Heartbreak in Houston

I woke up today hoping that it was all a bad dream.  That we finished the game like we were supposed to, kicked the field goal, and won the Super Bowl.  I was nervous to even look at my phone, knowing that it would crush the fake reality I hoped that I woke up in.

But we lost. And we lost in the most heartbreaking, and Atlanta-esque fashion.

I was 11 the last time we played for a Super Bowl.  My sister and I were screaming and jumping when the Vikings missed the kick to send us to the Super Bowl instead of them.  I remember knowing that we were going to lose to Elway and the Broncos, but it was fun to just be there.  I was even younger during the Braves golden era in the 90’s, and remember that heartbreak when we lost the World Series, multiple times.  I could see it on my parents’ faces, and the faces of everyone else in Atlanta.  We were good, but couldn’t get over the last hurdle.

Being an Atlanta fan is hard.  The city only has 1 championship across all of our major sports in over 100+ seasons. One.  Being a Georgia Tech fan is just as hard.  The most recent college championship between GT and UGA is GT’s 1990 victory, 27 years ago.  We go through a lot of hard seasons in the hopes that we will have one, just one, to hold onto for the rest of our lifetime.

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Every season you know you can’t get your hopes up because they will inevitably be crushed during the playoffs or sooner.  I tried telling myself the same thing this year, but this team was different. It felt different. It was finally our year, our turn to be on top.  I let myself get caught up in the excitement, and by halftime I even started to tell myself that we were actually going to do it.

The announcers started listing stats about comebacks, and how it had never been done.  I listened and let myself hope. Our lead was too great, our offense was too good – it was going to happen.  We would have to screw it up big time to lose this game.

Then the Patriots started their comeback.  And I started to get that feeling in the pit of my stomach.  The feeling I had 3 years ago when Georgia Tech was beating UGA at half, but we knew that despite the lead, somehow they would turn things around, and by OT you knew they were going to win.

I didn’t even watch overtime.  I sat behind my friend’s couch, holding my knees and hoping to hear a miracle.  A miracle that didn’t come.

We quickly left, and the tears came in the car.  Why did it end like this? Atlanta deserved this more.  It means more to us, than them.  Boston has plenty of championships, why can’t we have this one?

I didn’t sleep well, and I’ve tried to avoid looking at the news. It’s too fresh to replay everything, and read the headlines about Atlanta’s big choke.

Now I know how Hunter felt last year when we watched Clemson lose to Alabama in Phoenix.  I can only hope that we are able to make it back to the big game for a rematch against Boston next year.

Honestly, I just don’t want to wait another 18 years before I see the Falcons play in the Super Bowl again.  We’ve been there and now we just need to finish it.  Atlanta needs this.

If you have an Atlanta friend, give them a hug because they went through a wild roller coaster of emotions in the last 24 hours.  And, just being an Atlanta fan is hard.

It’s tough, but come fall I’ll pull my Julio jersey back out and be ready to watch our Falcons try again to win the Super Bowl with the rest of Atlanta.

Rise up.

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