I love my state and quite frankly, her capital city. Whenever we are on display, I get nervous.
I think that goes back to the 1996 Olympics, when a bomb exploded in the middle of Centennial Olympic Park. I don’t like to see our good name and reputation tarnished. I guess that is why I’m glad to see the Super Bowl leave town without a serious incident.
We had public safety officials from throughout Georgia and the country to make sure that people attending the big game and its associated events could do so safely.
The fact that the game was low scoring and drew a smaller TV audience was something we could not control.
But we scored well in guest relations. There were over 10,000 volunteers who had been trained with information and directions. People from all over the country were commenting on our southern hospitality.
We are long past the days when Southern Belles would swish around in hoop skirts as if they were extras from the cast of “Gone With The Wind.”
But you don’t have to look like a relic from the antebellum era to be nice. A kind word of welcome and an indication of the right direction go a long way.
A lot of people gave us high marks for the cluster of attractions that are in the heart of downtown, including the College Football Hall of Fame and the Georgia Aquarium.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium proved to be the crown jewel of the event and got high marks for serving up a hot dog and a Coke for less than $5.
This is a great state. We start in the north with some of the most beautiful mountain vistas you’ll see anywhere. You continue down to Atlanta, which is the economic engine of the South. We have beautiful places with historic homes and beautiful sites. We have fields of special soil that produce the wonderful Vidalia onion, for which there is no comparison.
While we are not the biggest producer of peaches, we are known for varieties with a taste and sweetness that make them the best.
Traveling around our state over the past eight years, I found that there are kind people who are proud of their communities. Some of those communities have struggled with economic success, but the people who live there are kind and welcoming and want to see the sparkle and shine return to their towns.
I was proud that, for the most part, we were well behaved. I continue to be amazed at the people who engage in human trafficking. People who abuse another person for their own immoral satisfaction should be locked up. I have mixed emotions about giving someone like that a second chance.
Our transportation system was a bit overloaded at times, but it worked. Folks who left Atlanta in droves on Monday after the game had to wait to be checked, but they made it. It was the busiest single day at the world’s busiest airport.
I don’t know how long it might be before Atlanta hosts another Super Bowl, but I hope we kept good notes on how we did this one.
Well done, Georgia!
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.