You won’t understand, you will never understand. The heartbreak of Philadelphia sports fans is an indescribable feeling that I would not wish upon even my worst enemy; well maybe a Cowboys fan. Whether it is Joe Carter’s World Series clinching home run against Mitch Williams or Patrick Kane winning a Stanley Cup on our home ice, the misery that these 4 sports teams have put us through is not healthy. It is not healthy to wake up on a Monday morning feeling like trash because you were up all night thinking about an Eagles loss, or rejecting a date to go to Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS just to watch Ryan Howard tear his Achilles and break Philly’s heart. I know all this from personal experience and even though I’m just 17, I have gone through a lifetime of heartbreak. When I was 5, on a cold winter day, my energy was high; like bouncing off the walls high. Why? Because that afternoon my team, the Philadelphia Eagles, were playing in the NFC Championship game in hopes of making the Super Bowl. When I put on my Brian Dawkins jersey my dad told me I said to him, “Dad let’s go to a Super Bowl. We were welcoming the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into OUR HOUSE – no way we can lose. Well those guys from Tampa beat us and went on to win the Super Bowl. I had a vague memory of that time but I do remember the black hole that was in my heart that day and the first time I remember, having a broken heart.
See, when you think of the great fans of Philadelphia, passion is the first thing that comes to mind. This is more than just sports to us, this is our lifestyle and when we lose, it is truly, truly devastating and a feeling that could last all off-season. In some ways I feel that it is unfair. How is it fair that I dedicate countless hours supporting my team and what do I get in return? I get a whole year’s worth of sadness, a monsoon of raw emotion that will literally make you sick . I would not want it any other way though. An old Eagles coach, Chip Kelly once said, “We’re from Philadelphia and we fight.” The Philadelphia sports community takes that to heart. No matter how hard times get, we will still go to the games, we will still wear the jerseys and wake up with butterflies on opening day. When is enough enough though? Some believe that the reason Philadelphia has done so poorly for nearly half a century is the curse of William Penn. In March 1987, there was a building constructed that surpassed the height of the William Penn statue that previously was the highest point on the Philadelphia Skyline. Since that building was made, a Philadelphia major sports team has not won a major championship leaving the fans in absolute agony and desperate for a sign of hope. That glimmer of hope finally came in 2008. The Philadelphia Phillies had finally broken the curse, they had won their second ever World Series thanks to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and the cool cat out of Oakland, Jimmy Rollins. Finally the curse had been lifted and the city was rejoicing and we knew that more championships were going to come to this great, passionate city.
All that happiness quickly came to a halt on January 18, 2009 also known as the one that got away. The Eagles were playing in the NFC Championship and were looking to go back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2004 (they lost that year). They were facing the Arizona Cardinals, a team that they absolutely DESTROYED on Thanksgiving night the same year. They were looking to feast again being lead by Donovan McNabb. But what happened? You guessed it, heartbreak city. They lost 35-32 and packed their bags way too early that season. Was the curse not broken? Will the curse ever be broken?
I interviewed Andrew Myers, a senior at Steinert who is a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan like myself. I asked him what was the most heartbreaking moment he has witnessed as a Philadelphia sports fan. “ I would have to say it would probably be the Chicago Blackhawks beating us (Flyers) on our home ice to win the Stanley Cup,” he responded. I also asked him if he could change cities, a city that would win would he and why or why not? He said, “No, because that’s how I was born and raised and wouldn’t want it any other way.” As the discussion progressed I asked Andrew about his happiest moment as a Philadelphia sports fan? “Easy, 2008 World Series.” He basically took the exact words right out of my mouth if I were asked that question. With my concluding question, I asked him if he believed that Philadelphia sports fans were the most passionate in America. He responded with, “Yes, being at the Linc has shown me that. Their (the fans) are insane; they live and breath Philadelphia sports.” As one of my best friends, he and I have gone through our fair share of heartbreak together and we can both agree, we wouldn’t want to be sports fans of any other city.
To conclude, I know what you’re thinking. You think we, the Philadelphia sports fans are crazy. We are crazy for acting like our teams are our girlfriends of 8 years who broke our hearts. We’re crazy for devoting more time supporting our teams than we do with most other things. You won’t understand unless you are one of us. This is more than a game, this is a lifestyle. The fanbase of Philadelphia sports is a big family. Yeah, we might get our hearts broken more than the contestants on The Bachelor and cry more than a teenage girl watching The Notebook but one thing is clear. You can knock us down but we will get right back up because we’re from Philadelphia and we fight.