OUR VIEW: Highest of highs, lowest of lows

Published 1:44 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2023

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On Saturday in Athens, Georgia, students, fans, and faculty honored the University of Georgia’s football team for its 65-7 victory over TCU to claim back-to-back national championships.

For approximately one mile from Bloomfield St to Baxter St, fans lined S Lumpkin to get a glimpse of players, coaches and recruits as they traveled in luxury vehicles, trucks and on top of fire trucks to Sanford Stadium. During the 45-minute parade, players interacted with fans, signing autographs and throwing footballs back and forth to children, simply enjoying the accomplishments of the 2022 season.

Following the parade, Gov. Brian Kemp and Coach Kirby Smart were among the speakers reflecting on the season and the second consecutive championship during the UGA Football Celebration held on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. Other speakers included UGA President Jere Morehead and College Football Championship Executive Director Bill Hancock, who presented the team with their trophy before a stadium filled with some of the same fans that were cheering along the parade route. At the conclusion, a flag was raised in the north end zone signifying the teams national championship victory.

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For any Bulldog fan and player, it was the highest of highs and suddenly none of that mattered when early Sunday morning the news broke that 20-year-old offensive lineman Devin Willock and Georgia recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy lost their lives in a horrific vehicle accident on their way to meet other players and staffers at a local Waffle House. Another player, NFL draft prospect Warren McClendon, and recruiting staffer Tory Bowles were also in the vehicle. McClendon escaped with minor injuries, However, Bowles is still listed in stable but serious condition.

As tragic as this is for the Georgia community, it is a stark reminder that we should never take life for granted. Don’t hold on to grudges you have with family and friends. Life is just too short. 

Hug your children often, tell them you love them and call them if you can’t hug them in person. They will appreciate it. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Willock, LeCroy and Bowles families as well as the student-athletes and members of the UGA Athletic Department.