I grew up in New York. My state of birth has two football teams, two hockey teams, and two baseball teams. I don’t care enough about basketball to know if we have two of those or not. But growing up, sports had absolutely zero impact on my life. My father has never willingly watched a sporting event. My high school had sports, but I was in drama. My college had sports, but I was too busy drinking during Homecoming to notice. My best friend married a guy who was into sports and I mocked her. Then I met my husband and I was introduced to football.
I cut my teeth on Michael Vick and the Hokies. I learned the basics of the game by watching Beamer Ball. It was a slow indoctrination by a passionate fan. My husband once cheered so loudly, and so suddenly, that the sleeping cat jumped two feet off the couch and did a full rotation in the air before landing. Another time, when he was soothing my son to sleep during a game, he very carefully placed the baby on the couch, jumped up and down like a man possessed and then, as if nothing had happened, picked the baby back up and continued rocking him quietly.
When we moved to South Jersey, I was introduced to a football team with fans so violent that the Vet had a jail built right into it. These are people who once threw snowballs at Santa. When we dressed my daughter as an Eagles cheerleader during a Halloween when the team was on a losing streak, people talked smack to her and pretended they weren’t going to give her candy. She was two. Eagle’s fans are rabid, mean, and utterly devoted.
And I am very happy that they can now go back to their regularly scheduled programming of hating on McNabb and second-guessing Reid. All of this happy-go-cheery Phillies fandom has been very off-putting to me. The Eagles just spanked Eli Manning – again – and nary a word of it was spoken anywhere. Spanked! Manning! Again! No one cared. And worse, when the Phillies inevitably lost to the Yankees last night, I awoke to find a flurry of FB updates with “Good Job!” and “Wait til next year!” Are you f-ing kidding me? Atta boys are for dogs and small children. When a professional sports team whiffs it in the final games of the World F-ing Series ™, you don’t pat them on the back and tell them to try again – you rend clothing (preferably theirs) and scream for ousters, trades, and heads on platter (preferably tarnished). People are already talking about spring training, which truly does show that hope really is eternal. So please, I beg of you Philadelphia, learn a lesson from Star Trek and put your Phillies gear away. Nothing good ever comes from wearing a red shirt.