I grew up in Thomson, Ga., and moved to Atlanta about 15 years ago. I started playing competitive volleyball very seriously, and have played in most of the Georgia Games since their founding.
I was glad to hear Augusta had bid to be the Georgia Games host city a few years ago, though I was unable to play that year due to work conflicts.
I volunteered to help run the volleyball competition this year, because the tournament directors are friends of mine. I was sure proud to see the way Augusta went out of its way to feature the Georgia Games.
There were signs in the windows of businesses welcoming the athletes and spectators; there were hotel specials for out-of-town competitors and guests; there were signs all around the city directing people to the different venues. What a great job.
In Atlanta, when we have the Georgia Games, it's just one more event going on that weekend. But in Augusta, it's a big thing - and you made it seem very special.
At the volleyball event, I heard some Atlanta-area friends of mine talking about how they enjoyed this year's games in Augusta more than any tournament they'd ever been to.
These guys are open players (the highest level), and they've played all around the Southeast. They kept talking about how the people in Augusta went out of their way to make them feel welcome, always asking if they were here for the Georgia Games and recommending places to eat. I can't begin to tell you how proud I was to tell them, "I used to live here." Well done, Augusta.
David Gardner, Atlanta, Ga.