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Being A Falcons Fan From Afar

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Every now and then I have to go for something that's not newsworthy in any way, shape or form. This is one of those times.

Every time I'm interviewed for this blog, people express surprise that I'm an out of state fan. They're usually downright shocked when they find out that I've never lived in Georgia in my life. And why wouldn't they be? Who in their right mind would follow this team from hundreds of miles away, much less start following them at a young age when they weren't really all that good?

As seemingly the only Falcons fan in New England, I've endured those questions a million times. Ninety percent of my friends are Patriots fans, who have basked in the glory of Super Bowl victories over the last few years. They tell me to give up. They ask me why I spend countless hours watching and reading and talking about a team nobody around me gives a damn about, and if it's really worth the effort. The answer I always give is that it is worth it. I've been a fan since I was too young to know how badly a team could break your spirit, back when the worst thing I had to worry about was the broken brim on my beloved black-and-white Falcons hat.

So what's kept me going all these years?

The simple answer is that this is my team. I can't give you an exact moment when I started following them, but before long I was throwing for 300 yards with Chris Miller in Tecmo Super Bowl and poring the box scores every Monday and Tuesday. I drove my friends, my parents and my little brother insane chattering about Andre Rison and Bobby Hebert. When I could, I'd watch every second of every game on our little Hitachi TV. I spent a nearly sleepless week leading up to the Falcons' Super Bowl in '98, wondering what would I would do if the Falcons won. I would've been a one-man parade down the cracked streets of my neighborhood in Maine, one of the loneliest and happiest fans in the world. And I sat through the Vick and Petrino miseries writing about it as my own purgatory, thinking that it might've been the lowpoint of my career as a fan.

I've seen the best and worst this franchise has had to offer over the last two decades, and I'd be lying if I said they were all or even mostly happy times. This blog has given me the opportunity to translate the extra work I put into being a fan--as odd as that might sound--into relating to you guys. Some of you watch the games from the Dome, some of you from bars in Macon and Atlanta, others from California and Carolina and the United Kingdom. It doesn't always seem like there's a lot of us, we proud Falcons fans, but we're out there and we come from all over. Most of us are never going to give up on this team, even though we've never seen them achieve the greatness we've all wished for.

So as I type this from a computer in the wild woods of New Hampshire, I hope you won't hold my fandom from afar against me. With a new regime in Atlanta, it's a time for us to come together from across state lines, creed, race and age and just be fans. We're not going to love everything this team does this year, but we're making baby steps toward being taken seriously. The Falcoholic will turn two years old in October, and I can honestly say that being able to finally connect with all of you out there has made me that much more eager to write and follow the Falcons every single day. God willing, we'll be able to celebrate a Super Bowl before much longer.

So that's a very brief version of my story. How did you guys become fans?