ATL needs an attitude adjustment

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I grew up in a big city, at least our state’s version of a big city. I could – and mostly still can – navigate around Birmingham with relative ease, even through the maze that is downtown.

I’ve always liked going to Nashville, too. It’s a

“big” city, too but has always seemed like a nice place with a large dose of Southern charm. Living in North Alabama, it’s an easy trip to our neighbors to the north and I take advantage of the proximity.

And then there’s Atlanta. Atlanta is a large city and one that’s also in the South, though I think they often forget that fact. While Birmingham and Nashville seem warm and inviting, Atlanta always seems scary.

Greg and I had a chance to visit Atlanta last weekend. His son’s college was playing Georgia Tech Saturday and we used the opportunity to visit with Derek. Our trip to the stadium that morning highlighted one of my Atlanta problems.

“The directions said to take Peachtree,” I said.

“Oh, that really narrows it down,” Greg said as we missed our turn yet again. “I cannot imagine why so many streets are named Peach.”

A quick scroll through our GPS revealed 15 Peach streets and that’s just downtown. It would be like our town having “Main Street” and “Main Blossom Street,” and then “Main Tree Street.”

We eventually found our destination, arriving two hours before the football game. If you did that at a game in this state, you might make it to the stadium by half time. In Atlanta, however, there is so much going on that no one really pays attention to something as silly as a football game.

We parked easily, walked around a while then walked into the stadium about five minutes before the game. We sat quietly with the rest of the fans who did manage to cheer a little when their Yellow Jackets narrowly defeated the heavy underdogs of Gardner-Webb.

“This is the first football game I’ve ever left when no one was listening to the post-game show on headphones as they left the stadium,” I said. “And no one’s calling for the coach to be fired.”

No, this was Atlanta. They were all just filing out to their cars, making their way out of of the campus as easily as if they were taking a Sunday drive.

We made our way back to the hotel, only to be greeted by a throng of Chicago Bear fans who were in town for a professional football game.

“I feel like I’m somewhere up north,” Greg said.

I agreed.

“Maybe someone should tell Atlanta they are in Georgia and that’s right next to Alabama,” I said. “They really shouldn’t act so snobby.”