Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
Philadelphia’s fan base explained by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet?
*Note: This article will refrain from mentioning any of the over-hyped incidents usually discussed by [well meaning] individuals not from Philadelphia.
No hard feelings - I understand. I know that I don't quite understand Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Atlanta, or any other city, like I understand Philadelphia or New York City, so I don't hold fast to any of my uniformed opinions about the folks from those cities.
I'm pretty positive that, even though I'm not familiar with them, they're good people in general. Because generally speaking most people mean well, at least, and aren't outright bad people.
With that being said, I can only speak on behalf of the folks I've lived around, and I've lived in both Philly and the Big Apple; I've rubbed shoulders, and broke bread with various folks in the two East Coast cities.
My hometown being Philadelphia gives me the credentials to represent the city in an attempt to show you what's in the making of a city with such a bad fan reputation.
To begin, I'll say, I do believe every city has what Philadelphia has as far as incidents at the ballpark. I'll supplement that with this: we, unlike other stadiums, have no big incidents resulting in fan deaths - go ahead and search that on Yahoo!.
You'll probably find one incident; a bar fight, and it was Philly on Philly crime - nothing new. Not anything to be proud of but—nothing new.
Interestingly enough, however, you will find fan-on-rival-fan crimes in cities across America, including Minneapolis, even!
But, it's not about that. We're not going to point fingers at what incident is worse, and who did what. Any relationship counselor would tell you that's counterproductive. I only mention that to ask: what gives Philadelphia this, less-than-prestigious, crown of the most unruly fan base in America? I have my theory:
Misunderstood passion. Allow me to explain:
I'm going to use the classic William Shakespeare drama, Romeo and Juliet, to demonstrate my point.
Romeo and Juliet is a story of love, deep emotion, deep passion, deep regrets and ultimately, tragedy.
Romeo, a man who went all-in for his love Juliet, ended up overreacting to a situation that appeared to be a situation - but actually wasn't what he thought.
The fact of the matter is: Romeo acted irrationally. Yet, he's recognized mostly for his, dramatic, but romantic, reaction and his name has become synonymous today with the ideal man to date or marry. That's clearly understood passion.
An eighteenth century poet, Alexander Pope, wrote: "The ruling passion, be it what it will. The ruling passion conquers reason still." Passion, in most cases, trumps reason.
I believe, Romeo's reaction, believe it or not, is not too far from the explanation of the misunderstood passion of the notorious Philadelphia fan.
When the Philadelphia Phillies, or Philadelphia Eagles go on losing streaks, and the Philadelphia Flyers can't seem to get their goalie situation under control, and Andre Iguodala(notes) can't stay consistent enough to make us contenders or, at least, be the go to man, we tend to panic, because (and I may get roasted for this in the comments) we care. It's true; we do.
Think about it; when our teams are rolling well, we go beyond what we need to, in support of them.
When it goes wrong, we boo, if antagonized, we might throw - yes. Uncalled for? Sure. But, Mr. Pope and Mr. Shakespeare so poetically point out, it's human nature.
I didn't ask for some of the negative comments that are sure to be hurled at me below, but they're sure to be there. Did I ask for it by producing this content for Yahoo! Sports? Some may argue yes - but I say, I'm just doing my job. It's an argument that can continue forever.
Let's not get on a tangent, though.
What I'm trying to say here, in a nutshell is, our reaction to the local teams and players when in a "death-like coma", similar to one like Juliet was in, causes us to respond to what seems to be a tragedy dramatically - just as Romeo did.
The overreaction always costs us, though. It sometimes causes us to look ridiculous, childish, unruly, immature, and a whole lot of other things other cities unload on us about - when really - it's passion.
The same passion that caused Romeo to fall so hard for Juliet at the ball hosted at the Capulet's house, can be compared to our feelings when we lay eyes on the new season our Birds, Phils or any team with potential that we've got our hopes up on in any given season.
What happens next is, after we make a commitment to the team, as any other fan base would, somewhere around mid-season a conflict arises. The problem could range from Andy Reid, to the Sixers' front office, but they're always problems we're not able to solve, and to make a long story short - it ends in tragedy.
Some will still call the whole Philadelphia process, "a bad fan base". But consider this:
I'd say it's more-so we care too much rather than us being front-runners.
Front-runners are indifferent until their team resurfaces. That is not - I repeat - is not, Philadelphia. No—when we fall off of our teams, we are angry; we grumble the whole way through the tough times. (If you need proof have a listen to the sports radio stations; they do stream online.)
We are not indifferent about any of our main sports teams. We're upset when they're bad, we're elated when they're good, and we have those moments when we let our teams know (sometimes in-game) that we are not pleased.
Philadelphians are passionate, and we love our teams 24/7, 365. We get upset and we react in irrational passion. If that's being a bad fan base, then I don't know what else to tell you.
If you don't understand—on behalf of Philadelphia, please accept this healthy, authentic, "Boooooooo". It's all in good fun folks; consider yourself loved.
More from Associated Content:
*Note: This article was written by an Associated Content Contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.