I Still Rock Red on Gamedays: My Final Home Opener in The Georgia Dome
Here I am, an Atlanta native and Falcons fan, and somehow am entering my third season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s always a good laugh when my current clients find out that I also worked for the NFC South Division rival; or the “enemy” as they call it. It has been an exciting road as I journey through my career in sports.
The past three seasons working Tampa has been met with a bittersweet and torn feeling when my two teams meet. The feeling can be described as “on edge” and it can be difficult to watch the games.Of course my colleagues and friends always ask, “So who are you cheering for?” I always smile and laugh as I come up with a creative answer, although in my head I want the game to end in a tie. But we all know that is a rare situation in football.
So here we are in the 2016 season, and the NFL has announced that the two will meet for Game 1 of the season. This will be the last home opener in the Georgia Dome. I knew immediately that I had to be there- if nothing else as a fan! Not to mention the made for TV matchup of Falcons former head coach, Mike Smith, and Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, are now the head coach and defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers.
I’m so ready for this game and excited to have my partner in crime with me to experience football in “The A”; from the diverse crowd, the food, and the Atlanta culture infused into the game entertainment- truly there is no place like home. As I reflected on the trip recently, it hit me, that this could be my last time in the Georgia Dome.
The team is set to move into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2017 season. Eventually, there will be no more Georgia Dome. The place where some of my fondest childhood memories were made and where I landed my first sports job. Sooo many memories- doing the “Dirty Bird” after every touchdown of the 1998 Super Bowl season, watching the crowd erupt every play Michael Vick took off to run the ball, and the NFL Divisional round in 2013 when Matt Bryant kicked a field goal with 13 seconds left to take us to the NFC Championship knocking out the Seattle Seahawks.
I am thankful for the opportunity to return home and to a place where I fell in love with the game and fostered my career. As cliche’ as it may sound, it is a dream come true.
This weekend, I will not only reconnect with old friends and former colleagues, I get the chance to spend time with my family, sip a beer and cheer on my team... well two teams.
Make sure to follow Sistas in Sports on Twitter and Instagram as we share some of our favorite moments from the weekend and cover the last home opener in the Georgia Dome.
FYI: I will be wearing Red on Sunday :)