Thursday, November 6, 2008

Remember This Moment

(The following is printed with permission from the author, Matthew Soffer, and was written in the moments following the Phillies' World Series victory over Tampa Bay.)

"Remember this moment.

Lidge just threw the final pitch of the Major League 2008 Post-season. Hinske swung the final swing, the fatal miss. The Phils are the champs.

Remember this moment, when we're across the street,

When the Eagles take it to the one, and push with all their might—when their might falls inches short,
remember this moment.

When the Flyers fly to the Cup with seeming invincibility, and with heartbreaking instability, gut-wrenching fallibility, fall on their faces—when they leave fans stunned and silent,
remember this moment.

When the Sixers take game one of the Finals, raising the city's hopes higher than anyone expected, and they drop games 2, 3, 4 and fall in 5—when we sit staring at our TVs, stuck drinking the warm backwash of our beers and all we can say is, "of course"—remember that the course has changed
because of this moment.

Remember this moment, when it's hardest to remember this moment.
When it feels like the drought will never end,
remember this moment,
and how it will feel
when it happens again."

My phaithful phriends, Matt's eloquent plea never to forget any part of this glorious triumph dovetails with my own special request.

Every one of us knows all too well the reputation of Philadelphia phans among the rest of the country. Some of it is earned, some of it is not. Some of it comes from the fact that there are people who love to hate us. When unruly fans in other cities emerge in ugly episodes of boos (this week in Chicago), throwing baseballs (Minnesota), snowballs (New York), and even batteries (Cleveland), the media takes some hackneyed "few rotten apples spoiling the bunch" line. But when anything negative happens in Philadelphia, it's "Ah, you know how those Philly fans are. They booed Santa Claus." (Which, by the way, is totally blown out of proportion, only proving the point further.)

I have made this argument before, and likely will again, but the one defensive point I could always make was about our championship drought. I would say, "If you had endured what we've endured, you might be bitter too."

But now, that's gone. The dawning of the new post-championship era gives us an unprecedented opportunity to give our reputation a complete makeover. We no longer need to be the angry, bitter fans the world has come to know. Now we can be content with the knowledge that we are, and will forever be, the 2008 World Series champions. Being content with that knowledge means that we don't have to get in anyone's face about it. We can smile and say "World Series champs" or, better yet, nothing at all, because the facts speak for themselves.

My confession: All this season, before we could concretely imagine making the Series, let alone winning it, I wanted to go up to anyone wearing a Mets hat or shirt and say, "I went to sleep last September when the Mets were up 7 games. Of course they made the playoffs, but how did they do?.....Wait a minute, they didn't...make the playoffs? Really? Come on, really? I just assumed they did. You're kidding, right? Wow, that must have been some collapse!"

But a) I resisted because I didn't want to feed into the reputation, and b) we still hadn't won it all. Now we have. Let's learn from the negative example of Red Sox fans who became the epitome of obnoxia once they got the 89-year-old monkey off their back. Let's make this not only the redemption of Philadelphia, but of our reputation as phans as well.

I leave you once again with a quote from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:

"But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted."
"What happened?"
"He lived happily ever after."

For more of my photos from the victory parade last Friday, click here.
For some short video clips, click here.
I know they're not much, but at least they're my own.

Wouldn't it be nice if Donovan McNabb could play an entire game? I was joking with people that Reid should tell him that the game starts at noon instead of one. Then by the time he gets "warmed up," it'll actually be before kickoff. My friend Jonah texted me during the first quarter: "Cole Hamels should play QB."

Apparently we're not the only ones who can't stand the Saved by Zero commercial. (Thanks, Scott)

From ESPN the Mag, for all of you old-school Nintendo fans:
NHL 2k9 cover boy Rick Nash on his NES Ice Hockey strategy: "It was important to get a good mixture of fat guys to rough people up, but you needed those skinny goal scorers as well."

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