COLE’S NOTES: Cross the ATL off the bucket list
You may know that Atlanta was the host city of the 1996 Olympics. When you get to Atlanta you are reminded frequently with many Olympic Torch like statues found throughout the downtown streets. There are many memorial pieces throughout Centennial Park as well with the highlight coming in the form of a waterpad where the water sprays from the ground in the shape of the Olympic Rings.On our first night in Atlanta we went to Turner Field to watch the Braves take on the Detroit Tigers. As you make your way down Capitol Ave, to Turner Field, you are greeted with the Olympic Entrance where the actual flame would have been lit for the duration of the games.
As you get closer to the stadium it turns into Hank Aaron Drive, as well as its own little sporting community. As you approach you walk through the many parking lots where people are setup with their own tailgate parties listening to the pre-game shows or the college football games on their radios.
Upon arrival at 755 Hank Aaron Drive you walk through the tall gates into the brick concourse where you can get plenty of great pictures of different angles of Turner Field as well as find bronzed statues of past Braves greats like Warren Spohn, Hank Aaron and more.Once you enter the stadium gates there is another brick concourse but this one features 10 different food booths, live musical entertainment, baseball art and a Jumbotron for people to still be able to watch the game even if they are getting some ball park grub.
Speaking of which, those 10 different food booths consist of a lot of the usual menu options but when we saw someone walk by with what can only be described as the Artery Clogger we knew what was for dinner.... the BURGERIZZA.
That's pepperoni and cheese pizza on the bottom, with an inch think of hamburger next on this tower of deliciousness. On top of the beef were strips of bacon, and on top of that was a 12 inch pepperoni and cheese pizza. Needless to say there were some leftovers.Turner Field has a great atmosphere not only with the nostalgic brick setup but also the Fox TV studio setup, the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame and plenty more to entertain yourself before the game.
At this point Detroit was very much in the Wild Card race. Unfortunately for the hometown fans the Braves were not. But that doesn't mean they couldn't embrace the roll as the spoiler.
The game saw Detroit's best player, Miguel Cabrera, strike out with the bases loaded with no outs in the inning. That was the begining of the end for the Tigers as they lost 5-3.
Day #2 was another sports filled day in the ATL which started with a quick visit to the College Football Hall of Fame.I am still trying to figure out the most impressive part of this experience. Was it the 40 yards of field inside where you could put your throwing, catching and kicking skills to the test? Was it the presentation of all the Bowl trophies, the National Championship hardware and the Heisman Trophy? Or was it that I was greeted with a wall filled from top to bottom with team helmets?
From there we made the short walk to the Georgia Dome. Tailgating was at a minimum with construction of the new building happening right beside the 25-year-old stadium. But that didn't mean there wasn't still entertainment outside to take in before kick-off.
Walking around the inside of the Dome before the game I quickly learned about Southern Hospitality. Whenever I know I am going to be in a football setting I wear my Dallas Cowboy gear with pride. Sunday was no different and people were loving it!It seems like the Cowboys are Atlanta's second team because the amount of handshakes, embraces and high fives I received were too many to count.
Once again, the stadium food was an important part of the experience. This time around I knew as soon as I saw chicken buffalo waffle fries on the menu, what I was having for lunch.
I have to admit that I was disappointed with the punctuality of the Falcons fans as some didn't seem to come in until the second quarter. What I wasn't disappointed with was the fact that the visiting Carolina Panthers had their fair share of fans in the stands. No matter who made a good play there were plenty of cheers to be heard.
Just when I thought we couldn't get any luckier in being able to see the Falcon's take on the NFC Champion, and division rival, Panthers we ended up taking in a historical day.
Matt Ryan earned a team record while throwing for over 500 yards in the game; 300 of those yards were to wideout Julio Jones who also set a record for yards in a game. He also set an NFL record by scoring his second 250 receiving yard game of the season.
Even with Cam Newton leaving the game with concussion like symptoms the Panthers kept it close until late in the game when Atlanta cemented the W with a PICK 6. What a game!!! Atlanta wins 48-33.
All and all we have no regrets in having spent close to 40 hours driving in a car to watch six hours of sports live because not only were they games to remember but we got to be a part of the final seasons for both venues.
It still surprises us that both teams are getting new buildings because the venues are only 25 and 20 years old respectively. But we do live in a world where you need to have the latest and greatest of the new technology and design.
And let’s be honest... designs from the 1990s, whether you are talking about clothing, decor, or architecture, were never truly in style.
I have no doubt the new venues will make for quite the experience but as a sports fan having grown up watching a lot of what took place at the Georgia Dome and Turner Field, I am ecstatic that I got to watch some history happen in person.
P.S. Watching the New York Giants lose never gets old.
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