Oct. 15, 2013
By Loran Smith
This time of the year with college football results falling hard on the emotions of America's sports fans, it is not lost on us that we are also taking note of what is happening in baseball with the World Series coming up. Then there is the harvest scene which affects every landscape on the continent. You always conclude this is the most extraordinary time of the year. Fall is also hunting season, and in North Georgia streams, the trout are running. Every outdoorsman's cup is running over. To top it off, television brings you the latest in football and the baseball playoffs at the end of your weekend days. Even with the days getting shorter, you can kill a few doves in the morning, fly fish in the middle of the day followed by football, or baseball, on the big screen TV after the suns sets. What a time this is!!!
With Arthur Lynch, Georgia's rugged tight end, SportsCenter is his best friend. He can keep up with his beloved Red Sox on ESPN and with Georgia winning and residing high in the rankings, he might even see himself on SportsCenter some Saturday evening. His first priority is helping Georgia win a championship. All the while, he is keeping an eye on the Red Sox as the Sox work to make it to the World Series.
Lynch is developing his own impressive box score as an accomplished tight end. He is fourth in receiving for the Bulldogs with 13 catches for 205 yards (average gain per catch is 15.8) and two touchdowns. For his career he has 39 receptions for 653 yards and five TDs. He leads all receivers in leaps-over-tacklers after spectacularly hurdling a would-be-Missouri tackler last Saturday.
Life with the Dawgs in Athens is good. However, there was a juncture when Lynch had to make a critical decision about his future. He could have stayed home and played for Boston College. There would have been easy access to the Red Sox games. And the Celtics and the Bruins. To say nothing of lobster, clam and baked beans, menu choices which have long been a staple of his dietary life.
Or, he could opt to play in the Southeastern Conference which offered the best in college football competition. It meant that an ancillary benefit would be winters, less harsh with no ice and snow. He could leave his top coat in Dartmouth, Mass. where he grew up. Food would be an adjustment, however. First it was the sweet tea. He discovered that he liked sweet tea. That one was easy. Developing a taste for Southern barbecue was not all that difficult, and he was okay with fried chicken, but was surprised at those who ate it for breakfast.
The hunting options with his teammates is a big plus, and his spirits ratcheted up when he was invited to spend time at the lakes of the North Georgia mountains. "So beautiful and clean." His decision to come South to matriculate has broadened his horizons, as he has become compatible with his cultural exposure.
The central objective, however, has always been to play college football at a program which would provide the best opportunity to play in the National Football League. "I could not have done better when it comes to that than playing in the Southeastern Conference," Lynch says. "At Georgia the tight end gets a lot of balls thrown his way and with our offense, I believe I will have the best possible training to allow me to play in the NFL, my dream since I was a kid."
With an interest in history and politics, he will consider law school as an option, depending on what happens with the NFL.
As a true freshman, he experienced playing time, but now realizes he was not ready. Redshirted his second year, he reach a point of frustration and considered transferring. He had developed affection for Georgia, but was concerned he was not making the progress he desired. His bags were packed, he was ready to transfer when his cousin James Goodman called to tell him to "follow your heart." That was all Arthur needed. The bags were unpacked post haste. The work ethic was re-underscored. He would be the best he could be. Extra time in the weight room, due-diligence in the classroom. He saw improvement and became reenergized.
"Artie comes to play," says John Lilly, tight ends coach. "He is a good leader, he takes his blocking assignments seriously. He is smart and savvy. He is physical enough to block the defensive tackle and athletic enough to get open and catch the ball."
Lynch wants this season to become memorable for the Bulldogs and the Red Sox. If only the Braves and Sox could have met in the Series. He might have found a way to see a game in Atlanta.