Intersections – The Falcons and Me
By Nicki Salcedo
There are two things I don’t cry over: football and politics. I support. I vote. But I know my team’s limitations. And I still believe in winning.
My football season ended a few weeks ago. Every year I am tempted to write a letter to my team to apologize for the things I’ve done that contributed to our losses. Why should winning be dependent on the athleticism of the players and the strategy of the coaches? It has a lot to do with me wearing my lucky shirt and whether or not I watched the game.
I am not superstitious about anything except football. I have a black cat. She might be named for a baseball player, but she is quite a lucky cat. I open umbrellas inside. I always walk under ladders. I can’t resist the urge to tempt fate. But don’t mess around with football.
I have regrets for last season and hope for next. Here’s the letter to my favorite team.
I’m sorry for not watching that last game. I could have helped you win. Sometimes you forget how much your team’s success is dependent on me, a mother of four kids. I love bratwurst with grilled onions, but I don’t drink beer. I have a tendency to complain using lines from Shakespeare. I don’t have many skills in the world, but helping you win is one of them. When I focus. When I try.
Admittedly, the last Falcon’s jersey I owned was Deion Sanders #21 jersey. While everybody else is hashtag #RiseUp, I’m still doing the Dirty Bird dance. I have some catching up to do.
Years ago, I wrote a college essay about my future. That essay included a prediction that the Falcons would go to the Super Bowl in 1999. My dream came true. I was wearing my Neon Deion jersey during the playoff game against the Vikings. Sometimes when it is very quiet, I can still hear my echoing screams as Morten Andersen kicked a game winning field goal.
We might not have won the Super Bowl, but I stand by that season. Whenever we lose, I know we can win the next time. By “we,” I mean the Falcons and me.
Over the years, I’ve had kids. I have not been the fan I should be. I committed the worst crime against humanity by marrying a Cowboys fan. We have more than once entered the Dome with me in a Falcon’s t-shirt and my husband in an Emmitt Smith jersey. Those are the days I wish I still had my Deion Sanders jersey.
I have failed my team in so many ways. I do watch the game. I don’t watch the game. I focus too much on the game. Other times I’m distracted. I never ever pray for a win. That’s silly. God’s ears are so full up on Sunday, I don’t even bother. I need a new lucky Falcon’s jersey.
My husband says I don’t even know who the Falcon’s quarterback is these days. I don’t know who the head coach is. I don’t. I don’t have the capacity to store the starting lineup in my memory anymore. Despite this, I am still a fan. If you are a fan, you’ve just got to be a fan forever.
For the San Francisco years, I tried to have a second team. It was tough. I could have cheered for the 49ers or the Raiders, but there was always that Cowboy at my side. So I stayed true to the Falcons and apologized to them at the end of every season.
I decided to pick the Colts for my backup team this week and that did not turn out so well. How can a quarterback named Andrew Luck not be lucky? Maybe I’m the bad luck.
I might not be superstitious, but I’m optimistic. I’ll watch the Super Bowl. I will do the Dirty Bird during the halftime show. But no matter who is on the field, I’ll be cheering for the Falcons. When next season starts, I’ll be hopeful for wins and free tickets to games. I might not be a lucky fan, but I’m faithful. And I’m going to stay that way.
Next year the Super Bowl,
Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.