I was raised in a small rural Georgia town. I still live in a small rural Georgia town. This is by choice. I love my hometown, just as many of you love your hometown. There’s something about “home.” Small rural Georgia towns offer things that larger cities don’t. For better or for worse, if you love your small rural Georgia town, you think it’s the greatest place on earth. My friends here at TGT and I have a lot of fun with this. They don’t find my small town to be quite as delightful as I do. For some reason, Corbin doesn’t like the fact that our high school football stadium overlooks the Dollar General. But he never turns down a meal at Scott’s BBQ.
Something I think is fairly unique to a small rural Georgia town is the intimate sense of community. Everybody knows everybody, and for the most part loves everybody, even if you don’t like everyone. Kind of like family- you can talk about your own, but nobody else can. Country music songs are written about small rural Georgia towns. You’re also proud of your own. Very proud. When somebody does something good from your hometown, everyone shares in the sense of accomplishment. High school sports are HUGE in the small Georgia towns that dot the rural countryside. Not saying they aren’t huge in the larger cities- clearly they are- but it’s just different. If you’re from a small rural Georgia town, you know what I mean.
Right now, Cochran, Georgia is Wichita State Country. Native son Carl Hall and his Shockers have made an amazing run through the NCAA Tournament. Businesses around town have signs out front encouraging and congratulating Carl. You can’t go anywhere without someone bringing up the topic of Carl and his Wichita State team. For a small town like Cochran (Bleckley County has a population of less than 12,000; Cochran less than 6,000) it’s a really big deal to have a hometown kid to be playing in the Final 4. It’s a huge deal. That kind of thing doesn’t happen often to small rural Georgia towns. Kids from Atlanta play in the Final 4 every year. They play in BCS National Championship games and in all of the major professional leagues. But towns like Cochran don’t have this opportunity very often. That’s why, when it happens, it’s a really big deal. Again, if you’re from a small rural Georgia town, you know what I mean.
Tomorrow night, everyone in Cochran will be tuned in to watch Carl Hall and his team take on Louisville. This is the biggest stage, and Cochran is sharing in Carl’s success. It’s fun, and it gives us all a sense of pride. To many, this is just an exciting Final 4 game. For the community of Cochran, it’s more than that. It’s a chance to see one of our own do something incredible. We’re proud of Carl and are having a great time watching him play on national television. This is the kind of thing that unites small towns and brings everyone together.
We’re wishing Carl and his team all the best as they get ready for the biggest game of their lives. Win or lose, we’re proud of you Carl!