Atlanta fans… do we truly live in the most miserable sports city the nation???
February 29, 2012
Boy oh boy… Do the hits just keep coming to the city of Atlanta and its team’s fan base or what? According to Tom Van Riper’s article with Forbes I live in the most miserable sports town in the United States! At first, when I seen one of my followers tweet this article late Tuesday night, I chuckled about it and asked my follower the sarcastic question of – “So the three major teams making the postseason in its leagues makes a city a miserable sports town?” I thought nothing more about it but then when I woke up this Wednesday morning and went about the day and read Mark Bradley’s blog (local sports writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution) agreeing with the article and it made me think more and more about what Riper and Bradley had said and I came to a conclusion and trust me… this very rarely happens. I conclude that Atlanta is definitely one of the most miserable sports town in this nation! Hands down, no doubt it about! If Atlanta is not the most miserable sports city in this nation it is definitely somewhere in the top of the rankings.
What makes us so miserable of a sports town
Gosh, where do I even begin? Right away I think a lot of us (and I say us because I am an Atlantan and I am a fan of the teams here) will think that these guys are taking into consideration the wins and losses of the teams in this city but that, in my opinion, has so little to do with what makes this a miserable sports town. However, since both of those guys touched on the play of the teams in this city I guess I can start there as well.
All of the pro teams in this city finished with winning records during their regular season’s last year :
(Ranked them according to the winning percentage below)
Atlanta Falcons – 10 wins, 6 losses .625% winning percentage (eliminated in the first round of the playoffs)
Atlanta Dream – 20 wins, 14 losses .588% winning percentage (eliminated in the wnba finals)
Atlanta Braves – 89 wins, 73 losses .549% winning percentage (did not qualify for playoffs)
Atlanta Hawks – 44 wins, 38 losses .537% winning percentage (eliminated in the 2nd round of the playoffs)
From a regular season stand point all of the teams win over half of their games played and so from that point of view there is not much to argue about or even be miserable about. If you are a fan of the teams though you look at those numbers and there is more to the story than those numbers can show. The Falcons struggled to beat teams with winning records, the Hawks took the last part of the season off after they clinched their playoff spot. The Braves ran out of gas and didn’t show up in September when they managed to win only 9 games out of 27 games played that month. I can’t comment on the Dream because I don’t follow them enough to make a comment about their play so I won’t pretend to know anything about their season.
Who was the most miserable team to watch last year?
The Braves in September was just downright horrible to watch. They went into the last month of the season with 80 wins (remember, they won a total of 89 games) and all they could do is win 9 games and blow their lock on the playoffs. They were a team beat up and depleted by injuries and a team that did quite a bit of under-performing.
The roles fans play
Adding to the misery of this sports town is the fact that you have so many transplants that live in the city that continue to support their team – I don’t see anything wrong with that at all. However, the role transplants play in this city play such a large role mostly because transplants come pretty close to matching and maybe even outnumbering those of us who were actually born in Atlanta. Not putting any blame on the transplants but it gets miserable to go down to Turner Field and sit in the Braves stadium and be outnumbered by Cubs fans. It gets annoying seeing the Knicks come into town and seeing Knick fans numbered amongst the Hawks fans. Its painful listening to Falcon fans get out cheered by Packer fans or even Saints fans.
Then there are the fans naturally born here who choose to pull for other teams not located in the city. At one point, when I was a tad bit younger, that really bothered me but I’ve gotten to a point of ignoring it but again it adds to the misery because the transplants plus the fan that rather pull for a team in another state and city causes the attendance problems that continue to plague both the Hawks and the Braves.
Fan bases versus fan bases… fans versus fans
Another bothersome thing which is really starting to grow is the idea that its fan base versus fan base and team versus team. I have never heard of this happening anywhere else but here. You have Hawks fans against Braves fans, Braves fans against Hawks fans, Falcons fans versus… whomever. You can continue on with that pattern and you will see where I am going. Its absolutely ridiculous to me because I pull for each of the teams here. I don’t watch the Dream games because 9 times out of 10 I’m at Turner Field watching the Braves but at the same time I’m very aware of what they are doing. It bothers me when I see a Hawks fans saying their team is so much better than the Braves because (insert random negative argument). It bothers me when Braves fans say that they are better than Hawks fans because of (insert random negative argument). Fans comparing “their team” vs another team in this town is very petty.
Knee jerk fans
The frustrations of the teams have also made fans very pessimistic towards the teams here and to expect nothing but failure. The failures, frustration, and pessimism cause fans to have knee jerk reactions about any little thing. Teams could win 9 out of 10 games but that 1 loss will cause some fans to act as if the sky is falling. That then stir up other non-pessimistic fans to call fans bandwagon fans or not “real” fans which lead to bickering and arguing which is now comical to me. Mostly because I have never seen anything like it before. Does this happen anywhere else but in Atlanta?
The media loves misery
The coverage of the sports team in this town also plays its part of making this city a miserable sports city. In this town you have 1..possibly 2 good sports shows on the local radio stations. The majority of the time the sports shows are focused heavily on pro or college football and will continue talking about both sports throughout the NBA and MLB season. Try finding a sports show in this town capable of talking basketball – Hawks basketball – and I will tell you that you have a better shot at finding that needle in a hay stack.
The one newspaper in this town constantly crushes the teams in this city and since its just one paper here that gets dumped off on the fan base. The stories don’t have to fairy tales/sunny clear day stories but at some point of time the route “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all” should be taken. A good example of the poor coverage of some of the sports in this town can be seen when you go to the Atlanta Dream section of the AJC…. yup, compare it to the other teams here.
So, definitely Atlanta is a miserable sports town. I always say that fans of Atlanta teams have very strong hearts – we have too. Speaking of which…
There are great fans here
Even though this is a miserable sports town I absolutely love being a fan of the teams here and will continue to support the teams here. I enjoy living here in this town and I think there are some really great fans here – just like me. When you find good, loyal fans of teams here in this city I promise you they rank among the best. I know this because I have been able to interact with those kind of fans quite a bit. We have suffered through some of the worst seasons a team could have. We have suffered through some of the worst national game performances a fan could ever sit through. We have even made it through gut wrenching playoff performance yet we continue to come back. These loyal fans are either attending games regularly or watching games regularly.
All that said… For those kind of fans its extremely tough to be a fan here in this town. You have to suffer though the laughs of fans of other teams, listen and read all of the negative press, and then be mentioned as being part of the most miserable city in the nation.
I got something to say
I hope there is a day when the teams in this city can make those loyal fans proud of them for winning a championship. Those loyal fans have definitely been through a lot and if there is a such thing as deserving a title those fans definitely deserve it and have earned it. Until that day or time come…. we will continue to be part of arguably the most miserable sports city in this nation.
What say you?