I have finally had enough.
After many years of being a rather active member of the Atlanta Falcons message board, I have decided to quit. Quit bashing trolls. Quit giving my take on the Falcons. Quit applying my admittedly sarcastic slant to any and all things related to the Falcons.
Most of my experiences on the Falcons message board have been very pleasant. Ninety-nine percent of the people, who post on the Falcons message board are decent, relatively normal folks who share a love for the Falcons. I have even made a few good friends on there.
I have learned things about the Falcons that I probably would not have known if I hadn't been a member of the board. At its best, a really good message board is a conduit through which great information, trivia, and even breaking news can flow.
Being a freelance artist, I flooded the board with funny caricatures and even realistic art. It was a fun way to keep the mood light and interject some humor into the discussions about the Falcons and the rest of the NFL.
The Falcons message board was really no different from any other one. There are hardcore fans, who really genuinely love the Falcons but are willing to see and talk about flaws on the team.
There are Negative Nancies. These are the fans, who find that one ugly cloud in that beautiful blue sky and try to convince you that a devastating tornado will surely come from it.
There are the good fans and the trolls from other teams. Both of those types were easy to recognize and easy to deal with.
Virtually all of the activity that takes place on a message board is fun, entertaining, and even enlightening.
There is a rather ugly side to message boards too though. Far too often simple disagreements can quickly turn into personal attacks. Taken to an even more outrageous extreme these same disagreements can devolve into threats.
That was the final straw for me.
How a spirited debate on the merits of Mike Peterson versus Keith Brooking can cause the rancor that would justify a threat of violence escapes me. (Sorry Keith, but I took the pro Mike Peterson side).
When any pastime ceases to be fun though it's probably time to find a different way to spend that time.
So don't go the Falcons message board looking for "Gritblitzer." He has hung up his smart aleck persona and paintbrush.