For the past several weeks, ESPN has travelled arond the country to find the community they could crown "Titletown, USA". Thre was, at first, a small problem with that. Green Bay, Wisconson had given themselves that appelation and had even copywrighted the term. I don't know if ESPN ever got permission, but I guess they got at least a blessing--no lawsuits in the sports pages between Green Bay and ESPN.
Well, after weeks of cheesy human/community interest stories on SportsCenter, the honor of being Titletown, USA was bestowed on Valdosta, GA. For a very long time, it has been the high school football capital of the world. If there really is something as a high school national championship, they've won at least 3 or 4 at Valdosta High School. Lowndes County High has won 3 out of the last 4 state championships. Jesse Tuggle played college football at Div II powerhouse Valdosta State. All these facts were mentioned on Sports Center along with J. D. Drew being from the south Georgia town. They failed to mention that pro wrestling superstar Buff Bagwell claims Valdosta was well.
Viewers called in and voted for who should be known as Titletown. Valdosta captured over 29% of the votes. 29%!! Could a small city in south Georgia have stuffed the ballot box? If so, they deserve the title because they have passionate fan support. OR it could actually be that Valdosta has a reputation that would garner votes from across the country. This is possible. In 1991 as a Charleston Southern mission trip group made its way back to campus from New Orleans, we planned our route to include a stretch of US Hwy 84 which took us right through Valdosta. Why? Because even back then we had heard of their reputation as a football powerhouse. 17 years later it's Titletown, USA.
This makes me glad because it reflects more of the culture of our whole country were communities rally around what is happening on Friday nights instead of Saturday afternoon. No offense, Valdosta State, but you have to admit you are probably struggling to be in third place in popularity in your market (depending on when Buff's in town).
I am also glad that Columbus, OH did not win.