After hearing about Andrew Bynum’s new knee issue I got a feeling that crawled into the pit of my stomach. Then after the Eagles game Sunday it was killing me and I couldn’t avoid it. It was a feeling that I have felt before but not in a few years. It’s is that old feeling that the sports teams in this town are doomed and we are inescapably tied to them. When I say tied I mean the success of these teams directly effect the mood of this city. Think about the Monday after any Eagles loss. You can really feel it every where you go. We are unable to just wash our hands of the failures of our sports teams and we wear it on our sleeves. We take it with us to school, work and carry it in our social lives.
After the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 I thought that feeling had left me for good. I thought they broke the curse and proved that winning a championship in Philadelphia wasn’t impossible. Just think about that postseason everything broke the Phils way. I started feeling optimistic about Philadelphia sports something I never felt before 2008. I felt like the sports gods were finally on our side for once and at the time it look like the Phillies had the potential to be a dynasty. They really could’ve and maybe should’ve won multiple World Series. Plus Ruben Amaro started spending like he was employed by George Steinbrenner and with a payroll like that how could we not win multiple championships.
Unfortunately it’s starting to feel like the curse was not lifted but the World Series win did two things. First this town was like a pressure cooker before 2008 and when they won the World series it relieved that pressure just before this town was about to explode. Secondly it gave us a false sense of optimism.
Since 2008 the Phillies keep on bringing in more talented and expensive players but as the payroll ballooned we keep getting farther away from another World Series. The Eagles snuck into the playoff in 2009 and made it all the way to the NFC Championship only to get beat by the Cardinals. A team they blew out 48-20 Thanksgiving day earlier that season. Last season they went on a spending spree that brought the biggest names on the market here and put them in most Super Bowl conversations. Since then they have progressively gotten worse and are nowhere near going to the Super Bowl. The Flyers 2009-2010 kicked our false sense of optimism into high gear when they comeback to beat the Bruins in playoff series after going down 0-3. They lost in the 6th game of the Stanley Cup Finals when Michael Leighton gave up one of the softest goal ever to Patrick Kane in overtime. Now the Flyers have a great group of young players but they are on strike and may not have a season. The Sixers have been stuck in mediocrity for a long time but that looked like it was going to change this year with the acquisition of Andrew Bynum. With the Flyers on strike and the Eagles sucking this bad they should have been the talk of the town. Now it is a real possibility Bynum will never even step on the floor as a Philadelphia 76er. Can someone explain to me how Dwight Howard has back surgery and Bynum has a preventative knee procedure but Howard has play ever game while Bynum hasn’t played one? It’s starting to look like we are doomed again and the pressure is starting to build.
It is this mixed feeling of passion and pain that defines and shapes us. It’s the reason why Donavan McNabb got booed at the draft. It is the reason we throw snowball at Santa Claus and batteries at J.D. Drew. It’s the reasons fans try to fight Tie Domi and Joe Hickman fought other fans in the opening day brawl in the 700 level. On the flip side this is also why we sold out 257 games in a row at Citizens Bank Park. It’s why we invade other team stadiums for away games across the country. We have this unique pride in Philadelphia while also feeling like when you put Philadelphia on a jersey you won’t win championships. These teams are a like a bad girlfriend that you stay with for some reason. They are always hurting you but you just can leave them. It can make you crazy and that’s what the return of this feeling means. The return of the crazy Philly fans.