At 7:40 last night I was nowhere.
I don’t mean physically, I mean figuratively nowhere.
At 7:40 last night I was staring at a blank piece of paper and nary a readable or coherent thought was passing through my mind.
Luckily for me, I wasn’t the only person in the newsroom last night. Luckily for me someone asked, at the exact moment my frustration over being nowhere was at boiling level, "How’s it goin’?"
"I am trying to write a column and I have nothing to say," I said.
My co-worker laughed at first and then after some thought said, "Why don’t you give out Christmas presents?"
Of that conversation, was born the following:
To the Class AAA No. 6-ranked East Hall boys, I give confidence and talent: two qualities so obviously lacking in the Vikings’ program.
To their female counterparts, I give outside shooting. Sada Wheeler and Tierra Benton are holding it down inside, but the Lady Vikings are hurting for a consistent outside shooter. When teams double-down inside, which they are prone to do with a South Carolina signee roaming around the paint, Wheeler and Benton need to be able to kick it out to someone who has the confidence to hit or to, at the very least, keep shooting until they do hit.
The Lakeview girls get size. They have a great coach, they have talent, but not having anyone over five feet, eight inches is just not good, nor is it something they can control which is, to me, the worst part.
To the Gainesville boys, I give a true point guard. You’ve got two great shooting guards in George Manomano and Martin Estes. You’ve got two really good inside players with Allen Dockery and Keith Wells. All that’s needed is a point man. A ball handler who can drive and dish because the Red Elephants have finishers galore.
To Parker Smith, I give a conscience. Seriously man, it’s getting to be unfair.
The Gainesville girls get a strong first quarter. There has been a trend with the Lady Red Elephants this year, it takes them a quarter or so to get going and, as a result, they are either coming from behind or allowing teams that shouldn’t even be in the gym with them to gain momentum and confidence. Starting strong kills confidence in an opponent, especially when a team has the ability to press and play half-court defense with the intensity and quickness that Gainesville does, and Gainesville has the talent to squash an opponent’s hopes, they just need to show it in the first eight minutes.
The Johnson girls get confidence. The Lady Knights have speed, shooters, ball handling, quickness...you get the picture. What they are lacking, however, is swagger and what team wouldn’t be a little down after nine straight losses. The Lady Knights got their first win though last Friday night and, hopefully, a spring in their step as a result.
To the North Hall girls, I give senior leadership. Letiecia Davenport, Elizabeth Williams and Ana Porras really need to step it up and start playing with some want to, especially on the defensive end.
The Lakeview boys get a better coach, Seth Vining clearly isn’t the man for the job.
Those last two were jokes for the humorless people fuming right now.
The Chestatee girls get more moments comparable to Kasey Smith hitting a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer against Johnson.
To the Lady Falcons of Flowery Branch I give a thermos full of whatever flavor kool-aid you were drinking during the first six games of the season. Keep your heads up, it will swing back in your favor.
The North Hall boys get another game against Class AAA No. 9-ranked Flowery Branch and this time both Josh Haymore and Brandon Nix are hitting from beyond the arc.
The Spartans and Lady Spartans of West Hall get seen, soon I hope. I loathe not knowing enough about either to give them a more appropriate gift, but hopefully they understand.
And finally, to the Flowery Branch boys I give continued displays of teamwork, humility and strength of character. You all are shining examples of what athletics should really be about.