Philadelphia is in the midst of Eagle football mania. Local news programs are filled with bar scenes of yelling, drunken millennials in Eagles shirts, some even in face paint, claiming they are number one! One news clip showed a kindergarten class with the two overweight teachers in Eagles shirts singing, “Fly, Eagles, Fly!” so enthusiastically they were red-faced and spitting. The children were supposed to be singing, too, but several were puzzled, looking around, trying to understand what was going on.
Me, too, kids. Me, too.
I noticed the mania while trying to find information on the government shut-down that was relatively ignored.
It has gotten to the point I hope the Eagles will lose. By the time you read this, it may all be over. I hope so. The torch-and-pitchfork crowd is already gathering outside my door. Why was I not supporting the team? they ask.
Just winning the playoffs resulted in many parked cars spray-painted green. The local news anchors sanctimoniously tisk-tisked over this vandalism, even though they contributed to the over-hyped atmosphere that brought it on. What will happen if the Eagles win the Super Bowl? Will the fans topple City Hall?
I have nothing against the Eagles staff. If not for football, many players would be collecting welfare. It is the fans I find obnoxious.
Several years ago, a friend I saw every day at the community center tried to get me interested in the Phillies. I had always considered professional sports teams as conglomerates of independent entrepreneurs who had no loyalty to Philadelphia and would not throw me a peanut if I were starving. He almost had me converted, but I found the following year many of my favorite players had left for greener pastures. The team I knew was only temporary.
My friend rooted for the Phillies and the Cubs, both losing teams at the time. When I mentioned this, he said something very profound: Win or lose, it is still baseball. Winning is only icing on the cake. He especially likes to watch the pre-game batting practice as he did as a child at Shibe Park with his grandfather. (Ah-ha! That explains it.)
Years ago, I said I was amazed by the athleticism of a football receiver jumping high in the air, catching the ball on his very sticky gloves, keeping his concentration while knowing he would be almost broken in half by a charging defender, but how often did I have to see it? Ten times? A hundred? I think I have already past more than a hundred. I don’t need to see it again.