The City of Brotherly Love. Yeah, that’s what they call it, but to those who have ever been there, they may see it differently. Maybe not. For those in the sports world, that title couldn’t be further from the truth.
Philadelphia, the home of the Phightin’ Phils, the Iggles, Sixers, the once-known Broad Street Bullies, the Flyers, and the country’s most iconic sports figure, regardless of his lack of existence, Rocky Balboa. This is a city full of love for its brothers, but with very little tolerance for opposition. Call it a hive-minded mentality if you will, but we call it family.
Even with the celebration of our beloved teams, Philly fans are no strangers to disappointment. The championships won by our teams can actually be counted on both hands, but one hand for each team (if division and conference titles are to be excluded).
A short review of Philadelphia’s history shows that the Eagles last won a title in 1960 (lost title games in 1980 and 2005), the Flyers in 1974 and 1975 (lost title games in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987, and 1997), the 76ers in 1967 and 1983 (lost title games in 1977, 1980, 1982, and 2001), and the Phillies in 1980 and 2008 (lost titles in 1983 and 1993).
In my lifetime I’ve seen the Phillies go to the World Series…and lose. I’ve witnessed the Sixers go the NBA Championships, win game 1 against the Lakers, then throw the next four games, the Flyers have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, almost won convincingly, then blew it, and the Eagles went to the Superbowl, led the entire game, then lost by a field goal. After the Eagles loss, I fell into a slump of depression for a week. The Philly fans’ dedication runs that strong.
Enter the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.
I started this season saying to my father during a phone conversation, “I think this is the year. I have a good feeling. I think the Phillies are going to the World Series this year.” My dad being an older version of me simply replied, “They have to get there first.” Well, they did. And they won. Convincingly.
I have waited 15 years since the last Series visit, and all my life for a win. The feeling is inexplicable. The assumption is that anyone supporting a team in a drought understands the emotion involved in a championship win.
The evening before the second half of game 5, members of the Tampa Bay Rays, while staying here in Wilmington, went to one of our local pubs. The Washington St. Ale House. I’m not sure if that was a wise decision on their part or not. The people I met were nice, and some got harassed by a few locals (Philly Phaithful). All in all, it was a fun and exciting evening. However, and I mention this once more, I’m not sure if it was wise of them to hit the bar the night prior to a Do or Die evening.
In typical celebratory fashion, the night the Phillies won the 2008 World Series, people flooded the streets, fireworks were set off, funs were shot off, drinks were shared, and cars were flipped. Enter the parade.
I rode a school bus up to Philly with my sports league, the Delaware Sports League. The day started off with a broken down bus (not mine, the other one), drinking at 9:30 am, and urinating in plastic cups and bottles on I-95 en route to the parade (yes, that includes me). Once we made it into South Philly, we were greeted warmly by our Philadelphia brethren. Horns were honking, people were screaming, first were pumping, and index fingers were raised to indicate, “We’re number one!” Hell yes.
The second our bus came to a complete halt in the Linc parking lot, the DSL members cleared out with the quickness, linking up along the parking lot fence under I-95, and watered the sports complex vegetation. Truly a sight to behold, the line included men with beer in their hands, and girls squatting in groups of twos and threes. Aside from public exposure, the rest of the time in the lot was spent drinking and tossing around a football.
Everything else that occurred between our arrival and the Phillies showing up an hour and 20 minutes late can easily be told in pictures…minus more public urination (the lines for the port-a-potties were too long, so lines formed on the backsides of the johns).
Our day ended with a certain young lady going to relieving herself on her boots, while another young woman dropped her phone on the ground, possibly had it pissed on then, tried persistently to get the device to cease vibrating and actually function properly. Said young woman later said that her cell phone was now her second dildo. Yes, she said her phone doubled as a vibrator. Classy.
Departure took approximately 45 minutes to reach I-95 from the Linc parking lot (I-95 runs parallel to the sports complexes), but the wait for the trains was much worse, as they were backed up over two hours. That mob was beyond ridiculous.
We made it home, and I ended my day with a pepperoni calzone and some hot wings. Grease makes everything better. Delicious.