You probably don't care, but this is a historic day in Philadelphia. The parade that's set to begin in 30 minutes looks to be one of the largest in our nation's history. There's no fan like a Phillies fan, and yes, Santa was famously booed (wasn't there a good reason? I'm sure there was.) but you can't beat Philly for passion and loyalty. This is a city that lives and dies with its sports teams. "Heartbreak" is a term tossed around liberally at every disspointing end of every losing season. And it's been nothing but heartbreaking losses since 1983. I remember a few vividly: that Red Wings sweep of the Flyers in 97? I cried. And when the Sixers faced the Lakers in the 2001 final, I thought the city would throw a parade because we won one game (the first), even though we lost the four that followed. And then the Patriots beating the Eagles in 2004? I didn't cry, but the dejection hung over the entire city for days.
Judging from that first paragraph you'd think I'm a person who gives a rat's ass about sports. You'd be wrong. I'm very fond of saying that i'd rather rip out my fingernails than sit through another live baseball game. And my sportswriter brother rolls his eyes when I ask him if the sport he covers is the "one with the funny shaped ball". (I have no illusions about that joke being funny to anyone except me). The only major sport I'll get into is hockey; I am a Flyers fan in hibernation, waiting for fairer weather. (some would say this disqualifies me from being a "real fan". Whatever. I don't have time and energy to waste on a losing team. When you stop firing good coaches and trading good players, I'll start watching again).
In a family of sports fans, I'm not a sports fan. Black sheep. What a shock. I trace this back to the 1980 World Series, when a gem usurped my 3rd birthday party. One of my earliest memories is of hiding under a table while everyone screamed at the TV, wondering how long it would take them to notice I was "missing". (Just the other day I told this to Damon, and he was like "yeah, that sounds like something you'd do". He's got me totally pegged. Turns out I don't do "mysterious" all that well).
But this Not-A-Fan is ready to celebrate, because you know what I am a fan of? Philadelphia, Philly people, curse-breaking, winning, and parties. I love all those things. The baseball part is over, and other than listening to a few innings on the radio and being present at a local watering hole where the game was on, I was subjected to little actual gameplay. And for this city to win a championship, I can tell you for certain no city wanted it more. And it pisses me off when I see the bias against us. Of the seven other people who actually watched the series (being the lowest rated ever, wasn't it?) roughly five of those poeple wanted us to LOSE. (You people BLOW. I'm sorry, but you DO. How's that for sounding like a Philly fan?)
The curse that has hung over this city since a builidng taller than Billy Penn's hat was opened and the Flyers lost to the Oilers in 1987 has finally lifted. The cold, wet storm that caused the two day delay was the death rattle of Billy Penn's anger. He's at peace now, with his figurine atop the Comcast center and his view unobtructed, it might not be City Hall, but it's something, it's enough. Today it's clear, cool and sunny, a perfect day for ticker tape.
I don't know jack about baseball, whether the Phillies team this year was really good or just lucky, but I do know this city deserves a win, and deserves a fucking parade. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some celebrating to do.