It’s bracket season in these here parts.
No, I’m not talking about the ACC tournament or even the NCAA tournament that so grips the nation’s attention for three weeks in March and April.
I’m talking the Hometown Showdown.
The N.C. League of Municipalities, which is like a trade association for town governments, is sponsoring its second annual competition between cities.
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The bracket-style contest, run through Facebook, features 32 towns and cities from all over North Carolina – from Kill Devil Hills in the east to Bryson City in the west.
Garner is back in the competition again this year too, after a lengthy run in last year’s contest. Other Wake and Johnston County towns include Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Clayton. There are big cities like Wilmington and Greensboro and small towns like Duck and Montreat
Here’s how it works: On Facebook, search for N.C. League of Municipalities. On their page, you’ll find a photo gallery with a photo representing each town in the bracket. Garner’s photo this year is an image of the Veterans Memorial. Click like on that photo and you will have cast your vote. As your favorite town advances through the contest, you can vote again.
And of course, you can keep up with the voting throughout the process by watching the number of likes your town and its competitor are getting.
Opening round voting in the Coastal and Piedmont brackets began Monday. Voting in the Mountains and Sandhills brackets begins March 9. Garner is in the Sandhills bracket.
We’re not sure what the winner gets other than bragging rights, but then, that’s good enough.
During this time of year, way too many North Carolinians get bracket fever. We’re looking at matchups and the possibility of playing against this team or that team in the next round. For Garner, Wake County counterpart Fuquay-Varina is up first. If Garneries can win that round, they could square off against another neighbor in Clayton.
Figuring out the brackets, projecting who will square off down the road is all part of the fun. But the contest is good for other things too. It’s an interesting barometer of hometown pride. Most of us really like our hometowns, even if we don’t live there any more. Others who grew up elsewhere, but now live in one of the competing towns like Garner are apt to tell their friends and neighbors that they moved their by choice and therefore are proud of the town they now call home. We want people to know about our hometown and what makes us proud of it.
And, doggone it, this is a fun way to show people how proud you are. So, if you’re proud to be from Garner, get on Facebook and vote. Call your friends. Get them to vote. Stand on the highest point in your yard and shout “Vote for Garner. People might think you’re silly, but... who really cares? Have fun with it. After all, daily life can be a let down sometimes. This is a chance to cheer and hoot and holler, all without leaving the comfort of your own home. We all deserve at least that much fun.