I'm not sure I can make it through this article, it may just infuriate me too much to go back and remind myself of what a miserable year 2007 has been from a sports perspective for me. It also hasn't been a year that ranks very high on my list from a personal standpoint, and thus, the best moment in 2007 will be when the clock goes from 11:59 to midnight on January 1, 2008.
The year began with Georgia Tech blowing a lead against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, on New Year's Day no less—so when I say the year began bad, I literally mean BEGAN on a bad note. The woes of the Yellow Jackets would continue on through the spring, the summer, and the fall. The basketball team, despite being blessed with as much talent as just about any team in the country, failed to get out of the first round of the NCAA tournament. They then lost their two best players to the NBA, and thus far this season have managed to lose to UNC Greensboro, get embarassed at Vanderbilt, and find themselves below .500. The baseball team did their usual, and the football team.............I really don't want to go there. We know how it turned out. The annual Thanksgiving loss to Georgia fortunately this year was followed by the firing of Chan Gailey. Unfortunately, Tech still has another football game to go play, and potentialy lose, in this calendar year. On the flip side, they've brought in a new coach, finally, so there is something to look forward to in 2008.
The Falcons began the 2007 year much the way they will begin the 2008 year: looking for a head coach. Over the winter of 2007 they ended another season where they collapsed in the 2nd half, missing the playoffs. They fired head coach Jim Mora, and then the bombshells really started dropping. The spring and summer months were consumed by the Michael Vick saga of which we all are aware. Then came the early fall where the team seemed to be somewhat competitive, but couldn't win enough football games. That, combined with Bobby Petrino's peculiar handling of the football team, led to a team in disarray that went from competitive to just plain bad. Then things got worse: Bobby Petrino pulled his own Michael Vick, lying to the face of the man who signed his checks, his very large checks. He then bolted mid year. Before the year has managed to conclude, the Falcons have been embarassed on national television three times, been spurned by two coaches (one who decided to go the Vick/Petrino route with Arthur Blank) and are the laughing stock not of just the NFL, but the entire professional sports world. So at the outset of 2008 they will just try it all over again.
The Atlanta Thrashers appeared, key word being appeared, to be a bright spot for 2007. However, there complete face-flop in the first round of the NHL playoffs was one of the ugliest, most uninspiring and disgraceful playoff performances by any division winner in any sport in recent memory. When was the last time an NHL team with home-ice advantage ever got manhandled in such a fashion? The hangover from that pitiful showing seemed to last into this year's NHL campaign with an 0-6 start. However, the Thrashers have rebounded, including tonight's win over the red hot Ottawa Senators, so with them, there seems to be some mild hope. But alas, they are out of the playoffs as of now, so that hope is simply a hope for 2008.
The Atlanta Hawks were, as usual, middling around the bottom of the NBA. Since their trading of Steve Smith and Mookie Blaylock many moons ago, it's been their niche. I really don't even know why it's necessary to include them here, because their failures seem to be a given. However, they did perhaps provide the brightest moment of 2007 with their drafting of Al Horford, who just might be the NBA's second best rookie this year. With Horford the Hawks find themselves above .500 right now, so with them there is also hope, but alas, it too is for 2008.
The Atlanta Braves did actually improve in 2007 from 2006, but even that wasn't enough for a playoff berth. Injury woes in the rotation and an overall lack of depth in the pitching department derailed what started off as a promising year. However, the offseason brought in some young pitching prospects, some who might be Major League ready, as well as an old friend in Tom Glavine. So with the Braves, they too have offered some hope, for you guessed it, 2008.
On a couple of personal notes: my alma matter, the Social Circle Redskins, entered the high school baseball season ranked in the top five, returning the bulk of a team that advanced to the Elite Eight last season. They didn't even make the state tournament, being unable to qualify for one of four bids available to the region. The girls basketball team from my alma matter, a well respected program over the past decade or so, also failed to advance to the state tournament, missing out for just the 2nd time in the past nine seasons. The basketball team though does return the bulk of it's contributors, so there is hope there, for, yeah, you know the drill, 2008.
And on a very personal note, I myself had some medical complications during the spring and summer that ultimately have led to a handful of surgeries (two over the summer, and one more pending). The final stage is a surgery set for the 16th of January, in of course 2008, so the hope of improvement and recovery rests in, yeah, 2008.
So for me, the best moment of 2007 is yet to come, and it will be a very short lived moment. When that peach drops, with it drops one miserable year.