Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Center City newbie fandom can be a source of some irritation

That's a photo from the Phils' parade. I have a few better ones that I might post together at some point in the future.

Allow me to rant about a source of some irritation for a bit. I'm pretty much a two-sport guy, what you call in your slippery English tongue of the baseball and of the football americano. As a native of this city and a localist/loyalist, this translated at a very young age to being fated with a Phillies/Eagles loyalty, one that certainly tests one's patience at times. (I'm something of a fraud in the other two sports and perk up largely out of city loyalty only when someone's in the playoffs.)

In the mid-'90s I moved into Center City and its adjacent neighborhoods as most Philadelphia residents who manage to buck the odds and get a college education do. That means that my friend and co-worker base shifted largely to people in the 10% of the city's population near the big buildings - that percentage of the city's population who get almost all of city government's attentions and almost all of the press coverage. That population of largely transient (a trend slowing as it becomes cool to live in the city again) college-educated folks are now most of the people you find at a Center City-ish sports bar or a party when the Phils or (more likely) Eagles are making a playoff run.

And frankly I find some of this intercoastal bandwagon jumping irritating and at times even a little creepy. By all means, cheer, that's cool, but it's when people get (or pretend to get) emotional about things... and I know you just got here... weird!

I mean, in the 1970s (and '90s) I had running arguments with Cowboys fans at school, always having the lack of a ring thrown in my face. I once trashed and discarded a Roger Staubach card fresh out of the pack in front of another kid just to piss him off (fan wise, financially foolish). I remember Wilbert Montgomery's NFC Championship Game TD run, and I was watching every game I could (once upon a time they held World Series games during school days) of the '80, '83 and '93 series. I was at a lot of home losses at the Vet to the stinkin' Expos and Padres. Every year, somehow, it was Expos and Padres tix.



I was at the New Year's Eve playoff win against Tampa that started the whole Eagles post-season kinda-sorta-successful run, I was miserable, cold and downhearted at the last game at the Vet, suddenly realizing how cold I was as the clock ticked away the season and the stadium. I was at the 4th-and-26 game, and from our angle you couldn't tell the first down was made for a good minute or so. You get the idea. Some of you have been around longer than me.

So these days I see people from Idatucky who moved to the city (or more usually to the domed city-within-a-city that is CC and its environs) less than the gestation period of a large mammal ago all decked out in Phils or Birds gear and I just think "What the dick?!" It gets especially creepy when the word "we" comes out. "What do you mean, we, paleface?", I think to myself...

"We ended the drought!" Eh? You've been here less time than the length of the Zapruder film, what drought... what we? I was 12 when the Sixers won last and was disappointed one hundred consecutive seasons since then. That, my friends, is a drought.

That's this many seasons:

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And then the Phils won:

P

But, yeah, those past 14 months of recent, semi-interested fandom have been tough on you.

I've watched - literally watched - Brian Dawkins play about 200 games. One gets some attachment to a player over that period, and it's a little bizarre when you see the Dawkins jerseys on recent arrivals. I am reminded of that scene in Gangs of New York when the Irish dads are separated out at the immigrant intake area and handed a Union Army uniform.

It just rings hollow to me and it's all so... icky. I wonder, watching the Recent Philadelphia Sports Enthusiast, "OK, so did you just transfer your allegiance to Philadelphia teams from another... er, metro area (probably not "city" per se 'cause you're white)... on a dime, or did you just not care about pro sports until 15 minutes ago?" Either way, remind me not to trust you should the Soviets or Nazis take over. Creepy. I mean, when the robot-zombie-monkey-slaves revolt, I shoot you first and worry about them down the line. At least I know where the
robot-zombie-monkey-slaves stand on the issue of my well-being as a free human. I don't need a second front to open up during the Unspeakable Revolt of 2023.

I couldn't imagine moving to San Diego (picked randomly) for a job and becoming a Chargers fan in two months. Wouldn't people in San Diego think I was, at best, kinda fickle? And most likely a nursing students-as-victims ax murder cannibal..? No..?

I'd be an Eagles/Phils fan who happens to live in San Diego. (Oddly enough, this scenario still has me watching the stinkin' Padres live when the Phils come to town!) And if you're from San Diego and you remain a Chargers fan while here, I respect that. It probably means you don't kick kittens and do rewind VHS tapes before returning them.

This is part of how I know Hil Clinton is a cold blooded harpy, that whole fraud of this (supposed lifelong) Cubs fan claiming she was Yankees fan all along when the people of New York were instructed that she would "represent" their state after a life spent in DC, Illinois and Arkansas. You can't trust that. Decent people have a squad and stick with it.

Some of the opinions and conversation out of the new arrival, narrative-lacking Philadelphia fan just come off as forced and patronizing. And I just wonder how much is self-aware show for the benefit of others and how much is actual, new, context-free interest. Worse: I can't decide which option creeps me out more. It's like showing up at a new school the first week in a Twisted Sister shirt when everyone else has Ramones gear, and then showing up the second week in a Ramones shirt. You are so still sitting alone at the lunch table it's not even funny.

You just wanted to grab some people at the Phils celebration during the parade by the lapels and yell "Our joys are inequal!"

So for the first time in months, I'm posting a poll at right. What do you think? Let's establish an Anthony Gargano-style Sports Rule here.

The full text of most options ends with "the gear & using 'we'".
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11 comments:

myfawnwy said...

I have many friends and family members on the West Coast--all are originally from Philadelphia, though some left 10 to 20 years ago. I am happy to report that all of them continue to support Philadelphia teams, despite living in or around other cities like LA, San Diego and San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are such a superfan...the bottom line is that if your mom married a guy from Dallas, you would be a Cowboys fan. You had no control over where you were born, did you come out of the womb with an Eagles jersey on?...Doubtful. As far as your Brian Dawlkin's attachment...Go up to him and try to say hello, maybe offer to buy him a beer and see where your "200" games gets you...Get over yourself already and let people enjoy themselves...Dick

QuizMasterChris said...

Sounds like I need to return the attachment to Brian Dawlkin!

Thanks for repeating my point that non-weird fandom comes from an actual long-term attachment to a place.

Anonymous said...

If repeating your point is that some how you are more of a fan because your dad banged your mom in the ally behind Pat's steaks the night you were conceived as opposed to the third stall at Brenda's country kettle in Frankston, Texas...then your welcome.

QuizMasterChris said...

"You're" = "you are." Try that some time, people like it.

I can only imagine that you're pissed off because I just described you.

Anonymous said...

FYI - "You're" = "you are." Try that some time, people like it. = why "you're" not a state senator...I will say this though, you would have fit right in with the rest of those arrogant bastards...too bad. At the end of the day I really just like getting a rise out of you every now and then...My sources tell me exchanges like these really stick in your craw...juvenile, yes, but it makes me smile.

QuizMasterChris said...

Well I didn't run for state senate, did I? FAIL.

Incidentally I know exactly who you are, logging in from Williamsport, PA. And I know you check this website periodically to steal trivia questions for your own games up there after I didn't want to trade questions with you.

Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Wow, we've got a regular Sherlock Holmes here…”Steal” is such an ugly word. I do feature Internet questions most weeks. Have I used your stuff in the past for this purpose? Yes. In researching the two or three questions I post, believe it or not, my hope is that people will come across your site and check it out. Ultimatley because I really enjoy reading your posts, you are a great writer (the last post excluded, although the robot-zombie-monkey-slaves line was good!). I was one of your biggest supporters in the Centocor debacle, they sounded like real dickheads, but writing my support would have been no fun…unlike this, which is…Just trying to break up the monotony of the day…If we ever do cross paths again I will be the first to shake your hand and buy you a beer, I would love to pick your brain and share Quizzo horror stories.

QuizMasterChris said...

I am certainly open to the beer-buying and the hand-shaking.

Fortunately the Centocor thing turned around eventually.

Hope all is well in Wmsport-ish area.

Anonymous said...

Raised in the NYC (Metro=White/Asian part) area, was here the last two summers and still a Mets fan despite the terrible (2008) & monumentally terrible (2007) collapses. Don't worry Chris, I will never root for the Eagles or Phillies.

QuizMasterChris said...

Our bottom heavy Phanatic is more stable than your top heavy Mr. Met? Take that, outlander!