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Emotions run wild as seasons near the end
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The last 10 days have been quite a ride for me in regards to following the tail-end of several athletic programs here in Newton County.

For one particular team (Alcovy baseball), it meant a 14-0 shellacking by a good-hitting Dacula squad - a wake-up call for the inaugural Tigers, if you will, who despite their youth and inexperience realized they still have much to work on.

For another team (Newton girls' soccer), it meant extending its season by at least one more game (second round of the state playoffs) - a first in school history. The Lady Rams defeated Windsor-Forest, 5-4, on Tuesday in a dramatic finish which took double overtime and a thrilling shootout before it was all said and done.

For the Eastside baseball team, it meant a harsh reality - the fact that it would not make the playoffs after a difficult loss to none other than Dacula on Wednesday, 8-6, despite a near comeback in the final inning. Nevertheless, the Eagles were worlds away from what they did last year, as the 2006 team lost every single region game they played. Entering Saturday, this flock of birds had won 11 region contests, with three more to go.

And for another team (Newton baseball), it meant the end of a season on "Senior Night" after an 11-0 shutout Friday by Union Grove - a heartbreaking ending for such a close group of young men. Knowing that the seven seniors on the team will never suit up again and perform on the same field is rather disheartening.

Part of my job as sports editor requires me to show impartiality during each athletic event. It's often times difficult to cheer for another team outside the county - no matter how talented or impressive the athletes are on the field or on the court. At the same time, it's also hard to hold back certain emotions when a team such as Alcovy, Eastside or Newton does well.

However, the games during this past stretch tested my strength, to which I think I passed, barely.

Take the Tigers. Alcovy's loss to the Falcons meant two things: the first-year Tigers have much to learn and they will be a contender in the near future should they stay together.

But how thrilling it was to watch the Newton girls' soccer game, especially since it came down to a shootout in which the Lady Rams clinched it after their goalie - Courtney Gunter - blocked the final shot. Just watching them celebrate at Homer Sharp Stadium and seeing the ecstatic head coach Mary Roach after the game was rewarding.

In a reversal of misfortune, speaking to the Eagles after their loss was not enjoyable. Since nearly the same thing happened to my baseball team in Mississippi 10 years ago, I could relate to their gloomy faces behind the green and white uniforms. However, they have a few things left to prove on the field, and a few more times to enjoy playing together before it's finished.

And speaking of things being over, that's what it is for the Rams - it's over for the seven seniors, who after speaking to them after the loss would do anything for not only each other but their head coach, Billy Roper. Certainly an 11-0 shutout was not what they had hoped for, either. And like the Eagles, the Rams were miserable, as well.

As not only a journalist but a quiet fan, it was quite an adrenaline-filled 10 days.