If you need some good karma, you might want Carolyn Freeman in your corner. You've seen Freeman on television during Atlanta Falcons games. You've seen her on commercials and making public appearances. You've seen her in the newspaper, at football tailgates, and all over social media.
You don't know who I'm talking about, do you?
What if I mention the Atlanta Falcons Bird Lady?
Macon, Georgia, native Carolyn Freeman is the Bird Lady, and she is present at every Falcons home game and many road games wearing her trademark feathers and colorful wings. But she is a lot more than a Falcons superfan. She's a humanitarian, a community activist, and in her own words, a good luck charm.
"I do think of myself as a good luck charm," Freeman told me in a recent phone interview. "[The players] touch the wings I wear as they enter the field."
It sure isn't easy to miss those wings. For the recent Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys, Freeman even super-sized them.
You'll notice Freeman's Bird Lady costume had a different color scheme in October. "I add pink to my car and costume in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month," she told me, and it's for good reason.
Freeman had a breast cancer scare herself a few years ago, and now she participates in three breast cancer walks each year. For Freeman, it's not about herself, it's about giving back and making the fans smile.
She even takes it a step further in December when she becomes "Bird Lady Santa" and helps collect items for the troops serving overseas. Freeman does more than the little things, and other fans have noticed.
"The Bird Lady is one of a kind, and if the Falcons win this year, she deserves a Super Bowl ring," said longtime Falcons fan E. Anderson on a recent game day.
Freeman's connection to Atlanta's NFL team dates back over 30 years.
"I became a fan way back when Leeman Bennett was the coach and my boyfriend (at the time) had a tryout with the team," explained Freeman. She looked at that as an opportunity to align with a growing team and carve out her own place as one of the most recognizable football fans in the South.
"I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, but it became so much more," added a humble Freeman. "The players offered support when I was ill. I spent eight and a half years in a wheelchair, and this was my therapy ... Jessie Tuggle and Jamaal Anderson were always my favorite players and took care of me."
Over the years, Freeman has taken care of the Falcons and fans in need. Fans are appreciative of the Bird Lady, and on Sundays, she can't walk 10 feet without someone offering a hug or asking for a picture. Freeman doesn't turn any of them down.
"It would be bad karma," smiles the fun-loving Georgian.
Freeman is making a bold prediction this year and saying that for the first time, the Falcons will win the Super Bowl.
With the good karma she is giving off and the good luck she appears to be bringing the team, I'm not betting against her.
Rick Limpert covers sports and technology in Atlanta. You can follow him on Twitter at @RickRoswell.
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