I've been a Falcons fan for only just more than a month. In that time, I witnessed the team fall short of expectations in the season opener only to rebound in one of the most emotionally charged games in franchise history.
Welcome to the Atlanta Falcons, Shachin. I hope you have a good medical plan.
I'm still adjusting to life as a Falcons supporter. The fans have been incredibly welcoming, offering me tickets, places to stay and even a night out on the town when I come to visit. I've already experienced that southern hospitality I've heard about all through the power of Twitter and Facebook. #newdigitalera, #awesome.
What my new friends didn't prep me on was how intense the game against the Eagles would be. Remember, I'm still new to the NFL and getting up to speed on rivalries, history, traditions, etc. It's my fault, though. I should have known.
Any sports fan however knows about the history with Michael Vick. If you read ESPN or CNNSI, you surely know the ups and downs. Vick helped give a face to a franchise looking for "that guy" after so many years. He gave the city hope. He helped unite different genders and ethnicities with his flashes of brilliance on the field. You didn't know if you'd get a 40-yard bomb or a 40-yard run. It's what made him so fun to watch and I can only assume, it's what made being a Falcons fan so exhilarating.
As I reflected on this, it dawned on me just how close I am to Falcons fans. You see, I went through the same thing in Toronto with an athelte so beloved, so talented, so much fun to watch that we dubbed him "half-man, half-amazing." Vince Carter. It's an athlete that brought so much promise and hope but ultimately was left unfulfilled.
Atlanta, you're where we were six years ago. You've got Matt Ryan now. We, too, had a golden boy replace Carter (Chris Bosh) but that didn't materialize.
I will say based on what I heard and saw that weekend, most fans have moved on and are excited about what lies ahead. With a young core that are under controlable contracts, the future looks incredibly bright for the franchise.
Shachin, your newest Falcons fan.