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Stop bashing Union Grove

I'm going to say something that probably isn't going to make me popular in various segments of the Southern Crescent, but it just has to be said.

This Union Grove High School bashing has to stop.

Yeah, I said it and I know I've stepped on some toes. I'm not doing this job to be Mr. Congeniality. Every time I've turned around this past school year, people have been complaining about Union Grove, calling the Wolverines cheaters and such because of their big enrollment size and the fact that they played in Class AA this year instead of Class AAAAA with the other Henry schools. There's all sorts of confusion about the class numbers UG reported to the GHSA years ago and I'm not about to add to the confusion.

I'm just tired of the ill will towards them. Just recently, someone called the Daily Heraldoffice complaining about our all-area boys soccer team, saying no Union Grove players should've been on it and that boys soccer coach Mark Matthews didn't deserve to be our Coach of the Year. He even called UG an "elitist, rich, White school." Unreal!

I've got three words for him and other UG bashers: get over it!

I'm guessing that the UG bitterness stems from the football team's great season, being the first Henry team to win 10 or more games and advance deep into the playoffs. But I have a question for all the bashers: if UG was head and shoulders above the competition in Class AA, shouldn't the Wolverines have bashed their way to state titles in every sport?

I bet I know the answer to that one: cheaters never win, right? Wrong. Basically, UG didn't win any state AA titles because each Wolverine team ran into other AA teams that were better. Bottom line, plain and simple.

The Wolverine teams were really good this year. They won region titles in softball, volleyball, football, and boys and girls soccer. The baseball team finished second in the region and the girls track team won the Henry County Championships. (Please forgive me for not knowing the golf, swimming, cross country and tennis teams results – see last week's column for the reason why).

Enrollment size doesn't matter on the playing field – if you're good, you're good. Several Wolverine teams lost and won against teams in higher classes. The football team defeated Henry County, but got trounced by a much quicker Tri-Cities team. The softball team defeated Henry and Eagle's Landing, but lost to Stockbridge. So what if UG had 200 football players on the sidelines – when they traveled to Americus, the Wolverines were beaten by the better AA team. The AA Decatur Bulldogs whipped the UG boys soccer team handily in the state semi-finals – no matter how many players suited up on each sideline.

In my most humble opinion, people here in Georgia place way too much stock in how these schools and teams are classed. Everyone believes AAAAA is better than AAAA which is better than AAA, etc., etc.

In New York and places around the East Coast, there are no classes. Everyone plays everyone for one state championship. Small New York Catholic schools always play the bigger public and private schools for state titles. The better team usually wins, regardless of class size and team size.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily. He can be e-mailed at Jarmstrong@henryherald.com