The plight of a 20something Atlanta sports fan.
Sometime in the middle of June in the closing minutes of the NBA finals, LeBron James makes one of the biggest plays of his illustrious career with a block on an easy layup. That singular play was indeed the jugular to the throat of the Warriors record breaking season. In turn, was the moment the city of Cleveland was waiting over fifty years for. As I congratulated the Cavs as they celebrated it began to dawn on me…… Atlanta is the new Cleveland. Maybe it was denial, but as soon as the clock struck zeros the city I always love and will always call home had now became the laughing stock of American sports.
Before you continue reading you might think but hey “the braves won in 1995" what about that? Yeah I am very aware. One championship in nearly sixteen years of complete domination is not that much to show for in that time frame.
Growing up in Atlanta with over twenty-four years of sports heartbreak I’ve witnessed some of the most bizarre and seemingly inexplicable situations and ways to lose. I can go on and on about how Harry Douglas tripped over air, relinquishing our super bowl aspirations. Or how UGA was a tipped pass or timeout away from beating Alabama and going on to play notre dame in the national championship. A game they woulda easily won. I could talk about how the Hawks captured the number one seed in the NBA playoffs just to get swept my the aforementioned Lebron James and company. I could mention the loss of not one but two professional hockey teams. Believe it or not I could also mention that in his last game as the best player in franchise history made one of the biggest errors in his career costing the city a chance a glory. Yes I’m talking about you Larry Wayne jones.
However, what separates Atlanta from any other struggling sports city are the things that really don’t make any sense but seemingly only happen to us. What other city has had the face of the most popular sports franchise go to FEDERAL PRISON for dogfighting in his prime? What other city has had a coach high tail it out of town without saying a word to the front office or his players but LEFT A NOTE ON THE DOOR saying “it was nice knowing y’all”? What other city has had an up and coming general manager been made to leave over comments that were forgiven by the people that he was supposedly insulting? I can’t think of any.
I’ve been here all of my life and every year is like the same television program with three seasons that builds in anticipation every time yet lets you down in the season finale. Although my fellow residents of Atlanta are resilient it’s a wave of pessimistic optimism that’s been sprayed on the city. Anytime something promising sports wise comes to town it’s a meter of time of when people start to think “ok this is good but it’s two good to be true. Something bad is gonna happen and where gonna be walking to the parking lot with thoughts of how’d this happen and we were so close”
As the leaves change colors and a new beginning starts on the city with the expansion of two state of the art facilities I think to myself when will we get a parade or will I have to wait until I’m in my late sixties to be able to walk down peachtree street with my shirt off like a crazed maniac because when the clock hits zero a team from the city I love is finally holding up the trophy.