I mean, that’s the response you would expect me to have, right? That's the picture that's been painted of what a Philadelphia Sports fan should say, isn't it? Maybe it is just the amount of texts, emails, messages and general trash talk I got from people after the Redskins beat the Eagles in Philadelphia this past weekend, but I have had it up to HERE with people giving me a hard time about being a Philadelphia Sports Fan. So if this posting gets a little ranty or veers a bit off course, my apologies. And this post isn't for everyone, so I won't be offended if you decide to stop reading now.
This has just been brewing for a while now, so please don't think this is just some sour grapes over a football game. I am just sick of it. The bad image of Philly Sports Fans. It’s one of those things that just stuck and never went away. Yes, I get it everyone. We booed Santa Claus. I love when people come at me with that remark and I ask them to tell me about it and they just stare at me with a blank expression. Hey everyone, if that's gonna be your basis of argument, let's at least take the time to learn the damn story behind it all, shall we? Let’s set the record straight about what happened back in December 1968.
The Eagles were beyond TERRIBLE and the team owner was the most hated man in Philadelphia. The halftime show was supposed to be a Christmas pageant but because of bad weather, team officials scrapped the pageant and instead sent a guy onto the field in a Santa suit with the introduction of "The Philadelphia Eagles wish you a Merry Christmas." The fans were venting their frustration at the crap season and an owner they hated and started booing. Do I think it was okay? No, not really. Do I think we are all just a bunch of a-holes who hate Santa? No, not at all.
I think they were passionate fans who were beyond frustrated. The Eagles were ending the season with a 2-12 record. And that day they were more that 58,000 fans in attendance. 58,000 people showed up to see their crappy Iggles because Philadelphia fans are passionate about their teams. There are many teams today with winning records that can't get that many butts in the seats. And I do agree with a lot of you out there, sometimes that zeal and passion leads some people to do stupid things.
But I am so, SO tired of getting grief from everyone JUST for being a Philadelphia sports fan. People who are holding on to some Santa story from over 40 years ago that they don’t even know. I have seen some rude, degenerate and disrespectful fans from just about every team out there. If you want personal experience, one year I had two women physically threaten me in the ladies room at FedEx field when I went to an Eagles Redskins game. That very same game, I had a grown-ass man, probably in his late forties, shove me (and I fell to the ground) because I was wearing some of my Eagles gear. I did NOTHING to provoke him. Even if I had (and seriously that is not something I would ever do), would that make it ok for him to purposely push a female?
A few years ago, I scored some great seats right behind home plate for a Nationals game here in DC against the Phillies. I proceeded to be heckled by (again) GROWN MEN for the first 3 innings….started out with them telling me the Phillies sucked, Phillies fans were the worst, etc. Standard Philly-fan bashing. After I am assuming they got a few beers in them and wanted to get more creative, they then started throwing things at me – food, wadded up napkins, peanut shells. I was seriously considering leaving but boyfriend-at-the-time told me to just ignore them. They then kicked it up a few thousand notches by getting really lewd, vulgar and sexual in nature with the things they were yelling at me. The usher did nothing. I also think they always stick 85 year old senior citizen ushers in the "fancy seats" because they figure that is a safe zone. Not so sometimes. Not so.
Listen up, very few people really and truly CHOOSE their sports allegiances. Some of them they have had their whole life, and have been passed down to them just like their last name and their religion. I never had a choice. And I don't think I would have wanted one. Philly sports is home to me. Makes me think of growing up and my family. Makes me think of nights spent sitting on the porch eating a water ice and listening to Harry Kalas. Makes me thing of Autumn Sundays with Buddy Ryan and listening to my dad yell at the TV. It's a part of my growing up, it's a part of me.
My Mom-Mom is 98 years old. And listens to every single Phillies game each season. Every one. Part of my joy in seeing the Phillies win the World Series in 2008 was knowing she got to experience it too. It was stepping outside of the bar I was watching it at that night and calling my Dad and little brother. This wasn't a choice for me, it's where I came from, it's what I know. It's my family and my home. And I am very very lucky to have it.
So go ahead and tell me about booing Santa. Tell me about the idiots who run on the field. Tell me about the belligerent and obnoxious teenager and what he did. Tell me about the jail at the Vet. Tell me all your stories about what horrible sports fans come from the city of Philadelphia.
And I will smile and tell you....I'm a Philadelphia Sports Fan. Now go f*ck off.