If you’re an Atlanta sports fan, the history of futility is long and memorable for the wrong reasons. 28-3. Losing a National Championship on the last play of the game. Watching your NHL team move out of town (and the country, matter of fact). Never seeing your NBA team win a world championship, let alone make the NBA Finals over the past 63 years. The sole moment of sports glory was delivered by your relatively-new Major League Soccer club, but, I mean, it’s Major League Soccer. And lastly, there was a 26-year drought of your baseball team not winning the World Series.
The Georgia Sports Curse Is Over
But that was until Tuesday night (Nov. 2nd) when the Atlanta Braves won the World Series, finally ending the nearly-three decades-long 'Georgia sports curse' that has plagued an entire state of sports fans waiting for any of their major teams to accomplish the ultimate goal. While curses or trends have always been synonymous with sports but hard to believe at times, the Georgia sports curse was the opposite.
Every season, it was routine for the Braves, Hawks, Falcons, and the University of Georgia Bulldogs to be competitive and tease their supporters with hopes of a championship. They were mainstays in the postseasons of their respective sports and rightfully gathered that hype.
But after perennially successful regular seasons, Atlanta’s franchises annually bombed out of the playoffs in spectacular fashion. Think: blowing the largest lead in Super Bowl history or letting a true-freshman backup quarterback complete a 41-yard touchdown in overtime of the National Championship Game. With good reason, pessimism had been the default setting for Atlanta fans.
In this sense, it’s appropriate that this year’s Braves iteration became the team to overcome the weight of Atlanta’s past failures and win the World Series; they avoided succumbing to the pressure of high expectations by never really having any expectations in the first place. Midway through the regular season, they were below .500 and had lost their best position player (Ronald Acuna Jr.) and pitcher (Mike Soroka) to season-ending injuries.
Beyond their own injury-addled clubhouse, they seemed liable to get blown out by juggernauts like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants on the off chance they even made the postseason. But that's the beauty of sports. Any and everything could be up against you, and you can turn it in your favor because of one truth: You have to play the game, first.
The Braves chose to step up and live in the moment instead of letting odds and a curse define them. And for that, they are world champions and an entire state is in celebration. By vanquishing the Houston Astros in six games, they also vanquished the ghosts that have haunted Atlanta sports for parts of four decades.
Who says all curses have to last forever?