I touched on the subject of being an Eagles fan yesterday and people responded with some good comments so I thought I would expand on that for today.
To those of you born in Philly, being an Eagles fan is a birthright (although it may feel like a curse at times). You grow up cheering for the Eagles. You watch games with your friends and family. You go to school with Eagles fans. You live in Eagles World. All you know is green.
I had never been to Philadelphia when I became an Eagles fan. To the best of my knowledge, I’d never met another Eagles fan. It was somewhat of a lonely existence for the first couple of years. I worked at Domino’s during the summers of my college years. I would go down to Myrtle Beach, SC and deliver pizzas to all the tourists. There was a guy named John Farrell who would come down from Philly to work at that Domino’s (one of the busiest in the world). I still remember John and I being excited about the addition of Herschel Walker. John loved baseball even more so we often talked about that. And beer. And everything under the sun. I haven’t spoken to him in 20 years. If anyone out there knows John, have him send me an email. I’d love to catch up with him.
Because the Eagles had Randall, Reggie, Herschel and the rest of Gang Green, most of their games were on TV even down in North Carolina. I went to a local sports bar for a couple of Eagles games in 1992 and 1993, but I don’t remember hanging out with Eagles fans there. 1995 is the first time I got some Eagles friends. The stars were gone. The Carolina Panthers came into existence and were the FOX game every week. That meant I was at the sports bar a lot. I watched games with Jen and Dan. There were some others who became regulars, but Jen and Dan were reliable. They were there for the good and bad games. The Eagles started 1-3 that year. The 5th game was us at the Saints. Jen, Dan and I watched that game on the smallest TV in the sports bar. I’m pretty sure the TV was used at NASA back in 1971. It was small, old and crappy. But the game was fun because I watched it with friends and the Eagles won.
The next step for me was finding the Eagles Message Board. That happened in 2003. Suddenly I was interacting with people that were not just fans, but obsessive nutjobs…like me. This took things to a whole other level. This was no longer some people getting together for 3 hours on Sunday. EMBers were 24/7 types. You talked Eagles at 3pm and 3am. You talked Eagles on July 4th and Christmas.
Some of my EMB buddies invited me to go to a game in September of 2004. Walking around the parking lot at The Linc was amazing. There were nothing but Eagles fans as far as the eye could see. Sick, degenerate Eagles fans. It was a spectacular sight. I was home.
It freaked me out to see so many gorgeous women walking around in Eagles jerseys. I hadn’t even contemplated what that would be like. I was just excited to hang out with some cool guys. Eagles babes? That was too good to be true. I had known Jen, who was beautiful, but she was one woman. The Linc was filled with ‘em. It was pretty much the same feeling as the first time I walked into a Toys R Us as a kid in 1979…total sensory overload.
I was at The Linc at the right time. The Eagles were great that year. They also had lots of stars. The place went nuts when Brian Dawkins was introduced before the game. That was an amazing moment. Words do not do it justice. The entire stadium went into a frenzy. It truly was an electric atmosphere.
All Eagles fans need to go to a game at The Linc. Even if you pick a dud, just hanging out in the parking lot before the game and getting to spend time with your Eagles brethren is worth it.
Those of us outside of Philly don’t get to physically interact with Eagles fans every day. We have to venture online to find some people to discuss the Eagles with. That is why it’s so special when you do bump into a live Eagles fan somewhere. You stop and chat if you can. If you just exchange a quick hello, it still sticks with you. It means something. The world is full of Cowboys, Yankees and Lakers fans (often the same people). The Eagles are relatively popular, but this isn’t a team that casual fans come flying to.
I consider myself lucky. I love being an Eagles fan for the very reason that it does mean something. We don’t have our Super Bowl, but so what. Tampa Bay has a title, but there is no way I’d want to be part of that sorry fanbase. Think about how cool it is when the Eagles play in Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville and even places like Dallas and San Fran. You see huge chunks of Eagles fans at those games. Eagles Nation is active. And loud. And proud. And always crazy.
Don’t ever change.
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I’ll post some football stuff later tonight.