Friday, January 8, 2010

Why I enjoyed being an out-of-towner

I have enjoyed the pleasure in the past of being an out-of-town sports' fan. Now, "sports" here is mostly limited to football, but I watched the World Series when the Phils won in '08 and I'll watch March Madness and dish, too. So yes, "sports fan" not "sport fan", folks.

Now that I am living in my sports' teams hometown (this would be Philadelphia) I would like to describe some of the pluses to being an out-of-towner. Now don't get me wrong, I am excited to be living here. I see people wearing Eagles gear, and I no longer feel the urge to flash them a thumbs up or remark, "nice hat", which inevitably leads to confusion. Now, on gameday in Boston or New York, after an Eagles victory, commenting on someone's birds' gear was always heartening. It was like you were sharing something with someone you didn't even know. All you had to do was smile.

Being in another city, you are also constantly defending your team against its rivals. I wore my vintage Eagles sweatshirt proudly to the airport to fly home in 2005 when we lost to the Patriots in the Superbowl. The Homeland security guy turned to his friend and said, "Look, Marv, we've got another!" They gave me hell. I told them wait and see. (Presumably, they are still waiting.) Living back home, instead of having to defend my team to people who like other teams, I find myself constantly having to stick up for them to disheartened die-hards. The a.m. radio stations are chock full of callers calling for Andy Reid to step down, for Donovan to be traded, for our offensive line to gain a hundred pounds, etc. I find myself sputtering. These are the guys I've been defending for years in New York against Giants fans and Cowboys fans alike! Now, living back here, I need to defend them to YOU?

One of the other things I liked about being a Phillies and Eagles fan in New York, in Boston, is that you got to know who else you knew liked other teams. Eric and Scott loved the Mets. Therefore, we would have days (when I was in a hat or sweatshirt they didn't like, particularly,) where neither of them could be friends with me. Bibbi, Nick and I were gunning for an "Intra-Pennsylvania" Superbowl last year-- the two of them being Pittsburgh fans. The bar I went to watch the games at was primarily a Pittsburgh bar, but they showed the other games. Fans in all colors would come. There was the Tampa Bay fan inevitably shaking his head, decked head to toe in red and gold. There were the very loud Jets fans. The Eagles' fans in that bar usually outnumbered everyone except the Pittsburgh fans. This was a point of pride.

Living in Philadelphia now, I rarely see anyone with any other teams' gear on,-- and if I do manage to spot someone, it's usually someone showcasing their Dallas cap or their Giants coat. Not people I want to talk to. Where are Philadelphia's Jaguars fans? Saints fans? Mets fans? (Just kidding about that last one. They're all hiding.)

To conclude, I particularly enjoyed being an out-of-town sports fan, especially in cities like Boston and New York where many a transplant resides. I will not say I prefer it, though. Something about getting to be here for that parade, oh, whenever it might happen. That will make every argument I've had to have with every in-and-out-of-towner worth it. Someday.