Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rise Up, Or Else

I have been meaning to write, as someone whose Atlanta sports fandom goes back to Felix Millan, Bob Berry, and Walt Bellamy, about the current collective attitude of Atlanta sports fans.  There has been a noticeable change.  After being teased by the Falcons in 1980, the Braves in 1982, and a perennially strong Hawks team that kept bumping against ceilings created by the Celtics and the Pistons, the eighties as whole were such a drag of ineptitude and disappointment that the first years of the Braves 1990s run felt like magic, and the Falcons 1998 Super Bowl year was a dream.   But we are no longer so easy to please.   Only one World Series victory, and that so long ago that I saw a VHS of it in a thrift store last week.   No NFL championship.   No advance past the round of eight EVER for the Hawks.   This city is so desperate for a championship, so starved for a parade,  that levels of performance that would have positively thrilled us just a few years ago are now met with a wait-and-see reserve.   Regular season victories that would have delighted us in the past are now merely opportunities to note shortcomings that will make the ultimate prize unattainable.   For a certain very large contingent of Atlanta sports fans, unless you’re hoisting a trophy, you suck.  I don't share that perspective -  my memories of the truly lean years are too fresh, and I think being unable to take pleasure in anything less than a championship makes being a sports fan a sour experience  - but the "win it all or else" mood is widespread and intensifying by the year.   

That’s the load the Falcons have on their shoulders tomorrow.   The prognosticators don’t give us much of chance.   I hope they’re wrong.   

NOTE:  My friend Rich alerted me to the a beautiful piece in SI that really captures what it is be a long-suffering Falcons fan.  

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