Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Glory of Sports as Life

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Every so often an event occurs that makes us stop, look around and take in the greatness of America. I experienced just such an event this week.

Let me start with a little back story about Philadelphia and sports. No city in the country loves their sports teams like the City of Brotherly Love. I've lived in other cities and traveled this country extensively and can honestly say we are borderline psychotic when it comes to our sports. Whether it be the 76'ers, the Flyers, the Phillies or even college teams like Villanova and Penn State, we are a sports town through and through. But no team is as beloved as the Eagles.

Coming into this season the Eagles were thought to be a good team with a second year quarterback who showed flashes of brilliance but looked to need more seasoning. We lost what I considered the heart of the team in running back Darren Sproles early and I thought that would have a significant impact on the team. We also lost left tackle and all pro Jason Peters, special teams star Chris Maragos and middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. Yet this team just kept winning.

But then the worst happened, Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury and was out for the year. Philly wept...this was our year and now it wasn't.

Next man up.

Enter Nick Foles. Where many teams would have folded, this is not many teams and one could say there's never been another like them. they became closer and shut out the distractions. They rallied around their backup QB and made an unbelievable run to immortality.

The city went along for the ride and invested themselves. This city had their hearts broken too many times to count and we are jaded. We were wary of wholeheartedly giving ourselves to the team but we did and they did it.

The parade was epic as we all knew it would be. People poured in from everywhere. People drove over the nigh before and slept in their cars or waited in long lines to catch a train. They walked across bridges, rode bikes and or caught Uber's. Everyone knew they had to be on Broad Street or along JFK Parkway. Beers were consumed before most people ate breakfast. It was a was our party. No longer did we have to hear the lame "how many rings do you have?" from people who's team hasn't won a championship in two decades. No, we are the reining champs and the energy because of that was palpable.

It was an enormous love-in. African-American guys from West Philly were hugging white guys from the suburbs. we sang, we danced and we did the Eagles cheer until we couldn't sing anymore. We watched a crazy center dressed like a leprechaun on acid go on an epic rant and it brought the city to a crescendo. We were all part of it and just for one day politics didn't matter, color didn't matter, social status didn't matter. We were all just Eagles fans and champions.

Little kids stared in awe, adults cried, police officers danced, school teachers who no one knew were even a sports fan drank beer with a construction worker. It was a day I'll never forget.

Now let's do it all over again next year.

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