Early 2013 has been exhausting

mlough@macon.comJanuary 30, 2013 

It has gotten to the point where the first two months of the year are downright dizzying.

And here we go again.

The new year was hours old when Georgia fans watched the Bulldogs bop Nebraska. Days later, they had to watch the BCS national title game with mixed emotions: “We should be there, and the team we almost beat hammered a team we’d beat, too.”

Russell Henley kept area golf fans -- and a fair number nationally -- enamored with his remarkable run to the Sony Open title. It was pointed out that course or competition wasn’t what he’d soon face regularly, which doesn’t matter much when you consider his absurd score and cold-blooded putting.

Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times wrote about Henley as he prepared for the Humana Challenge, saying, “Henley, who would normally be just another twenty-something tour newcomer who has all his hair and a golf swing they could use in textbooks, was not merely blending into the landscape, as were most of his peers. His reputation had preceded him. Fellow players stopped to chat. Overnight, Henley has become recognizable. He is kind of a cross between Brandt Snedeker and Huck Finn. A walk along the driving range with a reporter brought more pats on the back and congratulatory fist bumps. ...”

Folks around here will have to calm down about Henley. Being on the leaderboard will be more common, a pro golfer playing like a pro.

The Atlanta Falcons broke hearts, barely beating the better team one Sunday at home and then losing to the better team at home a week later, blowing a collective 37-0 lead in two Sundays.

So action-packed and filled with second-guesses were those two games, we can still break them down with analysis and then walk away cursing one minute and praying somebody talks some sense into Tony Gonzalez the next.

Barney Hester floored scores by leaving Tattnall Square for Howard, a job that’s physically about 10 minutes away and figuratively a million miles away.

Mount de Sales kept the hits coming by acknowledging the inevitable and voting to rejoin the GHSA and making the knees of the GISA wobble a little bit more.

Fort Valley State women’s basketball head coach Lonnie Bartley racked up win No. 624 in the middle of January, putting him atop the wins list of historically black college and university women’s basketball coaches. He’s also respectably high on Division II and all-time wins lists.

Mercer men’s basketball head coach Bob Hoffman had to wait a game longer than most expected for his 400th win as a men’s head coach. His 500th as a college head coach is not far down the line.

February has yet to greet us, and it has a pretty full slate, starting off with one of those head-shakers: National Signing Day and the obsession with 17-year-olds one has never seen yet, well, obsesses about.

Dale Murphy is a Hall of Famer in millions of hearts, and about 500 of them will be on hand when Murphy visits Mercer’s “First Pitch Classic” on Feb. 13. There are only a few worthy of being called “Mr. Brave,” and one will be here in about two weeks.

A week after that is Georgia Sports Hall of Fame weekend, beginning that Friday with the jacket ceremony and concluding Saturday with the inductions of Buck Belue, J.B. Hawkins, Heather Stepp McCormick, Skip Caray and Reggie Wilkes.

And basketball races heat up, with the SIAC tournament beginning at the end of the month and posturing in the A-Sun, Peach Belt, SEC, A-Sun, Southern and Mid-Eastern Athletic tournaments starting to leave more bruises.

The month ends with a visit from former Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik to the Macon Touchdown Club’s year-end jamboree.

Nationally, nothing slowed down as football neared its end.

Notre Dame would actually like less publicity and ink -- which nobody ever thought possible -- as Non-existent Girlfriend Gate continues to humor, baffle and annoy the sports populace.

Lance Armstrong admitted he was a liar and a bully of mind-numbing proportions. Another story on using performance-enhancers broke days before the Super Bowl. In a completely unrelated item -- hah -- the New York Yankees want to dump Alex Rodriguez.

And in less than two days, the sports world lost Earl Weaver and Stan Musial, seriously depressing fans in two superb baseball cities in January, yet reviving some glorious memories.

Bring on June. Sports fans need the rest.

Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or mlough@macon.com

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