Why? Why did my parents do this to me? It’s irresponsible, unethical, and downright inhumane. Shouldn’t you want better for your child? Why pass down your cross for another to bear like it’s a badge of honor? Are you happy, Mom and Dad?
I would give anything to have been born in southern Florida, Nevada, or fucking Alaska — a place where everyday life isn’t dictated by the actions of multimillion dollar athletes and coaches, and where a game is, in fact, just a game. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t in the cards. Instead, I grew up in a place of sports fanaticism that mirrored religious radicalism. The books of Iverson, Dawkins, Primeau, and Burrell shaped my adolescence and made me into the battered housewife of a man who stands before you today.
Like many from eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and southern Jersey, I was cursed with a life that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy: a life of Philadelphia sports fandom.
Our history of misery dates back to colonial America. At one point, we were this great nation’s capitol — the vital center of a newly independent country. Then, in the blink of an eye, the government decided it would rather conduct business in a malaria-filled swamp than spend another minute in Philly. They picked up shop, moved to D.C., and set the tone for centuries of disappointment that would follow.
It doesn’t take long to realize our past is as pathetic as the sky is blue. Our greatest sports hero, a symbol of the city itself, is a fictitious boxer — who loses in the first movie. Sure, he makes up for it later by single-handedly taking down Communist Russia, but both bookends of his tale end with him being on the wrong end of the fight.
Every other Hollywood adaptation of the town is even worse. Silver Linings Playbook: Two mentally unstable psychos come together as a cohesive team. Invincible: The Eagles went 4-10 that year. We actually made the Super Bowl the season after we cut Papale’s bum ass — and we lost that, too. Philadelphia: The movie that bears our city’s name is about a dude who dies from fucking AIDS.
Aren’t movies supposed to distract me from the dreadful existence of reality?
The horrifying reality where the Phillies have the most losses of any sports franchise in history? They’ll certainly pad that stat during this coming season. Add in the phenomenal mediocrity the Flyers have exhibited my entire life, the 76ers consisting of guys who are better served in a church recreational league than in the NBA this past decade, and an Eagles team that resembles a cheating girlfriend I let back into my life year after year with her empty promises of “never hurting me like that again,” and you’ll realize why my life has been robbed of any real meaning.
Just heartbreak after heartbreak, even outside of the four major sports. In 2007, we latched onto an American thoroughbred racehorse by the name of Barbaro. A local product of the Philadelphia area, Barbaro was looking to become the first Triple Crown winner in thirty years. In true Philly fashion, at the Preakness, he fractured his leg during a false start before the race. The poor horse not only couldn’t compete, but he had to be taken behind a barnyard shed and put the fuck down.
Even our few successes have an asterisk next to them. Our World Series win in 2008, the only championship of my lifetime, is the most forgettable group of games that ever happened. First off, we didn’t beat the Red Sox, or the Yankees, or fuck, even the Los Angeles Angels. We defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, which begs the question, “Did we even win a World Series at all?”
Then there’s the current state of Philly sports. The only glimmer of hope on this dark and ominous road is being driven by two madmen with a “system” and a “philosophy” that will be the “solution” once and for all…if we blindly follow. So follow we do, because what the fuck else is there?
“I’ve read this story before, and it does not end well for millions of people.” – something Stephen A. Smith definitely said..
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