This is more say a journal entry than a formal story, but bear with me on this.
If you've known me for long enough, you'll know that I don't take too kindly to Philadelphia sports success, despite being born and raised in the Delaware Valley my entire life. I revelled in their high profile failures, particularly the Eagles, and took personal psychic pain when the teams did well. My "hatred" waned as I got older and my life took me away from home, but deep seeded feelings don't usually go away completely, they just subside temporarily.
What made this particular Super Bowl so interesting and conflicting from my personal perspective was the idea that the Eagles could win the Super Bowl, not something I ever particularly wanted to see, against a team that just eliminated my own from a potential first Super Bowl. Would I be against the Patriots, as 95% of neutrals were, or against Philadelphia, as I had been raised to be from generations of family animosity towards Philadelphia sports teams?
The hand-wringing is over now that the Eagles have won, and many people I know are celebrating a feeling I have never experienced, and may never knowing the teams I support. Part of my initial reaction to the Eagles whacking the Vikings in the NFC Championship was happiness that I didn't have to deal with an Eagles/Jaguars Super Bowl, which would have been absolutely awful for me (and probably only me), especially if the Eagles had won, which would have been soul crushing.
The suffering of Philadelphia sports fans, particularly with the Eagles has been well documented, and their escapades have been as well. They haven't created much of a loving feeling among fellow sports fans around the country, and with some of the things that have happened in the past, how could it be any other way?
I'm happy for many of my own friends who have suffered as much as anyone, and weren't necessarily obnoxious about it. They certainly deserve it. If you were someone looking from the outside in, and you didn't know anyone in the way I do, you might not enjoy watching the Eagles be successful as they now are, and that's understandable. For me, it's more regret that the Jaguars had come as close as they had ever come to a Super Bowl, fell short, and then another team beat the Patriots by doing something they didn't have the courage to do, and that team happened to be the Eagles, which irked me more than anything else.
There is mostly a sense of bitterness of watching people who I enjoyed making fun of now enjoy a type of happiness I have never experienced, but came so close to that ends up being the best way I can describe this weird confluence of emotions. Would I have revelled in the failure of the Eagles had they lost? Yeah, but it probably would have been piling on to people who didn't need it, or particularly want to hear from me at that stage. It would have been a mildly twisted sense of sastisfaction that they still couldn't have what I couldn't have, which was my high school logic for rooting against everything Philadelphia sports based.
Good people are happy comes along with the people that I personally loathed being happy, but that is part and parcel of sports fandom. This would have also been the case if the Patriots had won too. My personal biases still color much of what I call fandom outside of my investment in sports media as a profession, but even that line is a bit blurry.
For a region and a city I call home, last night was something so many of them waited a lifetime for and now have, and some of them certainly deserve it. Some don't to be sure, but to take the good with the bad is taking the high road in a situation which if it occurred when I was younger I certainly wouldn't have done. Such is life in sports where we hook emotional well-being and self worth to sports teams we have no control over.
Philly fans: enjoy this. You put the haters in their place for one night and will have it over them for a while. Don't let anyone like me or anyone take this away from you because of the past.
But that doesn't people like me don't harbor a little resentment about it, for one bizarre reason or another.
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