This evening I am pleased to have my very first guest blogger on Go Ask Your Daddy! Margaret from Laughter is Better than Prozac was kind enough to blog about her frustrations as a Philadelphia Eagles fan. As a Bengals fan I can truly relate! Please check out her blog and be sure to follow her on Facebook:
We’re Not Vile, Just Misunderstood
I look like your average American mom waiting for the school bus in my yoga pants, sipping my coffee. But I’ve got a secret and I’m pretty sure if the other moms knew, they’d never let their children come over again. I’m a devout member of the most despised football fandom in the US, the fans that boo injured opponents and pelted Santa with snowballs. I am Philadelphia Eagles fan.
It’s hard to be an Eagles fan. It’s even harder to be an Eagles fan when geographically displaced. I know. I’ve been temporarily relocated to Indianapolis for three years now and middle America is a lonely place for an Eagle but my loyalty had not faltered. Perhaps you saw me last year at the Monday Night Football season opener. I was one of two Eagles jerseys in the sea of blue at Lucas Oil Stadium. (The other was my husband and he was there under duress.) My children are the ones on the playground frolicking in McNabb and McCoy jerseys among the multitude of Lucks and Mannings. It’s not easy to love the Eagles but like any dysfunctional relationship, I’ve loved them so long, I don’t know how to do anything else.
Back in ‘94, when I landed in Philadelphia fresh out of college, I was a free agent. Oh, not that kind of free agent. I just mean I had no allegiances to any team. I grew up in Iowa, one of those unfortunate states void of any geographical team affiliation. Sure, depending on your side of the state you might be more Vikings than Bears but I was from southern Iowa so my fandom was ripe for the picking.
I knew little about Philly when I moved there but two things were certain: I was only stopping off for the two years it would take to do my Masters and I was never going to root for the Eagles. Eagles fans were horrible, vile beings and I would never become one of those. Ah youth. I ended up living in Philadelphia for 15 years, with intentions to return soon and I now bleed green.
When you move to Philadelphia, it doesn’t take long to know if you’re meant to be there or not. It’s a love it or hate it place, no in-betweens. It’s a surly, working class city with middle child syndrome, (Stuck right between it’s classier siblings New York and DC) where no one will sugar coat anything and if you don’t like it, no one cares. (My kind of people.) It’s a city where things tend to go the opposite of how you’d hoped and nothing is ever easy. But, if you love Philadelphia, it will love you back, (even if that love does come in the form a stanky, sweat, pee and cheesesteak infused embrace). Once you’re in, you’re in and it’s the same with the Eagles.
It only took one season for Ray Rhodes and Randall Cunningham to suck me in, just like it only took about two months for me to realize I was meant to be in Philly for the long haul. Eagles fans aren’t vile, we’re just passionate but much like the city itself, we tend to be a little rough around the edges. It’s hard for us to show our love without a slug to the chin. (Which is pretty much why in 1998 Judge Seamus McCaffery had to open an actual jail and courtroom right in the stadium. Can your football team say that? I didn’t think so.)
Are we loud? Yes. Are we overly-aggressive? Sure. Do we love our boys even when they suck? (And thanks to Chip Kelly, there’s been a lot of suckage lately.) Yes we do, but we make sure to let them know we’re not pleased. And as proven recently in the case of the aforementioned Mr. Kelly, fan displeasure can mean a coach’s demise. (Farewell Chip.)
Sure, we are the fan base that booed Santa in 1968 but in our defense, there were extenuating circumstances. (Yea, ok, even I can’t try to spin that in a good light. Yo sorry Santa. Wrong place, wrong time.) And yes, Sports Illustrated named us worst fans in the NFL for 2015 but there is a sense of pride in being the most despicable. Ultimately, Eagles fans are just a manifestation of Philadelphia. We’re a bunch of Rocky Balboas, a little rough and a little raw but filled with immeasurable passion and determination. Just like Adrian had to learn to understand Rocky, America will someday learn to love the Eagles fans.
Until that day, I will keep flying my Eagles flag in my neighborhood of Colts. I will tell my young sons of the good old days when we actually made the playoffs and I will continue to reassure myself every August that “this year is our year.” For I bleed green. I am an Eagle…and I’m used to disappointment.