I am 35 years old and a die-hard Philadelphiasports fan. I was alive when the Phillies, Flyers and Sixers all won world championship. However, I will confess that I did not appreciate Moses, Tugger and Bobby Clarke as much I should have at such a young age. And why should I? My teams were bound to win a bunch more by the time I hit MY sports rooting prime. Right?
I would say the any guy does really doesn't start appreciating his sports teams until his college years. When you meet people from all over the country that are passionate as you and you are no longer surrounded by homers. I remember speading time at a school in the Pittsburgharea during my college career around the time of great years for the Pirates and Penguins. I remember seething over the fact that Pittsburghers would not fill up Three Rivers Stadium for post-season games when I knew the only way to get into the Vet at that time would be a lucky lottery pick. I remember cringing having to hear the names Mario, Jagr, Kevin Stevens and Jimmy "Six" Paek. As a result, I developed and great hatred for Pittsburgh fans and their teams at that time (and still do). But more importantly, my passion for my hometown teams became more pronounced.
I would say that 1993 was my first year as a real sports fan. I watched every single Phillies game that summer. I sweated it out in September as the Expos charged and I marveled as they downed the heavily favored Braves. Every game, every inning, every out, every pitch was joy. Until, of course...Joe Carter. But no worries, I eventually rationalized, we'll get'em next year. Right?
I remember watching the most exciting season in my Sixers experience as the little guy, Allen Iverson was amazing in 2001. Leading the Sixers into the playoffs and beating the Lakers Game 1. I thought...hmmm...this could be it. Nope. But no worries, right? This team is going to make a run every year for a long time. Right?
I certainly remember the Eagles in 2004. It was amazing to finally get to the Super Bowl and I believed that they could actually beat the Patriots in Jacksonville...on the surface. But deep down I knew that we should just be happy be there. Besides...the Eagles are certainly going to be back next year. Right?
I hope that I am around another for at least another 35 years. But I have to tell you...I am starting to come to grips with the fact that my teams might never do it again. Ever! That is no way to go through life, but if I'm nothing else (besides a tortured Philadelphia sorts fan) I'm a realist. There are too many Joe Carters, Rondee Barbers and New Jersey Devils, out there.
And no, The Souls championship does not count. Oh well, we get'em next year