Since I’m a die hard Philly fan who no longer lives in Philadelphia, I find myself CONSTANTLY defending my Philly Fan brethren against what has always SEEMED TO BE constant and blatant media exaggeration. Exaggeration that fans in other cities eat up with one of those big wooden spoons that used to hang on your momma’s kitchen wall back in the day. The attitudes of Philly Fans, the violence, the intimidation, the so-called unprovoked booing and turning on our athletes, etc has all been embellished over the years to the point of legend. And yes, admittedly, many of us OWN the legend, the myth, the lore, because 1) It has some truth to an EXTENT and 2) It’s sometimes fun to be PERCEIVED as the bully on the block…the Gooch….Biff…Nelson Muntz…you get the point. But hearing sports media figures CONSTANTLY crap on my city’s fans, and bringing up the same old HALF-TOLD, overly-exaggerated stories from 30 and 40 years ago to make their points, is starting to get a tad bit old…and it is starting to weigh on me heavily. If I hear that we threw snowballs at Santa Claus ONE MORE TIME without hearing the actual TRUE 1968 back-story, I’m gonna snap. First of all jackasses, Santa Claus doesn’t exist. People speak of this day as if the jolly, white-bearded, red-cheeked saint is a real person. Second of all…forget it. Use your fancy Google machines and look up the REAL story for yourselves.
Nowadays, Philadelphia sporting events are so heavily scrutinized that EVERY little ballpark incident is reported as national news. The whole city ALWAYS shares in the reputation of the “few”. I’ve been to stadiums and arenas all across the country (41 to be exact) and one outside the country (if you count The Colosseum in Rome), and the same behavior goes on EVERYWHERE I go. As a matter of fact, many times I think much of this behavior is a result of “other fans” having Philly fans in their house. I think they feel the need to “act like us” just to show us that they are just as tough as we are and that their house can be just as intimidating as ours. You wouldn’t believe how many fans I’ve seen play themselves way out of position trying to show off to the guy in the Phillies t-shirt or Eagles jersey. But in these cases, the entire city doesn’t get labeled after every dust up in the stands and these incidents hardly make the nightly news. It seems as if outsiders have always been envious of the passion we display towards our sports teams. MOST of us are all about immovable loyalty to our TEAMS, so excuse us if we occasionally move on emotionally from non-performing, overpaid athletes or athletes who either NEVER HAVE or NO LONGER fit the mold of the city in general.
I find it hilarious how the national media and the sheep that hang onto their every word were so shocked to see Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb get a standing ovation upon his return to Philly. Anyone who expected anything less doesn’t really know Philadelphians. And even though the fans did “the right thing”, they still couldn’t get credit. I read articles the day after implying that the standing ovation was probably a direct result of the fans knowing that the eye of the sports nation was on them that day. I have a question…When ISN’T the eye of the sports nation on Philly fans? And when have we ever changed our behavior to satisfy the masses? Stop blindly believing the myths. Stop allowing sports media talking heads to shape your opinions about stuff they weren’t even there to see. Stop being legend-whores. Go find out for yourselves and stop believing everything Michael Wilbon tells you. Come to a game in Philly and hang out with us. And if you act right, maybe we won’t beat yo ass up!
Devin “Dev” McMillan of The War Room, for War Room Sports