You can chalk this one up to those ‘shower thoughts’ where everyone becomes a seasoned philosopher, but I’m convinced I found the perfect analogy for Philadelphia sports.
Let me start with this, as you may or may not be aware, like a decent amount of you I have an Italian heritage (as if Mazziotti wasn’t a dead giveaway). I have the word “Famiglia” tattooed over my heart, I got it at the same time as my cousin. My paternal grandfather stays decked out in gold jewelry, after Sunday mass my mom goes food shopping and cooks gravy while drinking wine. Yes, the red stuff I put on macaroni is gravy, we can talk about it on Twitter (@AntMazziotti).
My take is Philadelphia sports is similar to that of an Italian family. I didn’t grow up in an Irish, German, Ukranian (shoutout to Adrian) household so I can’t speak for them, but I truly believe the Philadelphia sports scene can be represented by an Italian family. Let’s start with the easy one.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the oldest child, and more than likely, mom’s favorite. It seems no matter what they do mom and dad won’t be mad at them. The Eagles, despite only winning their first championship last year, have been consistently selling out the stadium. Wikipedia, though not the most reputable source, says the stadium has been sold out since 1999. Back to the older brother narrative, think about it this way, a few years ago they brought home a girlfriend who completely changed who they were. She made him drink smoothies, put him on a diet and made him wear a sleep monitor. We liked that she kept him in line at first because he was doing well. Keeping with the analogy he was doing very well at work, he came to the brink of getting a promotion but fell just shy. Then things started to sour between the two of them. Even though we didn’t like his girlfriend any more because she was causing a lot of problems, mom still kept the faith that he’d come to his senses and leave her. And he did. The big brother inevitably found someone like his first ex-girlfriend who is relaxed and lets him drink beer and eat ice cream whenever.
Even when the team is underperforming the fanbase supports them. Think back to earlier this season when the Birds weren’t performing well, take any of the early season losses. We weren’t mad, just disappointed because we know they’re better than that. It’s like they brought home a report card after making principal’s list and thought bringing in C’s would get the job done. OK, we might have been a little mad. We’re Eagles fans after all.
The baby of the family is the Sixers. This one was second easiest to peg, in my opinion. If you thought mom and dad were forgiving with the Eagles look at the Sixers. Sure there was some fighting between mom and dad when the Sixers were tanking. Mom showed unwavering support screaming “Trust the process!” while dad rolled his eyes. We stand, a few years removed from the process days, mom and dad got over the fighting because the Sixers are successful now.
The Sixers fans are some of the most supportive fans, almost to a point where it might seem condescending, we cheered, loud, for a simple basket from Markelle Fultz. This is the kind of unconditional support shown to the youngest child. Mom, and dad to a lesser degree, are protective of the Sixers. Who can blame them.
This brings me to the second oldest, or middle child, which has to be the Phillies. In my opinion they tend to be forgotten in the grand scheme of things because they don’t get the attention the Eagles and Sixers get. They have middle child syndrome and to a lesser extent an inferiority complex because of it. They say things to get mom’s and dad’s attention like, “I’m gonna spend stupid money this offseason,” and while that sounds all well and good on paper, it doesn’t really move the needle for mom and dad because their attention is pretty focused on the Eagles and Sixers.
This isn’t to say we don’t care about the Phillies. We do, we love them, but they tend to be forgettable. In part to having an unwatchable product for five seasons and having a 162-game season. If the Phillies land a superstar in free agency, mom and dad will have to find a better way to split their attention.
Here comes the hardest one for me to pinpoint, the Flyers. I feel like the red-headed step child is too easy here but I’m gonna go with it. They’re definitely part of the Philly sports family but they get nowhere near the attention of the Eagles or Sixers. Even the Phillies get more love which is saying something. Mom and dad definitely keep tabs on the Flyers and when they’re successful the whole family comes to their side. When they’re irrelevant, though, it shows. They go ghost and you might not hear from them for a while. Sure, there’s a few cousins that really, really like the Flyers in almost a cult kind of way, but they don’t have the mainstream family support of the other three.
When it comes to the Union, Wings and Soul, they’re the cousins that come around to the family parties. We love them but we don’t see nearly enough of them to know what they’re really like. The Phanatic and Gritty are the drunk uncles who everyone finds hilarious.
Everyone has their own family opinions, I want to hear what you think of the Philadelphia sports family. What I got right, what you think I got wrong, what your favorite memory is, etc. Hit me up on Twitter.