Marguerite Cline: Tailgating is on its way to Waleska
by Marguerite Cline
March 25, 2011 12:00 AM | 1732 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When I first heard rumors that Reinhardt University would soon have a football team, I thought it was a dumb idea.

But by the time the announcement was made it was going to happen, I was already excited about it. As some say, Waleska will never be the same.

The people of Waleska are accustomed to more traffic in the fall when the students are moving into the dorms. Then, as one of my sons called them, the leaf-lookers pass through going to and coming back from the mountains. Saturday football will bring even more.

Recently, my daughter-in-law, Millie, commented that we will be tailgating in Waleska.

That started me thinking. Reinhardt football will bring a boost to the local economy. The Super Thrift and the Dollar General will sell more ice, charcoal, fixings for hot dogs and hamburgers and soft drinks. The Subway, expected to open soon, will be packed.

One staple of many tailgating parties will be missing - beer. Waleska does not allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city. Reinhardt doesn't allow drinking them on the campus.

That brings up an interesting subject. Early in the life of Coca-Cola, it wasn't permitted in Waleska. As you may know, back then some folks called Coke "dope." The good folks of our town wanted nothing to do with "dope." Thus, they outlawed it.

During my years as Waleska's mayor, a newspaper reporter called. She had heard about that law and wanted to know if it was ever repealed. Then city clerk, Debbie McIntyre, and I couldn't find anything in the town records to show it had.

But let me assure you that you will not be arrested for drinking Cokes at your tailgating party. The town will spread the welcome mat for you.

It will be like it was when the Olympics were in Atlanta. Some of the athletes trained at Reinhardt and stayed in the dorms. They were from Russia and Africa.

Probably no one tried harder than Nathan Brandon, now director of Cherokee County Senior Services, to help them feel welcome.

At the time Nathan was on the staff of Reinhardt and lived with his family on campus. One day, he and a friend were driving to Canton for an early morning workout.

They stopped at the local convenience store for coffee. One of the athletes was trying to catch a ride to the bus station. Nathan took him.

When Nathan got back to his office, he learned one of the athletes was missing. So was the team's money. Nathan had aided and abetted the accused thief in skipping town.

Providing for a football program will cost lots of money. The shopping list will have footballs, helmets, pads, shoes, water buckets, lime, scoreboards and a hundred-plus items. Football scholarships will be needed to attract players. Salaries for the coaching staff and building a stadium will not be cheap.

A man of wisdom, Reinhardt President Dr. Thomas Isherwood probably thought about all of that and smiled broadly when he remembered that fundraising is in JoEllen Wilson's job description. She's the vice president for institutional advancement and external affairs.

In this down economy, raising all the money needed will be a tough order. But if anyone can get it done, JoEllen can. Many of us know from personal experience it's hard to say "No" to JoEllen.

She may have learned many of her well-honed fundraising skills from retired Reinhardt President Floyd Falany.

A few years ago while speaking at a meeting of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, Floyd shared an amusing story.

One of his daughters answered the phone. Someone was calling to tell Floyd about the death of a major donor to the college. Floyd wasn't home. So the caller emphasized to the child how important it was for her to tell her dad about the funeral arrangements.

That child was truly her daddy's daughter. She knew exactly what Floyd would want to know. So, she asked the caller a simple question: "Did he have Reinhardt in his will?"

I am sure the trustees and administration of the college already had enough pledges in place for funding before announcing the implementation of a football program.

However, if they are just a little short of money, JoEllen will spring into action. No one believes in Reinhardt University more than she does. If needed, I do believe she would stand in the middle of the road at the four-way stop in Waleska selling Krispy Kremes.

It would be the most successful doughnut sale ever.

Marguerite Cline is a former superintendent of Cherokee County schools and former mayor of Waleska.
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