Though it's still more than eight months away, the schedule for my birthday this year is looking really good.
The Augusta GreenJackets will play the Hickory Crawdads on Friday night, Aug. 29. The University of Georgia opens their season the next day at home against Georgia Southern. And on Sunday, NASCAR races in California.
My wife always indulges my on the weekend of my birthday, allowing me to binge on sports. I'll catch the race on TV, and hopefully sit in the stands for the GreenJackets and the Dawgs.
Baseball, football, racing; a redneck boy can't have a much better weekend than that.
Even though all this is still eight months away, there seems to be a strong effort afoot to ruin it. It isn't directed at me personally, of course, but it feels like it.
So: Will the sports writers please shut up about how good they expect Georgia's football team to be next season?
For crying out loud. Once the Fox Sports announcers for the Sugar Bowl finally realized Hawaii wasn't going to make a miraculous comeback, the speculation started on how good the Dawgs will be next year.
Most of the best players - including running back Knowshon Moreno and quarterback Matthew Stafford - will return. And if the defense from the Hawaii game is any indication, Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow might want to call in sick before the Georgia-Florida game this year.
But come on: The sports writers are playing this game of building up the team's prospects so high that no matter what UGA's eventual pre-season ranking, it will seem like a letdown if it isn't No. 1. And as soon as they lose a game - and, yes, it could happen (don't get your hopes up, Tech fans) - the writers will portray the team as some huge disappointment.
Just let things play out. Reminisce about the past season, complain about the phony BCS "champion," and salivate over the possibilities for next year.
But please; ease up on the overblown optimism. It's sure to come back and bite us.
After all, I've got a birthday to think about.
It wasn't their birthday or anything, but Columbia County commissioners a month ago took a trip to the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Oconee for their annual "planning advance."
It's a weekend retreat, similar to what big businesses routinely hold. This sort of thing probably isn't what most people have in mind when they say they want government to be run "like a business," but it's hard to begrudge elected officials and county staffers from putting in a weekend of planning time.
Is it expensive? Relatively speaking, no. A quick look at the costs ($175 hotel rooms, room rent, meals) adds up to just more than $3,000, though the full tab is much higher once accommodations and travel for staffers are added in.
A simple expense sheet from the county administrative office notes that individual departments paid for their staffers' participation out of their training budgets, so all those have to be added in separately.
But even if it all adds up to double that amount, the expense still isn't that big. Heck, the county spends way more than that on a single consultant. That obviously makes the consultants happy; two of the dinners at the retreat were paid for by consultants - which is probably good, considering the Ritz-Carlton charged $27 apiece for commissioners' breakfasts, and $40 each for lunch.
Incidentally, the school board - which manages a budget more than double that of the county commission - held a one-day planning retreat a couple of months ago.
Their exotic locale?
The West Lake Country Club. I hear they all wore Hawaiian shirts, though.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.