The dog ate my homework. Well, no, there's no dog, and no homework for that matter, but I had written what [I thought] was a nice blog about the Eagles and sports fans and now I can't find it. So, I shall attempt to recreate, but it's never as good that way.
The City of Brotherly Love is obsessed. But in a good way. Last week was a period of euphoria followed by a week that has been a long build-up of emotion. I have never seen as many football jerseys and green and white baseball caps as I have for the past two days. Everyone in our office was invited to wear green today in support of our long-suffering football team.
Long-suffering is a word that should be applied to Philly sports fans as well. No major sports championships since the 76ers in 1982-83, and the fans have been starving for the opportunity to say, "Finally."
Of course, Philadelphia's sports fans have a reputation of being the rudest, nastiest fans on the planet. OK, so they've booed Santa Claus. Doesn't everyone? A story in the Rocky Mountain News seems to touch on the pysche [damaged though it may be] of Philadelphia's sports spectators:
In a city of brotherly love and hate, a title will be worth the wait
The 1999 season had just gotten under way at old Veterans Stadium and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Doug Pederson dropped back for his first pass of the opener. He surveyed his targets, cocked his arm, threw and the pass fell incomplete.
The fans booed.
"Well," Eagles 28-year play-by- play announcer Merrill Reese said with a laugh, "maybe it was a bad pass."
Demanding. Impatient. Angst-ridden. And madly in love with its sports teams, with its NFL franchise topping them all.
"This may sound funny, but this city boos out of love," Reese said. "They love this team so much they wear their emotions on their sleeve, but I can assure you, if Pederson completed his second one, they were on their feet cheering."
Right now, Eagles fans are on pins and needles.
New England is living a golden era in its sports history. The Patriots have won two Super Bowls and are going for a third Sunday. The Boston Red Sox ended 86 seasons of frustration with a World Series title using "Why not us?" psychology.
The psyche of the Philadelphia fan is more scattered:
It has to be us.
Ahh, they probably just will let us down again.
No, they're going to do it this time! E-A-G-L-E-S. Eagles!
"That's all you hear. Go Eagles! Eagles, Eagles, Eagles," said Chuck Bednarik, a Hall of Fame linebacker/center who starred on the organization's last title team in 1960.
Growing up in So Cal, I was a California Angels fan. Oh, sorry, I see on their website that they are now "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." Whatever. I never had a problem knowing where they were from when they lost and lost and lost for all those years. Especially 1986. When they won the World Series in 2002, I was thrilled - sorry that Gene Autry wasn't there to see it.
But football? Never interested me. Possibly because LA/Orange County had such a hard time keeping teams there. They closed in Anaheim stadium to make it football-friendly for the Rams, who thanked them by moving to St. Louis. The stadium has since been re-opened to the spectacular view of the mountains in the distance, and there is still no professional football team closer than San Diego.
When I moved to Philadelphia, I went to the occasional sporting event - baseball, basketball, hockey. I will root for the Philly teams, but I don't follow any of the sports. Except football. Except the Eagles. For them, I am a fan.
Despite the "eat your own" reputation, Philadelphians are just proud that our guys have made it to the Superbowl this year. Everyone but us is saying that there is no way that the "Iggles" can beat the Pats, and maybe by the end of Sunday night that will be true. However it works out, our guys will be treated like heroes when they come home - win or lose.
But I sure hope they win.
EAGLES Fight Song
Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory.
Fight Eagles Fight, Score A Touchdown 1-2-3.
Hit 'Em Low.
Hit 'Em High.
And We'll Watch Our Eagles Fly.
Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory.
[One Team, One City, One Dream.]
Quote du jour:
"Goodbye you good Leslie you!
I hope you win, I hope you win!"
-- Jack Lemmon in The Great Race
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