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 Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting.

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