I was born in 1977 – a very good time to be a fan of the Philadelphia sports teams.
In the late seventies and early eighties, all four of the city’s major teams were faring well. During a ten-year period from 1974 to 1983, each would each appear in their sport’s championship game at least once, and the Flyers, Phillies, and 76ers even managed to win a title.
Unfortunately, I was too young to appreciate what was happening. I vaguely recall being at a Super Bowl party in 1981, and I remember watching some of the 1983 World Series, but it didn’t hold my interest for long.
I didn’t really become a sports fan until 1985. Unfortunately, the good times in Philly were over by then. They wouldn’t return until…well, I’m still waiting for that.
Before I paint too negative of a picture, I’ll admit that my tenure as a sports fan hasn’t been entirely awful. I’ve gotten to watch all four teams play in the championship game, and I was even lucky enough to see the Phillies actually win the World Series.
But for the most part, being a Philadelphia sports fan hasn’t been very rewarding. And somehow, over the past few years, things have seemed to become even worse. All four teams missed the playoffs last season. The 76ers have been making themselves awful on purpose while the Phillies have done so unintentionally. It feels like it might be a very long time before I get to celebrate any more championships.
I’m hoping that my son will avoid a similar fate.
Assuming he turns out anything like me, he is going to be a sports fan. Unless he
completely stabs me in the back makes an independent decision, he’ll also become a fan of the Philly teams.
I’ve said that if he really want to root for the local teams, I won’t fight him on it (well… maybe a little), but considering the recent history of Washington’s sports teams, he won’t be any better off.
I realize that it may be sexist to only include my son and not my two daughters. That’s mostly because the Cutlet has shown very little interest in watching sports, no matter how many times I tell her how great they are. Also, Credence Clearwater Revival did not record a song titled “Fortunate Daughter,” so that would have screwed up the title of the post.
Maybe I should do him a favor and steer him away from being a sports fan. He would probably be better off finding a different hobby and avoid wasting so much time and mental stress over the results of millionaires playing children’s games.
But I’m confident that he’s going to be luckier than I was. I’m confident that the Philly teams are going to get all of this crappiness out of their system while he’s too young to notice. Once he’s old enough to follow sports and actually appreciate winning, that’s when a new golden era will begin. His formative years will not be filled with heartbreak, but rather happy memories of victories and championship parades.
While I will be happy for him, I imagine some feelings of jealousy may creep in as well. When he complains about one of his teams – and he will, because that’s what fans of even the best teams do – I may find it hard not to tell him, “Stop whining! You know not what pain is!”
Sadly, this may not come to pass. There’s no guarantee that the Philly teams will ever shake their current malaise, and may go on to disappoint yet another generation of fans. Maybe Cujo is doomed to a long life of sports disappointments just like his father.
Good luck, kid. You may need it.