Let’s give it to you straight out. And go for the jugular.

Get this monkey off our back. Give everything you’ve got to punch it in the end zone, because we don’t have all day to throw back there.

I’m not loving sports cliches.

They’re plaguing us (like turnovers), and there are no moral victories to be found here. This is a Pox Americana on the sports world, things are snowballing, and we’re all getting outplayed in every phase of the game.

But, as someone once said, if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em. Sports cliches have won. They played a complete 60 minutes. Our hat’s off to them. There’s really no need to put this loss behind us, and let’s go ahead and take what the defense gives us.

A few observations — and I’ll try not to make any mental mistakes or shoot myself in the foot:

T’S THEIRS TO LOSE: Dalton’s Catamounts are certainly looking like the team to beat in Region 7-4A this coming football season. The Cats came up a little short in the playoffs last year against Griffin, but they’ve added a new wrinkle to their offense. Murray County transfer Cameron Hudson can flat-out fly at tailback. And everyone knows the Cats pride themselves on their defense. They have lots of weapons and could be a team of destiny.

THEY’RE HITTING ON ALL CYLINDERS ... NOT: Boy, it’s getting bad in Atlanta. The Braves have a 30-39 record and are wallowing in the basement of the National League East. You don’t want to say it’s over yet, because there’s a lot of baseball to be played, but the fat lady just pulled into the Turner Field parking lot, folks. Since starting a string of 14 straight division championships in 1991, no Braves team has ever been this far back in the standings.

SHOUTOUT: The Maxwell Football Club recently announced that four Georgia football players were named to the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik Awards. Junior running back Thomas Brown is one of 60 on the list for the Collegiate Player of the Year and seniors Tra Battle, Quentin Moses and Tony Taylor are among the 60 players named to the Bednarik Award watch list, which goes annually to the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Look for these young men to help the Bulldogs win a whole bunch of football games this year.

SOMETHING TO BUILD ON: Dalton had a rough end to the varsity baseball season under second-year skipper Teddy Craig. But the Catamounts showed a lot of resiliency in bouncing back to win the Big Wood Classic — a wood bat tournament — with three wins in bracket play over the weekend. This team has served early notice that they are committed to getting better.

OH MY, THAT WAS A GUTSY PLAY: Two reporters who asked contentious questions at a news conference introducing Dayton Moore as the Kansas City Royals’ new general manager had their credentials revoked on June 9. Do they even still play baseball in Kansas City? You’d like Bob Fescoe and Rhonda Moss, the penalized radio broadcast journalists, to take a defensive stand on this. But Fescoe and Moss really should be thanking Royals owner David Glass for taking them out of their game. And the Royals ought to receive an Academy Award for impersonating a sports organization.

THIS AND THAT: A lot of people wouldn’t cross the street to watch soccer, but you should be really proud of the way our guys hung in there on Saturday against Italy. They knew this would be no cakewalk. ... There was no charge for Tiger Woods on the front nine or the back nine in the first two rounds of the U.S. Open. Woods’ problems are likely a fluke — it was his earliest exit ever from a major — but the golfing legend is understandably heavy-hearted after the death of his father last month. Has it affected his mental toughness? ... Tiger Stadium, abandoned in 1999, will at last be demolished to create room for homes and stores. But a portion of the field will be retained as a Little League diamond. Good to see a real throwback won’t totally be done away with reckless abandon. ... It’s been five and a half years since my dad passed away, but you still never forget Father’s Day. He’s gone now, but the game never passed him by and he was always a winner in the bigger game of life. Miss you, Pop.

Well, that’s all she wrote. We don’t always get to play these games on paper, and I’m just glad I could contribute.

Keith A. Cerniglia is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen.

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