SCOTT on:

   Ug-a

Never apologize for what you care about.

If itís important to you, then itís important.

Georgiaís bulldog mascot UGA VI died recently and it was front-page news in Atlanta. It should have been.

For three straight days it was the biggest story in sports in a city with a metropolitan population over four million people and four professional sports franchises Ė although several of them stretch that definition.

In no other city of comparable size would anything remotely similar ever happen.

The college mascot dying is big news in cities like Fayetteville, AR, Auburn, AL or Baton Rouge, LA, not cities like Boston, Miami and Minneapolis.

But it is in Atlanta and thatís great. Itís something to revel in, to brag about, to be proud of. Itís a contradiction that makes Atlanta the unique and amazing city it is.

Busiest airport in the world. Home to Coca-Cola. Home to CNN. Best aquarium in the world. Cultural, dining, shopping, entertainment, media capital of the South.

And city that mourns the death of a college mascot.

Some say the amount of coverage given to the death of a dog from old age in a major media market is stupid, asinine, redneck.

Thatís an incredibly arrogant and myopic opinion: to believe that only what you think is important is actually important.

Of course covering the death of a dog is stupid, but is it any more stupid than the coverage of sports in general? Our fascination and close scrutiny of over-muscled millionaires, many of whom are jacked up on drugs, outlaws and uneducated goons chasing balls around a field.

UGAís death mattered to a lot of people. That makes it a story.

There are more Georgia football fans in Atlanta than there are fans of all the other teams who play here combined. Every little thing that goes on with the Bulldog football program is a big story.

The media is a business. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wants to sell papers and WSB wants to attract viewers, the best way to do that is to appeal to the huge numbers of Georgia fans in Atlanta.

The coverage of UGAís death, while unique in American sports and media, was appropriate.

It is the responsibility of the media to report upon what its audience finds most important. The Atlanta audience finds Georgia football most important.

For those of you who think itís the mediaís job to tell the audience whatís most important let me remind you of CNN who almost went bankrupt trying to force-feed America international news it couldnít care less about while Fox was creaming it in the ratings showing car chases and illegal immigrant roundups.

You care about what you care about. Donít apologize for that.

Atlanta doesnít need to apologize for being interested in UGAís death because someone from the outside might look at that interest as childish.

That Atlanta can have the High Museum of Art, a thriving music scene and a great restaurant culture along with a total fixation with college football and roadside boiled peanut and peach stands not 10 miles outside the beltway makes it unique. That contrast makes Atlanta. That contradiction makes this the thriving city it is.

Atlanta can be sophisticated, cosmopolitan, cultured and business savvy while still being country, folksy and Southern. Itís a hard act to pull of and Atlanta does it well.

Atlanta wears blue jeans with high heels better than any city in America.

It also canít be discounted the unusually close bond Georgia fans have to their mascot.

This dog, perhaps more than any other mascot, is the living, breathing embodiment of the football team and athletic department.

It was on the cover of Sports Illustrated for godís sake.

Combine the relationship fans have with the mascot and the incredible number of Georgia fans in Atlanta and UGA VI dying is the biggest sports story in town Ė and thatís great.



SCOTT ON:
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