Macon Magazine

April/May 2018

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A P R I L / M A Y 2 0 1 8 M A C O N M A G A Z I N E | 2 3 ARENA FOOTBALL COMES HOME BY HANNAH JETT-MOORE When Derek Stingley rides around Macon, he's driven by nostalgia and grit. It has been more than a decade since he coached here, but the view of a revitalized Macon hasn't ceased to amaze him. The former Philadelphia Phillies player with an arena football background has a philosophy that players buy into – and they have, especially in Macon. He began his coaching career with the Macon Knights and he most recently called the shots in Shanghai, China. He will get that shot again with the Georgia Doom. Arena football is back in Middle Georgia. The roster is stacked with NFL and Arena-experienced players, but what may be more impressive is just how many of them have roots or ties to the area. What's equally impressive is how much the players care about who they're playing for, especially their younger fans. With a majority hailing from Fort Valley State University and the Bibb County school system, the lessons and legacies they carry are remarkable. "Having hometown connections is really key," Stingley said. "When people come to watch a game, you're giving them more than just a football player. They're more than just a guy wearing a jersey; you actually know the person under that helmet. ... You may have known them since they were little. It's incredibly special and it matters." Elaine Lucas, a Macon-Bibb County Commissioner and longtime educator, knows that sentiment well. Both of her children grew up around sports and both played arena football. She said she finds it gratifying to have the sport so close to home again. "Having the Doom here means a lot to our family," she said. In fact, her son Lenny is the Doom's offensive assistant coach. Her son Al suffered a fatal injury while playing the game he loved, but his legacy has not faltered. "Of course, it's always sad, but we will bring Al to the games in our hearts," Lucas said. "We miss Al, but he was committed to athletics, service and education. It's important for young kids to see you can have all of those and the Doom does a wonderful job at that." The Doom kicked off their inaugural season March 24th at the Macon Centreplex. Learn more about the team at

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