There was a parade in Philadelphia today that was kind of a big deal.
As a general rule I hate everything about that town. Great city, but the whole sports scene could disappear and it would make the world a better place in my opinion. As a Sabres fan we have reason to hate them, and everyone knows how Eagles fans have treated people over the years.
Still, I was pretty happy on Wednesday when they finally finished Game Five with a win. A likable team (remember the last time we talked about Chase Utley?), a desperate city, and a fan base that has always been behind their team. There is a lot more in common between Buffalo and a city like Philadelphia than we’d like to admit, and the major similarity is how passionate they are about their sports teams.
When it was all over I went to The700Level to check out what they had to say about the series. At the time all they had up was this post with a picture of Broad Street. Since it was very late and I was killing time I clicked through to a Flicker album that had a TON of photos from the entire playoff run.
Whenever a team wins a championship it is special, but seeing it through the eyes of someone experiencing it is exceptionally moving. It’s the reason we read blogs, to get a fan’s perspective of the game and relate in a way some writers can’t professionally. There are a lot of really cool shots there, but what really got me was this one.
It’s a picture of a man kissing a photograph of his father in the streets after the final out. While it sounds pretty creepy on paper, under the circumstances it’s actually one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my time as a sports fan. That picture shows you so much about sports; the emotional baggage we carry as fans, and why we root so hard for our teams.
I’ve said it here before, but it’s not just about the game. We root for teams because they mean more than just a group of players in matching uniforms. We root because of our fathers. Sometimes we root in spite of our fathers. We root for the places we live and the people we love, and in the end that matters much more than salary caps and free agency. When our teams lose we all lose, and when they win, an entire city wins.
I may hate everything about Philly, but today I’m happy for their fans. I’m happy for the city, and in a way that I admire they deserve it. Watching Philadelphia win after so long gives me that little bit of hope that someday Buffalo will get theirs. Year after year expansion franchises and fairweather cities get to celebrate, and still we wait. We’ve been hanging on for longer than Philadelphia, and as much as it means to them it can only mean more to us.
It’s true in so, so many ways.