Following The Madness — Day 2: Wandering Off Course

By Derrick Forsythe, Record Sports Editor
Posted 6/4/13

On our second day in Atlanta, we let spontaneity take over and altered our plans drastically. The results were successful. By the end of the day we were hanging out at Honey Boo Boo's house. We had …

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Following The Madness — Day 2: Wandering Off Course

On our second day in Atlanta, we let spontaneity take over and altered our plans drastically. The results were successful. By the end of the day we were hanging out at Honey Boo Boo's house. We had planned to attend the team practices at the Georgia Dome in the afternoon and the Atlanta Hawks game in the evening. Upon further discussing our interests, we concluded that each of us had already done both in the past and didn't find them to be overly exciting. Honestly, the practices are no more than slow-paced drills and turn boring about an hour into the four-hour session. Thankfully, Atlanta has plenty of other entertainment to offer, including a lot of television and movie sets. I was aware that the set for "Auction Kings," a show on the Discovery Channel about bidders battling for unique, high-priced items, was nearby where we are staying. So we ventured over to Gallery 63 to check out the items and hopefully meet the characters from the show. Fortunately, everyone was there, including the owner and main character on the show, Paul. We also visited with his son, Elijah, and the auction house secretary/manager Cindy, who was witty and comical. All were friendly and very accommodating, telling us about some of the most unique items. They had everything from signed Tiger Woods Masters pieces to 15-foot tall bronze indian statues. It was an intriguing visit. Afterward we traveled south to find the set of the popular show, "The Walking Dead." Admittedly, I have never been able to force myself to enjoy this show. Maybe it's because I didn't start watching it from the beginning — I'm not sure. However, my friends are both avid fans and thrill seekers, so they wanted to make the drive to find the set. We journeyed about an hour south of Atlanta to the town of Woodbury, where much of the show is filmed. We also tried to find the prison set, but it was private and despite prodding from my friends, I decided we didn't need to get arrested for such a minor accomplishment as seeing the prison. Later in the afternoon, we began the most tedious part of our haul. I have always been intrigued by the TLC show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child." In January, we had the opportunity to swing by her house, but I let the others in the group talk me out of it and drive directly home. This time I was determined to complete the mission, so we drove two-and-half hours south of Atlanta to tiny McIntyre, Ga. Having survived the agony of countless turns and twists on blacktop roads, we finally arrived to find the family outside mingling in the yard. We parked in the lot next door and asked Mike, also known as "Sugar Bear," if we could stop in for a visit. He cordially obliged and we walked into the yard and began a conversation that would last around an hour. Let me assure you, I wasn't even certain we would have the opportunity to meet the family. By the time we left, I didn't even feel like they were celebrities anymore. First of all, they are 100-percent genuine. What you seen on TV is what you get. They are friendly, thoughtful people who lead a happy lifestyle that just happens to be a little south of normal. As we began to talk, we discussed everything from Sugar Bear's job as a firefighter to Anna's boyfriend problems. We talked about how they have adapted to life as TV stars, to which they replied that attending school is the same as before stardom struck. That seemed to be the case, as the girls would holler at every car that drove by, yelling a name to accompany it. McIntyre is a small town, and they lead a small-town lifestyle. As strange as it may sound — they are stars beyond their hometown, but in McIntyre they are still the family that everyone has known them to be for years. While there we also got to play with the dog and spoil Baby Kaitlyn, Anna's daughter who was born with two thumbs and was featured on the show. We bought Girl Scout cookies from the girls, who have now sold over 11,000 boxes. Sugar Bear recommended the "Samoas," to which I had no idea what he was saying, but I will agree they are excellent. Perhaps one of my favorite moments shows just how far away we ventured from our normal plans. We explained why we were visiting Georgia only to yield a response of, "What's the Final Four?" from Honey Boo Boo's sister, Pumpkin. To prove just how realistic the show is, on one occasion, my friend, who has never seen the show, asked Sugar Bear how many daughters he had. Sugar Bear turned his head toward the right, slowly counting each silently with his eyes before stating — "Four." It was classic. Today, I can assure you we will not ditch the games as the NCAA semifinals are tonight. Atlanta and the NCAA have vamped up the fan experience this year. This afternoon in Centennial Olympic Park there are several free concerts, including hip hop sensations Ludacris and Flo Rida. Within short walking distance is Bracket Town, which hosts a wealth of interactive activities. Tickets for this weekend's NCAA games are driving a high price. A month ago, you could have purchased a ticket to all three games for $200. Today you would pay at least $350. Tickets this year also have a ticket-less option, which means your tickets are virtual, and you must bring the credit card you bought the tickets with in order to gain access to The Dome. I will enlighten more on this topic once I have seen it work first-hand myself this evening.

Day 2 of our Final Four trip took us off the beaten to meet the stars of several TV shows, including the cast of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child."

Record Photo.