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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And ESPN’s TitleTown USA is…………..Valdosta?

In case you haven’t been watching ESPN for the past month, they held a “contest” called TitleTown USA, comparing different cities and their respective “championship pedigree.” A special panel of ESPN experts determined the 20 finalists and fan voting determined the winner. Contesting towns included such sports meccas as Massillon, Ohio and Parkersburg, West Virginia, along with virtual unknowns like Boston and Los Angeles. After heavy fan voting, the winning town was……….Valdosta, Georgia. When the winning city was announced, I said to myself, “Valdosta… do I know that place?….isn’t that where the actor who played Lamont Sanford on Sanford and Son was from?”

Actually, I found that little fact on Wikipedia, as well as the demographics of this supposed “TitleTown.” Again, according to the greatest source of information ever assembled (other than DXP), Wikipedia tells me that Valdosta, a town of 124,000 people is home to Valdosta State University, which has won two Division II national championships in football, as well as dominating the high school football ranks with Valdosta High winning 23 state titles, and cross-town rival Lowndes adding another four. And according to voters, these D-II and high school titles are sufficient to earn Valdosta the moniker of TitleTown USA.

Like many, I was a little perplexed on several fronts. First of all, when did Comcast start installing cable in trailers so Georgians could watch ESPN? Secondly, where the hell was I when Georgians learned how to use the Internet? And finally, how do high school and D-II titles trump professional sports championships? If I were handing out the banner of TitleTown, I don’t think I could overlook an NBA title, three Superbowl rings, and two World Series wins in this decade alone. But somehow Boston came in 5th in the voting. Differentiating Boston and Valdosta on “championship pedigree” is like comparing Kathy Bates and Gisele Bundchen in a Victoria’s Secret audition. Let me try and explain the difference here. Winning ONE Superbowl, just one, has no NCAA Division II equivalent, but if it did it would be around 80 consecutive D-II titles combined with every high school football title in state history. So with that, I have decided Boston is TitleTown USA, with its 6 major pro sports titles this century already, and received a little help with my argument from the lovely Patriots and Celtics cheerleaders. The guys at Barstoolsports have already printed up the T-shirts.

Congratulations Valdosta. Now you can add more hardware to the trophy case that already includes titles in such competitions like missing teeth, unintelligible English, high school dropouts, percentage of population wearing overalls, and most concentrated Dukes of Hazard re-run demographic.