Spring sports are well underway. The Georgia baseball team is dominating opponents while the Georgia track and field team has broken a few records.
We talked about this in our last baseball column. Georgia baseball fans have no particular animosity toward the University of Massachusetts. But they are yankees, and they did choose to invade Foley Field. They had every opportunity to stay safely north of the Mason-Dixon line.
As I type this, over the first two games of the series, Georgia baseball has outscored UMass 21-2. We may not write about the Sunday game either, as we prefer to pile on vs Tech, Florida, Auburn and adversaries we dislike a whole lot more than folks who may send us lobsters if we play nice.
Plus, in the 1640s UMass baseball used to practice on Boston Common. My 8th great-grandfather Anthony Stoddard used to graze his cattle there. That is why UMass had to move to Amherst. I can’t prove any of this.
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So let’s leave UMass and the hope that they might ship us lobster to discuss another underappreciated University of Georgia sports team. Let’s talk about Georgia track and field.
Forrest Grady “Spec” Towns put Georgia track and field on the map when he won the 110-meter gold medal at the 1936 Olympics. Yes, the same Olympics where Adolf Hitler went ballistic because his “superior” arian athletes could not beat Jesse Owens. They could not beat Spec Towns either.
Spec Townes went on to coach Georgia track and field and had the current complex named after him. He was reputed to be a “taskmaster”, to put it charitably.
Among the many other UGA greats is Reese Hoffa, who won the bronze medal in shot put at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. As most know, UGA has a rich history in the sport.
In 2020 Georgia track and field welcomes a young man who broke world records in high school. Matthew Boling sprints and jumps, and at the 2019 Pan American U20 Championships in Costa Rica he led the US team to two world records on two consecutive days.
On a Saturday the men’s 4×100 relay team broke a record. On Sunday the 4×400 relay team broke another. Matthew won the sprint quadruple crown and four gold medals at the event.
For a while people called young Boling “White Lightning,” a moniker he does not care for. From experience I can attest that the best way to get a nickname to stick is to ask that people not repeat it. As in, “Let’s not call it the ‘World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.’” How did that work out?
What few may know is Matthew has a twin brother who will attend Georgia Tech. Fortunately, that brother will not run track or compete in any sport. That way we can still like the brother, and he will never have to get waxed by any Georgia athlete.