BY HARRY FISHER
As someone who spent half his life growing up in Philadelphia, I’ve always found it difficult to like a place like Virginia. I’m more at home among narrow streets lined with cars and tall buildings then I am among wide-open rural areas and small towns. Of course, Fredericksburg is far from a small town, and over the past 10 years, I’ve learned to love this city and think of it as a second home. Unfortunately, the one thing I continually find it difficult to do as a resident of Fredericksburg is express my interest in Philadelphia sports teams.
The fact of the matter is that teams like the Eagles, the Flyers and the Phillies don’t get nearly as much love outside of Philly as they do in or around it. One could argue that the same can be said for all professional sports teams, but I beg to differ. During my 10 years in Virginia, I’ve met plenty of people young and old who are fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees, just to name a few, and we’re nowhere near any of those cities. Half the time, I’m afraid to tell anyone that I’m a fan of the Flyers or the Phillies because of the confused look or pitiful shake of the head they always give me as a response.
I find that if you bring up the Philly sports teams anywhere outside of Pennsylvania or the surrounding states, you’ll generally receive a response that indicates scorn or mockery towards the teams. I’ll admit, none of the Philly sports teams are perfect, but what sports team is? I’m sure we can all attest to this, all professional football teams screw up and lose the Super Bowl at one point or another. So why is it so easy for people down here to like the New York Giants, but not the Eagles? I know that not every sports team is universally loved in a place like Virginia, but it always seems to me like there’s extra hate towards Philly.
I’ll admit, I’m not as big of a sports fan as a lot of people I know, and in my eyes, people tend to get a little too crazy about sports sometimes. I understand that sports are exciting, and it can be really exhilarating to hype up your own team while talking trash about another one, but I think that’s exactly the problem. People have no respect for other people’s favorite teams. Is it really necessary to make other people feel bad about whom they’re rooting for, just so you can feel better about your own side? Sometimes it goes beyond just friendly competition- sometimes people go absolutely nuts over who they think is going to win in a simple ball game.
I think it also has something to do with the fact that Philly teams have had less than stellar performances in recent years. But so what if the Eagles haven’t won the Super Bowl yet, or if the Phillies haven’t won the World Series since 2008? Every team has the potential to do better in the future. I really think we need to stop bashing each other’s preferences in sports teams and realize that even though “home” means something different to each of us, we all love to root for the home team.