For the past 9 years, I have lived in Loganville with my husband and our children. We chose to move to Loganville because it was centrally located to our jobs. Since that time, his office has relocated further away to Buford, and I no longer work. However, we have remained in Loganville.
Why have we stayed here and why haven’t we moved closer to his work place? Most might speculate it’s because of the economy. Indeed, it is not. We have chosen to stay right where we are because in a short amount of time, we feel deeply rooted in this place. In our time here, we have grown to love this town. This is the place where our children attend public school, and it’s the same place where we gather with friends to worship God on Sundays. Our neighborhood is one where people take time to look out for one another, and in times of need, you can find a neighbor mowing another’s grass or delivering a home cooked meal. We live here because we love it, and while Loganville isn’t my hometown, it is the hometown we have chosen for our children.
So, I was offended earlier this week when I heard my children’s hometown being described with these words – "po-dunk," "inbred," and "redneck." While we believe in God, we support the Devils -- the Red Devils of Loganville High School that is! And in case you didn’t know, our Red Devils baseball team is vying for the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP in AAAA baseball this weekend. For the past couple of weeks, different teams have traveled to Loganville to face the Red Devils in playoff games, and those teams have gone back home to hang up their bats.
While I know that talking smack is part of high school sports, it bothers me that opposing teams’ fans have used social media outlets to describe this town with such derogatory terms, and when something bothers me, I feel an overwhelming desire to respond. “Po-dunk” as defined by Webster is "a small, unimportant, and isolated town." While Loganville’s population of a little more than 10,000 classifies it as a small town, I do not believe we are unimportant, and since we do not separate ourselves from the rest of the world, one really can’t use the word “isolated” to describe us either. As for “inbred," I personally do not know of anyone who lives here who married his/her brother, sister, or cousin, so I just can’t make that connection at all. And lastly, the word “redneck” might be the only word that does have some validity. You see, if you find yourself here in Loganville in the next couple of days, you might indeed see some red necks. It’s been hot recently, and many people here have been getting a lot of sun on the backs of their necks watching the Red Devils play ball and win! So, our necks may actually be redder than others, and that makes me kind of proud. Finally, if I were asked to describe Loganville in three words, I’m not sure of the words I would choose. Describing this town in just three words would not be easy for me. However, I can say this about where I live.
Since moving here in 2002, the people here in this small town have moved me time and time again. More than once, I have been moved to tears as I stood shoulder to shoulder with others along Highway 78 to welcome home beloved soldiers, our hometown heroes. Several years ago, I found myself filled with emotion at an event at Loganville High School when the good people here gathered to raise over $10,000.00 for breast cancer awareness in honor of a former Homecoming Queen, a breast cancer survivor and a hometown sweetheart. I especially love that when the people here gather to watch high school sports, we all remove our hats and place our hands upon our hearts respectfully to listen to our country’s National Anthem. And I’m proud that after the games have been played, you can hear a pin drop as our teams gather together to pray. So, maybe if I absolutely had to choose just three words, I might choose “honor," “heart," or “respect” to describe Loganville and its people. In short, here’s a bit of advice to you outsiders who feel led to take to Twitter or Facebook to speak about the people here. Choose your words wisely, and learn more about this place before you make it your business to label it. Otherwise, your words just might motivate many of us to show up, to cheer against you, and to smile as you go home. After all, it’s Sunday afternoon, and there is still more baseball to play here in our town. And win or lose tomorrow, we believe our Red Devil coaches, players, and fans are the BEST!