soccer will soon be installed in the WashingtonWilkes Athletic programs. There is too much evidence of the positive effect that “Soccer Fever” is having on communities all over the world for soccer in our schools to be ignored.


P.S. – Regarding school dropouts, I would encourage restoration of the music, theater, arts, swimming, and industrial arts programs from which those of us over forty benefited as students—but that’s for another letter. Thanks expressed for more than 50 who donated blood

Many hands made recent art show ‘grand success’ TO THE EDITOR:

The Washington Wilkes Connections Art Show was a grand success and I would publicly like to thank so many of the people who worked to make it such. The Washington Wilkes Arts Foundation sponsored this event. I would like to thank you and The News-Reporter staff for the coverage and early mention of our event. The News-Reporter is crucial to the success of any event in our county involving the public.

The caliber of art that was exhibited was superior. Many of the artists that participated usually only show in galleries and went to extra efforts to be involved in our art show. I would like to thank each artist: Larry Wheeler, Jamie and Ken Calkin, Signe and Genna Grushovenko, Dot Moore, Sarah and Michael Dowling, Jennifer Kirk, Mary Mellon, Kay, Hattie, and Grace Odell, Sandra Whittaker, Sharon Chandler, Katherine Stoltz Barber, Catherine Fievet Blount, Sarah Abramson, Carroll Andrews, Linda Chestnut, Caroline Leslie, Pam Congrove, Laura Loving, Anne Ray, Ann Lanier, Anne Fievet Lamb, Helen Hutson, Joel Pope, James Trimm and his gallery artists, and Delores McAvoy and her students. (Delores McAvoy is so instrumental in teaching and promoting art appreciation here in Wilkes County) We owe the artists a big debt of gratitude for sharing their talents with Washington.

Karen Wheeler, as the artist’s coordinator worked so hard to make sure all details were covered for the artists’ experience to be positive. Evelyn and Bill Bennett, Polly and Joey Fievet, Anita Darden, Louise Maynard, Vicki Harvey, and Barbara Riccuiti worked long hours before and during the art show. I would like to thank Kathy Lindsey for attending to a million last minute details in addition to helping Catherine Fievet in painting bypass signs. Carol Cartledge and Mel at WXKT radio for their interest and promotion. Debbie Bennett, as the publicity chair, did a great job. Christy and Mike Todd, Mr. Amit Mehta, and Jim Carter for the generous use of the Fitzpatrick spaces, tables and linens, and being such an asset to the Foundation’s functions.

A very special thank you to Laura Purdy who is always ready and willing to assist however she is needed. Thanks to The Washington Downtown Development group for their generous support and to Chief Davis and the Washington Police Department for their cooperation, and concern about our safety. To the County Commissioners for making available the use of the rest rooms in the Courthouse. To Felicia Echols, at the Chamber of Commerce, for her friendly attitude and willingness to help. A huge thank you to Jerry Denard and Mary Craven for an artist’s reception that was a smashing success.

The wonderful cooks who willingly brought food for the reception were Gail Boyd, Misty and Rich Friedman (we even have chefs who donated!), Deb deShazo, Vicki Harvey, Polly Fievet, Evelyn Bennett, Debbie Bennett, Louise Maynard, and on top of organizing, purchasing, and decorating Jerry and Mary! O. A. Denard, Tommy Wells, and Kathy Lindsey for beverage serving and cleaning up. Steve and Deb deShazo and staff for preparing a fabulous brunch to benefit the Foundation and to Steve for coordinating music during the weekend. Kip Burke, thank you for all the ways you helped! To the city officials for making the Pope Center available in case of inclement weather, a special thank you to TO THE EDITOR:

The following businesses and individuals were instrumental, by donation or services, in making the 2005 I’d Rather Be In Tignall Fall Festival a success:

Rayle EMC, Movie Gallery, Cali Nails, Farmers State Bank, Farmers and Merchants Bank, Regions Bank, Ingles, Home Café, La Cabana, Lin’s Wok, Huddle House, Kumbak Café, Farm Bureau, McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Jockey Club, Big Chick, Pizza Hut, Bee Southern, Farmers Furniture, Fareway, Palmer Equipment, Colonial Builders, Radio Shack, CVS Pharmacy, Fievet Pharmacy, CocaCola Company, Kwik Stop, Scarboroughs, The Garden Party, Tena’s, Petal Pushers, Rockin’ Rooster, Citgo Bulk Plant, Washington Ford Mercury, Kwik Car Wash, Wilson’s Citgo, Pioneer Machinery;

Tyler’s Machine Shop, Poss-Ace Hardware, Fitzpatrick Hotel, Wilkes Telephone Co., Otter Creek Farm, Hollander Home Fashions, Tignall Texaco, Tignall Hardware, Mayflower Coffee Co. Kettle Creek Arms, Jack Rhodes, Frankie Ware, Nonie and John Yochim, Corey Slaton, Betsy Harrison, Josh Bufford, Roy Harrison, Clyde Rogers, Larry Fort, Greg Rogers, Floyd Higgins, Dave Keener, Jimmy Harper and family, Freddy Brown, Gwyn and Greg Ware, David Shoemaker, Cynthia Johnson, Laura Eberhardt, Randy Luke, Rev. Albert Huyck, Rev. Marvin Mason, Lighthouse Quartet, Kenny Martin’s Basic Praise Group, Williams Family, Craig Gammon, Blake Thompson, United Methodist Church, and Cost Cutters Liquidation Sales.


STEERING COMMITTEE Yoshe Jenkins for her availability. I feel so thankful to live in Washington Wilkes where the spirit of kindness and helpfulness is offered daily.

The Washington Wilkes Arts Foundation welcomes memberships. The Foundation’s purpose is to raise awareness of the arts in Northeast Georgia and to support, through scholarship and donations, the arts and performing arts in this area with special emphasis on our children.


Businesses, people instrumental in fall Tignall fest success

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