2008 World Series Champions
I know, I know, the rest of the country just … doesn’t … care. Believe me, after watching and waiting for the last 25 years for a championship for any one of our four major sports teams, the Phillies or the Flyers or the Eagles or the Sixers, I–and the rest of the people in Philadelphia–know exactly what it is like to watch some other team win, some other city celebrate.
Damn it, though, tonight it’s our turn!!
When I played Little League as a kid, I remember being disappointed year after year because I always drew the Tigers, or the Yankees, or the Dodgers, or the Orioles — any team but the Phillies. Every kid wanted to be a Phillie.
As a Philadelphia Eagles fan and an Auburn University alum, I’ve always loved football. Growing up in the northeast, hockey has always been huge. Still, at the end of the day, it is baseball, America’s pastime, which makes me think of simpler times when my parents were still together, when I knew nothing of mortgage payments or health insurance or busted water-heaters, when politics was something that angry grownups talked about.
This photograph was taken when I was just a kid, shopping in a department store and lucky enough to run into the Phillie Phanatic. My goodness, it was an absolute dream. It occurred to me tonight, watching my two-year-old daughter watch and laugh as her father hopped around the room (she called me a “hop-hop,” meaning that, to her, I looked like a rabbit), just how long it has been since life has been simple, since the greatest cause for concern or celebration was a bunch of guys in red and white pinstripes.
You know, I’m usually the first person to disparage sports, much in the same way as I do the cult of celebrity and the eye-rolling superficiality parade which is American Idol, as a distraction from the things which truly matter. Tonight, however, as I look at the images on my television set, I see coming together and celebrating together and jumping and dancing and hugging and screaming together a city which, just six days from now, will most certainly be viciously–and perhaps irreparably–divided.
Sure, there may be some rioting and disobedience in the streets of Philadelphia tonight, but for the most part, there is far more love tonight in the City of Brotherly Love than there has been for a long while, and will be for some time to come.
There’s something to be said for sports.
There’s something to be said for victory.
And there you have it — even on a night where pinstripes take precedence over politics, it becomes apparent that there is always a lesson to be learned.