The life of a Philly sports fan can be both mentally and physically exhausting. On the physical side, I’m thinking of my friends who get up at dawn on a Sunday to secure that perfect spot for their Eagles tailgate and then continue the party after a 1pm game to avoid sitting in traffic. The desire to be a part of the action sometimes requires us to be leaving the stadium complex well after midnight. Thankfully the new rules in MLB have accelerated our exits on nights after a Phillies game. We rest up, go to work and then get right back after it. Remember the late nights of last Red October? That was glorious!
Even if I wasn’t doing chemotherapy this summer, the true challenge for the Philly sports fan can be more mental than physical. The year of 2023 is certainly putting our mental toughness to the test. Think of the roller coaster ride we have already endured in these first 8 months.
In February we were basking in the glow of two dominant home playoff wins vs the Giants and 49ers leading us to Super Bowl 47 in Arizona! The Chiefs were going to be a monumental challenge but arguably the greatest Eagles team ever appeared poised to give us our second winter parade. We all know what happened, but few of us can agree on WHY they lost the game. The mental gymnastics that fans go to in order to blame someone for a loss in this city rivals any other in America. Sometimes the answer is simple and we make it complicated. If Jalen Hurts, who was spectacular in the game, doesn’t fumble the Eagles win. We all have created our particular villains and then create the storyline to fit our narrative. Just get me to the 2023 season! I’m tired of litigating a heartbreak like we saw in the desert.
Fast forward to April. At least we had the 76ers and a chance for a great run. The third round hasn’t been visited by the 76ers since 2001…still. Every time that they lure you into believing, you get disappointed in a different way. After we watched James Harden in Games 1 and 4 of the series, nobody could have predicted the absolute collapse of Game 6 and the failure to even compete in Game 7. Sometimes fans think they care more than the players in uniform. Those games are an example that at least keeps that theory alive. The 76ers caused many a sleepless night for fans hoping that they finally get over the hump. We are still waiting.
At least we have the NL Champion Phillies to give us a mental break. Oh no! Rhys Hoskins tears up his knee, his replacement misses two months and the new high-priced shortstop has been a disaster so far. Thankfully they can lean on their front-line starters to carry them. Wait, Wheeler and Nola don’t look anything like themselves. Fans trying to convince themselves you can sneak in again and recreate the magic of 2022 must be tired. We are all waiting to see the team we expected to arrive.
The Flyers aren’t tiring you out mentally, though the idea of them finally addressing this rebuild with gusto has me energized. Isn’t that strange? The worst team maybe gives you the most mental rest.
Enjoy these few days of summer rest. I expect a second-half Phillies run, rolling into an Eagles season we hope ends in Vegas next February! Rest up, both physically AND mentally!