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Winning is no fun when you do it all the time, you know

POSTED: September 28, 2013 3:49 a.m.

The wait is finally over. The Atlanta Braves have finally won another division title.

After the disappointing set-backs of years gone by, it had started to feel like this would never come again.

Atlanta tried to believe in 2009, but the season ended just about three games too early for the Braves to make a Wild Card run.

We had a good division lead for most of 2010, only to give it up to the Phillies in August. Sure, we would play an actual series of playoff baseball against the eventual World Series champion Giants, but it wasn’t enough.

We nearly had the Wild Card won back in 2011, but a meltdown of historic proportions put those postseason plans aside.

The Braves narrowly reached the postseason in 2012, but missed out after losing a protested one-game play-in. Many of you will remember the trash being thrown on the field during the now infamous "infield fly" inning.

I was at that game, but no, I did not throw trash. We were late and had not yet been to the concession stand by that point, so we had no trash to throw.

That game would also be remembered as the last game in Chipper Jones' illustrious career for the Braves and in Major League Baseball, and I count that high on the list of sporting events I have been lucky enough to attend.

It has been a tough few seasons for Braves fans, hasn’t it? But we finally brought the division title back where it belongs. The Braves won their division an astounding 14 times from 1991 to 2005, all excepting that strike shortened 1994 season.

Still, that wasn’t enough. A 14 season winning-streak is great, but we only got one title out of it. We lost the World Series enough times to be comical. I remember thinking back in the early 2000’s nothing more than, "Here we go again."

There was no optimism in Atlanta when the playoffs came around. We just knew it was going to end in misery one way or another. Never mind the fact that you’re facing the best teams in baseball, so of course you’re going to struggle through it at some point, but it is all bad news once Atlanta reaches the playoffs.

This year feels different, though. I know we have struggled through September and really almost tried to give the lead away, but this year feels different.

There is a confidence around town that feels like this Atlanta team can make a run through October worth ESPN specials and overpriced Sports Illustrated collector’s editions.

So what changed? What happened to us to make us believe?

On the one hand, this Atlanta team did hold the division lead for all but one day of the 2013 season against a team that many pundits believed the odds-on favorite to win the National League. So there’s that.

I, however, believe it’s something more. I believe it’s something a little more psychological. I think we have forgotten what it’s like to win, and similarly we have forgotten what it’s like to lose.

After ten straight years of coming up short in the playoffs, Braves fans stopped letting themselves believe, but this Braves team has already done something that they were not supposed to do. They won.

In the days of old, in glory days gone by, we had grown complacent with winning and championships and minor celebrations. We wanted the pennant, darn it, and nothing else would be good enough.

Now, we just needed a celebration. We needed to win something.

Sometimes fans need to be reminded what it means to win something, for a change. If you’re always winning, you forget what it’s like to enjoy that experience for the first time. If you’re never winning, you forget what it can be like to celebrate at all.

For a long time in Georgia, we were spoiled sports fans. We had a team that won their division every year like it was no big thing. We grew immune to winning. We forgot how to celebrate wins.

Take a look at your teams, everyone. When they win, and I don’t care who it’s against or how often they’ve done it before, you celebrate. Every little victory you can, celebrate, because you never know when those victories might end.

There was a time when Georgia fans thought we would never spend more than a few years out of the Sugar Bowl. Remember the 1990's, everyone?

Barrow County football has been in a dry spell as of late, but it won't always be this way. Look forward to those winning days, folks, because I can almost promise you that they are coming again soon.

And how much more fun will it be to celebrate winning after all the lean years?

As for you, Braves, I look forward to seeing you hoist the Commissioner’s Cup and bringing it back to Atlanta.

 

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