My Philadelphia Phillies are World Champions. I don’t know what to do with myself.
Two weeks ago a colleague helped put the monumentality of the situation in perspective for me. As a die-hard Red Sox fan watching her team collapse, Nisha posted this message on her Facebook account about her newborn son:
“Nisha is bummed [the] baby will have to wait at least until June to experience his first Boston championship celebration.”
I’ll admit I felt a little bit bad for the baby, it’s not his fault he was born a Sox fan. Still it reminded me that in my 23 years of life I had never experience the thrill of a world championship in my hometown.
Maybe that would be acceptable if I was from the rock capital of the world (Cleveland) or the coffee and software capital of the world (Seattle).
I’m from Philadelphia though – a tried and true blue-collar sports town. This is the home of Wilt Chamberlin, Mike Schmidt, Dr. J, Reggie White, and the Broad Street Bullies.
Yet I was part of a lost generation who could only feed off our parents’ stories of parades for the Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers. We watched each of our teams play in championships in vain, leaving only bitter memories of Joe Carter, Hockeytown, Shaq/Kobe, and Brady’s Dynasty.
For my entire life, my Philadelphia sports fandom has been defined by losing. I took a certain sense of pride in the Phillies earning the 10,000 loss if only because it certified that our grief was not in vain – we really were the worst franchise in the history of competition.
I wasn’t really sure what to do going into Monday night, with a 3-1 series lead with our ace pitching at home. Surely it can’t end like this!
And then the skies opened up and the game suspended. It was enough to feed my pessimism and paranoia for two more days.
Then suddenly, without theatrics or controversy, we won the game and a world championship.
For the first time in my life I’m a winner. In the last few years I’ve been building my self-confidence up, feeling more comfortable with my talents, and enjoying life. And now my team is a world champion.
What I am I going to do with all this sarcasm and disappointment? I don’t know.
What I do know is that perhaps for the first time in my life, I will be able to watch sports with a bit more patience. Take a little more satisfaction in the playoff birth and divisional championships, because they make the big one all the more sweeter.
I think my biggest concern now is that next year we have a championship letdown. As bad as never winning a championship is, never winning at all is much worse.
So thanks to Ryan, Chase, Jimmy, Cole, Jamie, Shane, Chris, Jayson, Brad, Brett, Pedro, Carlos, J.C., J.A., Joe, Eric, Matt, Geoff, Chad, Scott, Pat and Charlie for keeping things interesting and making this year so special. I look forward to the day when I can tell my children about watching you play. After all who knows how old they’ll be the next time Philadelphia wins a championship.