Mark Tulin is a sports fan from Philadelphia, PA. He has four books of poetry and one short story collection available on Amazon.
The Rabble-Rousers in Red
The 2022 MLB baseball playoffs have highlighted who the best sports fans are. The Phillies' fans were screaming and rabble-rousing in all their red October glory. Despite coming up short in the World Series, the Phillies faithful were the champions of fandom.
As President Biden put it: "Philadelphia fans are the most informed and most obnoxious fans in the world."
I get it. People around the country view Philly fans negatively, and much of that is deserved. We did boo Santa. However, we had a good reason. A substitute stood in for Santa that day. The Eagles had perhaps their worst season. And, rumor has it, the Santa replacement was drunk. And when the fans realized this, they pelted the intoxicated Santa with boos and snowballs.
Philly fans are moody. They get maniacal when their teams are winning, but when they're losing--they get depressed. So then they not only boo the opposing teams but boo their own players. It's not pretty.
Perhaps if we weren't so passionate and loved our teams as much, we would be less obnoxious. My theory is that Philadelphians have always been passionate people, down to the revolutionary days when we had to take on the British Empire with only our spirit and a few muskets.
We Call Our Baseball Team the Fightins
Anybody raised in working-class Philadelphia knows we are fighters. The Rocky statue in front of the Art Museum symbolizes our pugilistic spirit, along with such renowned boxers as Joe Frazier and Bernard Hopkins. We may scream and carry on, but we don't give up. Instead, we keep returning for more--and often, the result raises our collective blood pressure.
The teams are in our blood. Depending on the season, we bleed four different colors. Our four blood types are Eagle green, Phillies red, Flyers orange, and Sixers Navy blue (mixed in with red and white).
We are also notorious team hoppers. When one of our teams is doing poorly, we try to block them out and move to the next Philly team performing better. We play musical teams. We are a city with a long history of losing, and we have to do something to keep from jumping off the Ben Franklin Bridge.
We Are Sports Crazy
The sad truth is--we don't have anything better to do with our time than sports. We don't live in L.A., where the weather is nice and there are plenty of beaches. Instead, we live in cold and snowy Philadelphia with icicles on the windows.
We listen to the radio, watch games on T.V., read the sports dailies, and listen to sports talk shows ad nauseum. Then, if that isn't enough--we argue about our teams in bars, rib joints, and coffeehouses.
We climb greased traffic lights intended to keep us from climbing them. We get tased by cops on horseback. We fight in the stands. And we drink too much beer and scream until we pass out.
Not a minute passes that a Philly sports thought doesn't cross our minds. They say we have 19 sexual thoughts a day. I bet our sports thoughts are triple that amount for the Philly fan.
Insane but Knowledgeable
As President Biden said, we are the most virulent, obnoxious fans in the world--but we know our stuff.
We are painfully aware of what is happening every second of the action. We know who's playing well and who's not performing. We know our players by name, number, and the colleges they attended. We know the rules better than the umps. We know when a basketball player is flopping and when the manager should call the bullpen.
We know too much. We know the analytics, the trends, and the odds. We are sports nerds--obsessed and passionate.
And when our team loses in the World Series, the Stanley Cup finals, or the Super Bowl--we mourn them just as much as a family member passing away. And we put flowers on their proverbial graves.
We are intelligent, have a blue-collar mentality, and are highly emotional. And we want our athletes to be just as dedicated. But when that doesn't happen--look out! Boos and beer cans will fly from the rafters, and all hell will break loose.