In the history of sports no year has been more disappointing for a fan base than 2013 was for fans in the state of Georgia. This was going to be the year, our year… Until it wasn’t.
The Braves were the talk of MLB after a torrid 12-1 start to the season. Tony Gonzalez announced that he was coming back for another year with the Falcons. Heck, Gucci was so confident in the Falcons that he promised people money if they didn’t win the Super Bowl. The University of Georgia was going to go the distance with Aaron Murray back for his senior year. The Dream were headed to the WNBA finals. It was finally going to happen. After all of the years of coming up short, one of our teams was actually going to win a championship and quiet the Los Angeles-loving, Lebron James-obsessing pundits on ESPN. But then one-by-one we sat and watched as our hopes and dreams unraveled before our eyes and we sunk back into another depression that can only be understood by a Georgia sports fan.
Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren unloaded huge amounts of cash to get a couple of marquee players in the Upton brothers. They had the best bullpen in the majors. They coasted all year long and won the NL East for the first time in seven years. And then came the National League Division Series. The Braves had a chance to take to take down the Dodgers and SportsCenter’s crown jewel – Yasiel Puig. Game 1 – a 6-1 loss. That’s okay it’s only the first game. Game 2 – one of the most exciting postseason games of the year. Braves tie the series 1-1. Game 3 – a 13-6 loss. And then came October 8, 2013. The single worst day in Atlanta sports history. The Braves blew a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, lost the game and were eliminated from the playoffs. An entire year’s worth of genuine hope taken away in a towering homerun down the left field line.
That very same day the Falcons were playing the New York Jets after a slow start to the season. The Dirty Birds were 1-3 but had a chance to right the ship with a win over the mediocre Jets. After rallying back from a 27-14 deficit to take the lead with under two minutes remaining, the Falcons let Geno Smith charge the Jets 55 yards down the field and into victory lane. The Falcons dropped to 1-4 and with Julio Jones looking like he was lost for the year – most; if not all, expectations for a Super Bowl winning season were gone.
And if that was not enough for Atlanta fans, the very next day the Dream dropped the second game of the WNBA finals en route to getting swept 3-0 against the Minnesota Lynx.
But after all of that disappointment, most fans in the Peach State still had the Bulldogs to bank on. Aaron Murray was the most prolific quarterback UGA had seen in a decade. He was setting records and the Dawgs were expected to be one of the top teams in the nation. They were hot out of the gate as expected. But then came the injuries. And then came the losses. First one, then another, and before we knew it UGA was delegated to just another good SEC team. But a small sliver of hope presented itself when the team played Auburn. The Dawgs roared back to life to take a one point lead in the late minutes of the fourth quarter. But right on schedule, as if the sporting gods were dead set on adding insult to injury, The Immaculate Deflection happened. UGA lost the rivalry game in one of the most improbable/lucky fashions imaginable. Fans in our state are genuinely some of the most die-hard fans imaginable, and have been for ages. It is actually impossible to remain a sports fan here if you are not die-hard.
But regardless of fan-fortitude, I believe I speak for everyone in the state of Georgia when I say that 2013 was a nightmare. It was the epitome of what it means to be a sports lover here in Georgia. I would like to say that it is a year that we will hopefully soon forget…but with how monumentally disappointing it was, that simply will not be the case. 2013 will live on as the worst sports year in Georgia history.