Monday, July 28, 2008

A Little Bit O' Soul

As the final seconds of Arena Bowl XXII ticked down yesterday in New Orleans, Jon Bon Jovi got a teaspoon sample of what it's really like to be a Philly sports fan. With just 39 seconds left on the clock and the Soul leading the defending champion San Jose SaberCats 59-42, the majority owner and everyone watching the game thought it was over. Even a Philly team couldn't blow this.

And yet, they almost did.

The SaberCats scored a touchdown but couldn't convert the extra point, making it 59-48. Then they recovered an onside kick, followed immediately by a touchdown pass to the back right corner of the end zone. The two-point conversion was good, and suddenly, inside of 15 seconds, the lead shrank to just a field goal.

In those 15 seconds, Jon Bon Jovi went from planning his victory celebration to livin' on a prayer. A prayer that his Soul wouldn't become the latest chapter in the tome of Philadelphia disappointment. The smile and the color in his face disappeared. His brow was furrowed and his eyes were wider than footballs. He began to pace the sidelines, running his hands nervously through his gelled Eurotrash coif.

And I thought, 'Jon Bon Jovi, welcome to our world.'

Yet somehow, some way, the ensuing onside kick bounced mercifully into the lap of Rod Davis, already laid out on the Superdome turf. A few heaves into the stands by stud quarterback Matt D'Orazio and the Soul became the first professional sports team to win a championship for the city of Philadelphia since 1983.

Sure, it's just Arena Football. And like most of us, I'll take a division title in any of the four major sports over winning the Arena Bowl. But it's nice to win it all in something, even if it's relatively insignificant. It's nice to be able to say that we are the champions of a professional sport. First time in my conscious lifetime. So I'll take it.

But I don't think I'll be attending the victory parade.

1 comment:

kevinb said...

Well, if you're going to count Arena Bowl, then shouldn't you count a few others? For example:
Philadelphia Wings Lacrosse, Champions: 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2001

Philadelphia Kixx Indoor Soccer:
The KiXX won the first MISL championship (2001-2002 season) The KiXX also won the 2006-2007 MISL championship.

Not that I don't appreciate the Arena League, but if you're going to give them credit for the first championship since '83, well, then you're ignoring all the other B-League champions this city has produced ;)

(Ps. No love for 'Nova in '85???)