Let’s go back to school for a minute here with a multiple choice quiz. Tell me which one of the following statements is true:
A) Philadelphia sports fans are the most loyal, most supportive, most dedicated sports fans in the United States.
B) Philadelphia sports fans are the most temperamental, nasty, vindictive, mean fans in the United States.
If you live here, you probably answered A. If you don’t live in Philly, you probably answered B. Here’s the thing: You’re both right.
Passion is a funny thing. Passion is an intense feeling that can sometimes make you do things you otherwise wouldn’t. Good, and bad.
Passion can make you walk a thousand miles uphill, barefoot, in the snow to protect someone you love. It also can make you spend nights awake crying, or worse, making phone calls and hanging up as soon as she answers.
The thing is, as soon as we Philly fans accept the dual effect of our unquestioned passion for our sports teams, we might stop being so bothered by the national media’s opinion of us. We might even notice that they treat us a little more fairly than we originally thought.
I couldn’t help but notice our Jeckyl and Hyde act last night during Roy Halladay’s no-hitter.
It was us, the passionate Phillies fans who were standing and cheering for nine innings, growing louder and more intense with each out. Waving flags. Willing our new ace toward history. The loudest baseball crowd in the world, with over a hundred consecutive sellouts It was also us though,10 years after Scott Rolen left town, still booing him lustily. Booing him essentially for deciding he wanted something different and leaving.
The best way to stop someone from hurting you with what they say about you, is to own it. If this is us, and I think it is, we should own it and take it away from them. If we admit that we can get a little out of control, but that’s what great about us, it’ll be one less stone they can throw.
We’re not the fans that cheered when Michael Irvin got hurt or the fans who gave Donovan McNabb a standing ovation upon his return. We’re both.
We’re not the fans who keep running on the field during Phillies games or the fans who sold out all of those games. We’re both.
We’re both, and that’s OK with me, because sports without passion is just a game. But sports with passion is so much more than just a game, and that’s why it’s so great.