I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I remember being six or seven and getting an excited feeling in my stomach when the tv would click on and the sounds of the game would cry out. I remember, being around that same age, pit stopping at someones house one day while we were out running errands to catch the end of the game.
In elementary school, we'd have spirit days and everyone would wear green and I'd be in awe seeing my teachers in jeans (for some reason I always was fascinated by this - wait you're a real person?). I remember the energy in the hallway in high school when they'd play E-A-G-L-E-S over the loudspeaker and the whole school would chant along.
In college I briefly worked at a sports bar and game days were the best because the energy was infectious. One moment you'd be taking a tables order and the next everyone was hugging each other and jumping up and down.
My boyfriends family definitely got me more into sports than I was before. I look forward to Sunday's where we go and watch the game together. It's not just about the game, even though that's an important part, but about the fact that it's bringing us all together.
I think going into this years Super Bowl, that's what a lot of people who aren't from Philly didn't understand. It wasn't just a game.
You see, for fifty two years, Philadelphians have supported their team, have held out hope, have gone to games and religiously tuned in on Sunday during football season. We have opinions about the coaches, the plays, the players, but we'll also defend them to the end. We support our city and our teams no matter what.
On February 4, 2018 I, along with millions of other Eagles fans, experienced a wave of emotions.
This wasn't the first time the Eagles have gone to a Super Bowl, but it's the first time they've won. It's the first time they've won. That wasn't a typo, I just wanted to say it again.
Being in my mid-twenties now (eh, I guess late now that I'm 26? ugh) I realized the importance and significance of this game. As we get older, so do our parents and grandparents. Many of the "adults" in my life have been witnesses to the championships that the Eagles were a part of in the past, but they were also witness to the letdown. And that's probably the best way to word it. You see, it's not a loss, because in Philly it's an emotion not an action.
On Sunday, I sat (and stood and sat and stood) with Dan's family as we watched the game together, but this Sunday was different. For a week, the energy in the city was palpable. Reports of Philadelphia greasing the light posts only amped us up more. Not because we planned to go to the city and climb the lamp posts. Although wouldn't that have been some great PR? "Philly Housewife Allie Proko was arrested this evening for scaling a light post on Broad Street". Ugh, missed my chance. No, it was because we could feel the city preparing for the celebration.
All week long, our social channels were flooded with hype videos, pictures of peoples' kids going to school covered in as much green as their closets could produce, corporate offices throwing parties for their employees, etc. We had serious conversations about how the Super Bowl was actually stirring up a lot of emotions for folks who'd lost their fathers who wanted nothing more than to see the Birds victory.
We weren't just excited to win a game. We were excited to celebrate as a city and to experience that victory with the people we care about. When they say that Philly bleeds green, they mean it. It's in our blood. It's a passion that I'm not certain any of us can truly explain or put into words.
I'll be the first to admit that I've always been a fan, but I'm not as die hard as a lot of people I know (until now). We went around the room and answered the question, "Would you take $10,000 or the Eagles winning tonight?". I was the one who picked money (student loans and a new house y'all). After that night though, I'd change my answer.
As the clock ticked down to 6:00PM on Sunday night, I realized how emotionally invested in the game I really was. I started to get the jitters as if I myself was about to suit up and run onto the field. By the time the clock was at two minutes left, I had the chills and was standing with everyone else. When we won, it took us all a moment to realize what had happened. We were silent a moment, and then Dan's Dad screamed out, "THAT'S THE GAME!". And that was the moment that we all lost our minds. I even cried.
Again, I've always enjoyed sports, but I never wanted to allow myself to become too emotionally invested in them because I've just frankly always thought there were more important things. But then, in that moment, it all hit me. It hit me that sports are a part of my memories and that when I hear a game on in the background I feel instantly comfortable and at home. It hit me that we've made a tradition out of Sundays and Mondays. Are cheesesteaks and wings even that good? Yes, but even if they weren't, we'd love them anyway because they'd be pleasant reminders of these days. Youse guys, it hit me that I've been one of them all along.
The anthropologist in me feels sorry for the archaeologists who have to dig up our ancient remains and try to figure out why we all held onto our green hoodies. I guess we'll just have to keep passing on the tradition and passion so that they'll see that Eagles emblem on their excavation, stand up smiling in the dirt, and start chanting.