Dogged by embarrassing images from last weekend

October 14, 2012 

I'm a big Georgia Bulldogs fan. I also love my Atlanta Braves. In other words, last weekend was a hard weekend. Thank God for the Falcons! (Yeah, growing up, I never thought I'd say that, either!)

Like all Georgia fans, after any series of five straight wins, I can begin to formulate scenarios in which the Bulldogs could play for the national championship. And like all Braves fans, I was convinced that Chipper Jones' final season was destined to end in fairy-tale fashion.

Based upon experience and history, perhaps I should have known better.

Last Friday night, I was able to catch a few innings of the Braves' wild-card play-in game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the same team who broke my heart as a Braves fan by stealing the wild-card slot last year and by beating the Braves in the 1982 National League Championship Series, when Joe Torre did the managing job of the century by taking that rag-tag group of players to the playoffs.

I was able to watch long enough to see Chipper's throwing error that set off a chain reaction of miscues and weird events. Then, I had to watch my stepson's high school football team play while I checked pitch-by-pitch updates on my smart phone, at least what all I could see through the cracked screen.

I was excited when I saw that in the bottom of the eighth, the Braves were threatening. But then I was confused when I saw that there was an unexplained delay. There was no rain. Well, it was raining beer cans and other debris, which I didn't learn until late in the evening when the news was abuzz with the umpires' blown infield-fly call and the subsequent animal-like behavior of the Braves fans there.

I found it somewhat amusing, and then I heard the story of a man who took his children to the game. His daughter was pelted in the back of the head with debris thrown by a fan. It wasn't amusing anymore.

Then I watched my Bulldogs get manhandled by South Carolina and delivered my usual rants about what a terrible offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is, although I couldn't figure out why outstanding quarterback Aaron Murray was so inexplicably off his game.

But some irate Dawg fans didn't care for an explanation. They egged and toilet-papered the rented Athens home of Murray and his roommate, linebacker Christian Robinson. The next day, Murray learned his father had thyroid cancer. And those fans thought they had a bad weekend being forced to watch that game. So did I.

Of course, I didn't throw any bottles or egg any houses. I merely sulked for a bit and then did what normal people do -- I got over it. Not that it makes me a normal person, but I like to emulate them on occasion.

I still love my Braves and my Dogs and Chipper Jones and Aaron Murray. And I even hope Mike Bobo gets a wonderful job as a head coach of a Division II football team in Montana or California.

But when I went through my closet in the days after those embarrassing events, I pushed past my many Bulldogs and Braves shirts because I was ashamed to wear them for the time being -- not because they're associated with those teams who wore them that weekend on the field but because of the losers who wore them in the stands.

So, what did I wind up wearing? A Jimmy Buffett shirt, of course. His fans just throw beach balls.

Chris Johnson is an independent correspondent whose "Best of Chris Johnson" is now available for Kindle. Follow him at

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