946 miles to TitleTown USA

What a pleasant surprise I received on my day off today when I took a break from some extremely important business matters to cull through my text messages to find that Mr. Koster had informed that I was wrong.

Valdosta, Georgia — home to more high school championships than any other town in the country — has been named ESPN’s TitleTown USA.Unlike the boorish stereotypes of my gender that you may find on television, I have absolutely no problem admitting that I was wrong.I stated just a few days agothat a large metropolitan city would have this so-called contest wrapped up by virtue of sheer numbers. Nope. It seems that big city folk are too busy sipping lattes, battling traffic and being trendy to care whether their town wins an inconsequential sports news show time filler.To be sure, I still find the contest to be superfluous and completely innocuous, but it’s good to see small communities band together with a sense of pride.And besides, Valdosta will always hold a special place — perhaps next to The Goonies and Eli’s cheesecake — in my heart.When I left the state of Florida to move back to Chicago, Valdosta, which is situated near the Florida/Georgia border, represented the first step in my departure from the Sunshine State. I knew somehow that if I could reach Valdosta in my VW Golf — which held all of my Earthly possessions — I could certainly make it to Chicago.Obviously, I made it to — and in about five minutes, through — Valdosta. So in a way, I guess you could say I had my own small victory there once. A mini championship, if you will.Okay, that logic may be insanely flawed and a bit ridiculous, but so is summer sports journalism.Conveniently, the contest has wrapped up just in time for pennant races to kick into high gear, football training camps to kick it up a notch and thousands of the world’s finest athlete’s to gather in China to have at each other.TitleTown USA served its purpose for ESPN — just as Valdosta served its purpose in my epic road trip back home nearly two years ago.So until next summer’s egregiously pointless act of sports journalism, I say congratulations, Valdosta. The world — as Jesse Tuggle told Wendy Nix during the celebration — has indeed taken notice. But not really.

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