Note: The following party conversation starter was lifted wholesale -- floorboards and all -- from this post at Every Day Should Be Saturday, a college football weblog that would be one of the five items I'd present to an alien species as documentation of what it's like to be a human on earth (along with The Old Man & The Sea, Office Space, and the last two Sears catalogs).
At one point or another, we've all fallen short of the glory of perfect fandom. Whether we lost all faith in our team, rooted for a rival, or even committed the gravest sports sin of all (bandwagonery), now's our chance to clean the slate.
Here's how this works: post your most shameful sports confession. For maximum soul cross-oxidation I'd recommend at least one Falcons confession and one confession for any other team of which you're a fan, but any atonement combo will leave your conscience that much lighter than it was when you woke this morning. They don't even have to all be sports confessions -- maybe you feel led to confess your role in the BP spill. Scrub deep, my friends.
Two rules: First, no taunting of another fan's confessions unless taunting has been expressly invited by said fan. This is a safe zone and a tree of trust. Second, we require low down dirty shameful shame. This can't be some sort of, "I wanted Mike Vick to leave town right before he did." Well, duh. We all kind of did. Rather we're here to wade through the absolute murkiest missteps of our past so that we may emerge clean as the Dome's weird cotton-underpants-looking roof thing. As an example of what cold hard shame looks like, I'll go first.
Confession 1: I didn't see a single second of the 1998 Falcons season, by far the best and most spirited season in franchise history, until years later. I've been a Falcons fan since like 1989. However, during high school I was way too into my bad rock/rap bands (and girls). I ended up not watching any pro football from about 1996 until 2000, and I didn't really get back into it until 2001. I remember hearing about the Falcons more than usual, but I just didn't care. I missed Morten in the Metrodome, the Dirty Bird, and the god damn Super Bowl. (Sub-confession: I was happy to see Dan Reeves go.)
Confession 2: I rooted for UGA to beat Georgia Tech in 2005. Weeks before the game, Tech's AD at the time, Dave Braine, declared Tech would never be good enough to consistently win 9 games per season, and Yellow Jacket fans would pretty much have to deal with it. Eternal mediocrity isn't what you sign up for when you invest emotions in a team. So I embraced the dark side, bought a red and black UGA shirt, and wore it with verve and intent. Braine quit a month later, taking my five weeks of Dawgs fandom along with him. (Sub-confession: I really like Virginia Tech's traditions, Florida State's uniforms, Miami's everything, Clemson's SEC-esque fanbase, and Mark Richt's accent.)
Do I feel better now? I'm not sure yet.
Our man Adam Schultz also writes in to share a shame with the congregation:
My shamiest of shames: I bought into the Peerless Price debacle, authentic jersey and all.
First Confession: I bought into Tony Smith's future as a great back. Forgive me, my father who art in Football Heaven, for I have sinned. I have failed to recognize a Crappy Running Back, due to his Draft Position. My eyes danced with visions of a great running back, and in my childish ignore I saw Tony Smith In All His Glory. OH, THE SIN!I could not have possibly thought more of Tony Smith at the tender age of eight. We're talking about a guy who averaged less than four yards a carry in three seasons with the Falcons, a guy who the team drafted in the first round, and a guy who could not have been more of a fiasco if he had walked onto the field every Sunday without pants on. Despite this, I attached my burgeoning fandom to Smith, insisting he would be good to anyone who would listen—it was a short list by the end of it—for three seasons running despite the fact that there was no evidence that he could carry the football without injuring himself or falling down. To this day, I believe he broke Barry Sanders' career rushing record in an alternate dimension.
Man, those years sucked.Second Confession: I have never owned a Falcons jersey. I've had, in my lifetime, hats, posters, figurines, Christmas ornaments, pins, football cards, and a host of other memorabilia with the Falcons on it. In that time, I have never owned a Falcons jersey.That's right, kids. I never had an Andre Rison jersey. I never had a Jamal Anderson jersey. Not a Mike Vick, an Alge Crumpler or a Matt Ryan to be seen. I have somehow gone my entire life without owning a single official NFL jersey. Does this qualify me for stoning in the public square? I really don't know. Let's just say it's one of the odder quirks of my career as a fan.