On Atlanta Sports And Family

This is what I hope to be the last word on the Falcons’ Super Bowl performance, and perhaps my first here on my sister.

Sunday wasn’t about me. For those of you that have access to my Facebook feed, you routinely see my check ins at Falcons home games. Those aren’t my tickets. They belong to my middle sister Libby. She’s the Falcon fanatic of the family. I remain attached to the Georgia Bulldogs, and I have only so much room in my life for disappointment beyond politics.

We grew up in a family of two parents and four kids. The only sporting events we attended as kids were Braves games on Ted Turner’s Straight-A student tickets. That allowed our family of six to see three games per year courtesy of Ted. We sat through many a horrible game, many with less than 10,000 people in attendance. We were once asked to move from upper level seats to somewhere behind home plate to make Atlanta Fulton County Stadium look less empty on TV. Born in the late 60’s, we’ve seen our share of bad professional sports. Disappointment is often part of the bargain of being an Atlanta sports fan.

Libby in many ways was the son Dad never had. While I didn’t catch any of Dad’s football player genes, Libby did well in sports as a kid and was the one that watched and understood the games for as long as I remember. She can still break down more than half the teams in the NFL’s strengths and weaknesses by position.

It’s been agony as she’s watched the Braves disassemble the team and send many of her favorites away. Her consolation has been watching the Falcons slowly but methodically build a world class, competitive franchise. She loves their wins. She truly agonizes over their losses. She’s a real fan.

As the Falcons addressed some early season stumbles she did what Atlanta fans do. She allowed herself to raise her expectations. We’ve done this many times before. It almost always ends the same, sometimes sooner than others.

Once the Falcons got into the Super Bowl, there was the brief question of whether to make the investment in going to Houston. Almost every member of my family has had severe bronchitis issues since November. The bug is as stubborn as the Falcons’ defense. It just won’t seem to quit. As such, instead of traveling to Houston, or even watching the game together, we traded texts throughout the game while nursing available lung capacity.

Had we won, I’d of course be happy for the team, but would have been most happy for Libby. She’s earned it. She’s as loyal as a sister as she is a Falcon’s fan, and even more unrewarded for it. It’s not always easy to be a member of our family. There’s a lot of love, but also a lot of responsibilities. We’re a lot to handle, and she’s often our quarterback. She deserves a Super Bowl win. Maybe next year. We’ll keep hoping.

Today is her birthday. She didn’t get a Super Bowl victory or even a trip to Houston. At this point she would probably settle for clear lungs and a good night’s sleep. That’s on par with the minimalist expectations of being a true Atlanta sports fan.

That said, she deserves better. I’ll keep pulling for the Falcons, even if I don’t particularly care about the team that much. It’s not so much for me, but it’s for an irreplaceable sister that has earned it.

Happy birthday Libby.


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