Christmas came early for a couple of area basketball teams last week, as the North Hall boys and Chestatee girls claimed the 53rd Lanierland tournament titles.
The championships -- including the Lady War Eagles first ever Lanierland crown -- provided another bright spot in what has been an astounding 2012 for northeast Georgia sports teams.
With an historic football season fresh on our minds -- both for teams and for individuals -- it would be easy to say this has been perhaps the greatest 12 months in local sports history. But even if you look past this fall, you'll see that we have indeed witnessed something pretty special indeed.
It started back in the winter, with Jefferson wrestling claiming its 11th state duals title -- 12 months later area programs and individuals have bagged numerous GHSA championships, including titles in swimming, golf, softball, cross country, track and (of course) football.
Area programs also came close to crowns in soccer (Gainesville boys Class AAA runner-up) and basketball (Buford girls Class AA runner-up), along with semifinal appearances for several other teams. And there were plenty of other exciting and intriguing storylines along the way -- such as the Dawson County boys basketball team's postseason run and the GHSA's move to six classifications.
In other words, it's been a very busy and exciting 12 months... And we can't wait to see what 2013 holds in store.
Luckily we don't have long to wait. And since we're still here (Mayan calendar or no), we're already thinking about what the next few months hold in store.
That's not to say that we won't take a few looks back over the coming days. The titanic successes of area teams requires at least one wistful glance back to take in all that has been -- as William Faulkner once wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."
With that in mind we're going to do our best to keep one foot rooted firmly in that glorious past on this holiday week, while we also gaze hopefully ahead to a New Year.
After all, who wouldn't want to relive those moments in the Georgia Dome or in numerous other title venues?
And from all of us here at Access North Georgia sports, merry Christmas and happy holidays.