Showing 1 - 10 of 22 posts found matching keyword: atlanta
Sunday 15 October 2017
The Miami Dolphins came to Atlanta for their first visit to
Georgia Dome 2.0 Mercedes Benz Stadium, and I went to see them with my friends, Falcons fans Keith and Ken (and their lovely wives).
In the first half, the Dolphins played like the Dolphins, stumbling into a 0-17 hole. Jay Cutler was the worst he's been all season, playing without inspiration or conviction, placing balls where they would do the least good for the receivers. Just horrible.
However, in the second half, the Falcons played like the Falcons, committing penalties, throwing interceptions, failing to tackle, and just refusing to finish a game. The Falcons scored 0 second half points. The Dolphins scored 20.
Final score, 20-17, Dolphins! Whoo-hoo! Thank you, Falcons!
I would be remiss if I didn't mention my first impression of the new stadium. All I've heard is how wonderful it is. Don't believe the hype.
- The much ballyhooed 360° HD halo screen is worthless for half of the stadium. Those on the ground floor have to stare at the ceiling to see anything. Those in the rafters (like me) can't see half the screen because the near edge obscures the top half of the far side screen. (Given that they can't even make the roof open — not that you'd be able to tell from most of the seats — I assume that it would have been too hard to pitch the screens into a cone so that they would be visible to all?)
- Stadium concourses are given over almost exclusively to concessions with queue lines cutting into walkways, making it impossible to get around without running through crowds standing in line for beer and $2 hot dogs.
- And if you want a $2 hot dog, get one early. Lines don't move quickly. I didn't go myself, but watching and listening to those around me, the minimum wait time appeared to be 15 minutes. (And if you want a Coke, your only option is to stand in line for a fill-it-yourself fountain cup which entitles you to stand in line by the "free refills" drink fountains. That's two lines for the price of one!)
- Speaking of 15 minutes, that was the wait time for restroom breaks — to the men's room!
In short, I didn't see that this stadium was an improvement in any way over the Georgia Dome save the welcome presence of natural light, and I got the impression that I must not be alone. From the very beginning of the game, there were huge blocks of empty seats visible all over the stadium. (I'd guess it was half full.) Given the stadium's evident disdain for people who actually want to watch a game of football, I can't blame those ticket holders for wanting to spend their time doing something other than watch football there.
But enough about that. I went to the building not to pass judgement on it, but to watch a football game with friends. In the end, I think a good time was had by all.*
*At least, all of us cheering for the Dolphins.
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Friday 1 September 2017
Today is the first day of the 12th Annual Batman and Football Month at Wriphe.com!
I started the celebration early by attending last night's inaugural Georgia State University game at
Turner Field Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium. (Yeah, that name's not going to stick.)
This is an optical illusion. The stands were not this full.
Seven years ago Mom and I attended her alma mater's first ever football game, and we weren't going to miss the unveiling of their new home. Two games in seven years: that's better than I've managed for my old high school. And it might be the last GSU game I ever attend. If GSU and the city of Atlanta can't get their act together better than what I saw yesterday, I won't be back even in another seventy years.
It's not that the game was especially bad, although Georgia State was horribly outplayed by Tennessee State University. (The final score was 17-10 TSU, but it wasn't remotely that close.) Fittingly, the beer stands outnumbered concession stands three to one, which is a good ratio if your team sucks. Also disappointing was the pretzels. I never stood in the long lines to buy one, but I could see from a distance that they had ceased being twisted into "GSU" shapes. Pooh.
But what really, really sucked was the traffic. From the time I exited I-85 onto Fulton Street, it took an hour and ten minutes to drive two blocks to reach the Green Lot where I had prepaid for parking. While I'm no civil engineer, the problem appeared to be that there was absolutely no one directing traffic. Not a single policeman was seen until I was inside the stadium. Traffic was left to direct itself, and it went even more poorly than you might expect. I've been to a lot of football games, and this was the first time ever that it took longer to arrive than leave. (We left in the third quarter to avoid a second round of traffic jousting, and departure took all of 2 minutes.) If MLB games were anything like this, no wonder the Braves fled to the suburbs.
Ultimately, despite all obstacles, I had a good time because I'm just so glad that football season is back. (And the terrific TSU marching band helped, too.) Welcome back, football!
Monday 6 February 2017
The Atlanta Falcons were up 28-3 over the New England Patriots late in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. No team had ever come back from such a deficit in the big game, and the Patriots didn't look like they were going to be the ones to do it. All Atlanta had to do was keep doing what they had been doing for the better part of 2 hours, and they would be NFL champions.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you who won.
The Falcons were good enough this year; they should have been able to beat the Patriots. But the one thing holding back, the lead weight around their necks, was their own history. The 1999 Super Bowl. The 2011 Divisional game. Now the 2017 Super Bowl. When a few plays late in the game went wrong, you could see the Falcons lose confidence that they could win. If you think you're going to lose, you're right.
I'm not a Falcons fan, but I do consider myself an Atlantan. This loss hurt. It hurt bad. Like a second betrayal by an unfaithful lover, it's the sort of pain you never get over. You can forgive, but you'll never forget. You can only blame yourself for believing she wouldn't do it to you again. A loss like this, in a city seemingly incapable of escaping it's terrible luck at team sports (1 MLB title, 0 NFL titles, 0 NBA titles, 0 NHL franchises), this loss leaves a permanent scar on our soul.
As my friend Keith, a Falcons fan since birth, said at the start of the postseason, "I'll believe the Falcons can win a Super Bowl the day after they win a Super Bowl." After this game, I don't think either of us will live that long.
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Tuesday 15 September 2015
Ten years ago, tickets to the season-opening Monday Night Football game between the Philadelphia Eagles vs the Atlanta Falcons, went on sale in the wee hours of the morning on TicketMaster.com. My brother, an avid Eagles fan, wanted tickets desperately, so despite being awake for nearly 24 hours, I sat at my computer and tried to get him some.
For hours, I tried. TicketMaster has never been very good at anything, and that morning they were particularly bad. Time out after time out — until finally! The tickets it offered me were expensive, $150 seats, but they would be worth it. Only after I put in my credit card info and committed to buy did I realize that the tickets TicketMaster had offered weren't to the Monday Night Falcons/Eagles. Somehow, in my sleep-deprived state, I had purchased tickets to the preseason Falcons/Ravens game instead.
Of course TicketMaster refused to offer a refund. And by then, they insisted they were sold out of Eagles tickets. So I was stuck with tickets to a watching a team I don't like in seats I couldn't afford at a glorified practice scrimmage. Fan-fucking-tastic.
I tried selling my Ravens tickets on eBay at a loss, but there were no takers. I ended up giving them away to a friend who didn't even go.
Fast forward a decade, and the Eagles were back in town for a Monday Night Football season opener. I had't planned on attending, but while watching games on Sunday, I figured what the hell. I went online to StubHub.com — I never buy anything on TicketMaster anymore — and bought two tickets for $50 each. Since my brother no longer speaks to me, I gave a ticket to friend Brian. We met at the Georgia Dome and had a great time.
Philadelphia Eagles 24, Atlanta Falcons 26. I'm really going to miss the Georgia Dome when they tear it down next year.
Friday 11 September 2015
I'm not a big music person. Most of my cd collection is soundtracks, and I don't really care for live music. I can count the bands I've seen in person on one hand — Pink Floyd, Drivin' N Cryin', Living Colour, and They Might Be Giants. Now I have one for the thumb: last night I went to Atlanta's Aaron's Lakewood Ampitheatre to see Pentatonix.
I've enjoyed Pentatonix since they won NBC's The Sing-Off in 2011. I can't believe that a five-member a capella group can generate so much sound. Now I've seen them in person, and I still can't believe it.
Technically, Kelly Clarkston was the headliner. It's a testament to Clarkston's talent that a big crowd turned out to see her performance despite the terrible weather. I'd like to say that her set blew me away, but I didn't stick around to hear it. As I said, I'm not really a big music person.
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Wednesday 26 August 2015
Look at the present I received this week:
Of course, 96 Rock has been off the air for nearly a decade. The channel that became Project 9-6-1 is now Power 96.1, a "top 40" format. It is no longer programmed into my car radio, but it will soon appear on my car bumper again.
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Saturday 17 January 2015
The Miami Dolphins are replacing every seat in whatever the hell it is they call their stadium these days. Gone are the orange seats that looked so empty on television (and real life). They are set to be replaced by aqua colored seats the same color as found on Dolphins uniforms. I'm sure a sea of empty aqua seats will look much better as Joe Philbin leads the 'Fins to another not-quite-winning season in 2015.
I find this particularly amusing because the Georgia Dome used to have aqua seats. They were replaced in 2008 with red seats that made the Dome feel much smaller. The red seats sure have been visible in recent years as the Falcons reverted to form. (The Dome got new seats in 2008 and a new field in 2011, and now it's too old to use. That sure seems like money well spent. Glad the taxpayers aren't on the hook for any of it.)
Saturday 9 August 2014
I woke up on Friday to a voicemail message asking if I wanted to attend the Dolphins/Falcons preseason opener that night. I had turned down the opportunity when Mom asked months ago, but in the pressure of the moment, I gave in and accepted fate.
The tickets had come to friend Brian through connections at his job, and he says he had a hard time finding someone to accompany him at the last minute. ("I said to myself, 'I'll call Walter. He'd never pass up football tickets!'," Brian explained.) Judging by the thousands of empty seats at the Georgia Dome, most people passed on the opportunity to pay $59.00 to watch a glorified practice.
The last time I attended a preseason game, it was to see Dan Marino take about 5 snaps. Not quite a decade back, I tried to get Eagles/Falcons Monday Night tickets, and ended up buying four Ravens/Falcons preseason tickets. (I blame that snafu partly on TicketMaster and partly on sleep deprivation.) I couldn't give those tickets away! The way I see it, going to this game for free is cosmic compensation for that wasted $300 all those years ago.
I got my money's worth as the first-team Dolphins and first-team Falcons looked great last night on their opening drives. That wasn't too surprising. Offsenses always perform better than defenses at the beginning of the year. I considered it a better sign that the Dolphins' rebuilt O-line was able to protect Tannehill for a few plays. (The Dolphins didn't start giving up sacks until late in the game.) Maybe we'll be able to score some points this year.
Others were even more optimistic. "I think we could win the AFC East this year," said the Dolphins' fan behind me. "It's either us or the Bills." Given that the Bills haven't made finished better than .500 since 2004, I'd say those are pretty good odds. I wonder what the Patriots — division winner for nine of the last ten seasons — will have to say about that?
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Saturday 19 January 2013
After Coach Mike Smith's Atlanta Falcons finally won a playoff game last week, the city has gone nuts for the Falcons. Literally. Falcons apparel has sold out throughout the region. Pep rallies have been held at city government buildings. Everyone, it seems, is suddenly an Atlanta Falcons fan. All this excitement points to one thing: the Falcons are going to lose in the NFC Championship tomorrow.
Atlanta has earned its "Loserville" reputation. Our sports teams rarely make it to the big games, and when they do, they lose. Because we know that our teams aren't going anywhere, we don't get easily excited about their performance. It takes something rare, like an NFC Championship Game, to get the masses motivated. Unfortunately, once our "fans" get involved, we turn the pressure on the athletes from 1 ("nonexistent") to 11 ("debilitating"). It's a vicious cycle.
I don't know if the Atlanta players have been listening to the hype this week, but I don't know how they could avoid it. Shunning newspapers, radio, and television is one thing, but now there are banners, billboards, and bumper stickers everywhere! If the Georgia Dome wasn't already red and black, I'd expect to see painting crews hard at work right now.
Despite having the better record, the Falcons are underdogs against the visiting 49ers, who lost last year's Championship thanks to a single bad punt return in overtime. Underdogs should have less pressure to perform, not more. How can the players handle the sudden weight of new fan expectations? Are they to believe that they are suddenly as great as the new fans say? Hopefully the players remember that the only place to prove that is on the field on Sunday.
Maybe the Falcons will find a way to win. Even if they do, we'll just double down on the pressure over the next two weeks as the Super Bowl nears. I'd like to see the team win out, but I expect that there are going to be a lot of barely-worn Tony Gonzales jerseys on eBay next month. We're not known as Loserville for nothing.
Saturday 28 April 2012
For months, Mom has been bugging me to schedule a time to accompany her to the Picasso to Warhol exhibit at the Atlanta High Museum of Art. Since the exhibit finally closes this week, I at last acquiesced, and we went to the exhibit on Wednesday.
Mom hated it.
The exhibit included some very famous works by Romare Bearden, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Giorgio De Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol. I admit, I'm no fan of the early 20th-century abstractionists either. I personally cannot related to the cold aesthetic of Miró, Mondrian, or Picasso. I can't respect Matisse or Pollock, neither of whom could paint any better than kindergartners. I consider so much of the work of Brancusi, Calder, and Johns to be little more than decoration (which I don't disparage but also don't find worship worthy). Fortunately, the exhibition did include works by Duchamp and Warhol, who I admire for their shared "anything you can get away with is art" moxie.
Mom spent her brief time in the exhibition hall pushing politely past the headset-wearing crowd of audio-tourists. Even a casual observer would have noticed that she was determined to spend as little time among these "masterpieces" as possible. I finally caught up to her in the gift shop, where she spent more time looking at MOMA-branded furniture and postcards of Atlanta landmarks than at any work by those so-called 20th-century masters.
Beauty, it seems, is in the eye of the shopper.
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