I was 7 years old the last time I saw one of my hometown teams win a championship, when Dr. J and the Sixers beat the Lakers to win the 1983 NBA Championship.
Since that very faded memory, I’ve watched Wayne Gretzsky and the Oilers thump the Flyers in 1985 to win the Stanley Cup. I watched from the lounge of my freshman dorm as Joe Carter won the 1993 World Series for Toronto. I watched the Red Wings sweep the Flyers on a barstool in Harvey’s Tavern in Edmonds the first week after I moved to Washington. In 2001, I watched with my Microsoft co-workers (the original Reload crew) as the Lakers beat down the miracle Sixers in 5 games in the NBA Finals. And in February 2005, my fiancee sat next to me as the Eagles fell short against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
I know that Seattle hasn’t had a championship over that time either, but there’s a special level of frustration that comes with getting so close so many times and not walking away with the trophy. All of that ended this week, though, and as I was sitting across from my wife at the Northgate Ram watching the Phillies pile onto each other in the middle of Citizen’s Bank Park, I couldn’t believe how easy they made it look. My buddies from back home were telling me that the city was ready to explode, as a Philly sports radio host once described “like a bottle of champagne in a paint shaker.” Well, the cork has finally been popped and it was amazing to finally see that parade down Broad Street in front of the 2 million people who were cramming onto SEPTA trains to make their way down to South Philly, knowing full-well that it could be a long time until that next championship comes around.
I’ve been asked a few times whether I want my future kids to root for Philly teams. No way. There’s something special about rooting for the hometown team and Philly just won’t be their hometown. Despite what happened with the Sonics, in the decade I’ve lived here, I’ve seen Seattle become a great sports city. I’m excited to take my sons or daughters to Mariners and Sounders games and watch the Seahawks every Sunday, just as my Mets and Giants-fan dad took me to Phillies and Eagles games.
But hell, that’s still a few years off. I’ll be at Sluggers this morning by 10am with my McNabb jersey on and a screwdriver in my hand. If any of you guys find me down there, I’ll buy you a drink (even if you’re wearing a Seahawks jersey). Go Eagles!