After a one-two punch of the Falcons losing a close game on Monday Night Football and the Braves being eliminated after the normally reliable David Carpenter gave up the lead in the 8th inning, I’m wondering if it’s time for me to stop being a sports fan.
I know that’s awfully fair-weather of me, and that my attitude is why Atlanta is such a shitty sports town. But at the same time, these are kind of shitty sports teams because they’re bad at the worst possible moments. They don’t consistently suck. I assume fans with consistently crappy teams just accept them as lovable losers, or get a nice pick-me-up if their team should happen to win. Atlantans aren’t so lucky. The Braves and the Falcons have to give the illusion that they could go all the way. They have to give the illusion of a dramatic victory. And then they lose in a spectacular fashion. They lose on the most public stage possible, and the Atlanta fans get crushed.
The teams have been especially vindictive this year. The Braves won the division title for the first time since 2005. I had hope that a younger team might not have the baggage of older Braves teams that could never get past the first round of the playoffs. I was wrong. They were just as terrible. It would be nice to think that they’ll mature into a serious ball club, but that’s not going to happen. Something breaks in the Atlanta Braves when October comes around. And as for the Falcons, their weaknesses have emerged. After years of scraping by with thrilling victories, they’re now on the losing side and proving all their detractors right.
Detractors have plenty to crow about, and they’re not wrong. But as I tweeted both games tonight, I didn’t like myself. I felt like an absolute bastard who was clogging up people’s Twitter feeds with my negativity. A good sports fan is never resigned to failure. They hold on to hope until the last possible minute. They’re indefatigable. I thought I was a good sports fan, but I was wrong. And if I’m going to behave like I did tonight, then I shouldn’t get to call myself a Braves fan or a Falcons fan. I’m a spectator. I can cheer, and I can boo, but I can’t say I’m a fan. I’m as much to blame as the teams I’ve failed to support.
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