(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wearing the Wrong Colors

We took the kids to the beach today in Manasquan, New Jersey, so that they could work on their boogie-boarding. The waves were excellent, the water was cool, and we all had a good time.

It was the type of weather where you needed to wear a hat, and without giving it much thought I grabbed the one hat that was sitting on the dryer near the doorway to our garage.

A Philadelphia Eagles hat.

I got some stares on that beach that I hadn't seen before.

You would have thought I was wearing a hat that said "Iran" or "Al Qaeda."

Okay, so it wasn't that bad, but when it comes to sports rivalries, it was as bad as it probably gets without hearing profane epithets (and my children hearing them). I'm sure that the woman wearing the Phillies' hat fared better if only because the Phillies haven't been able to get in the Mets' grille this season and because historically they have posed little threat to most cities' teams. The Phillies just aren't a threat.

But the Eagles have been another story. Giant fans just can't tolerate anything Eagles, for reasons which I am not so clear about except that the Eagles over the past several years have gotten the better of the Giants overall. What I can't fathom, though, is the enmity. The Eagles aren't an in-your-face type of team, Andy Reid isn't a bad guy, and Donovan McNabb seems to be a nice (if, at times, too nice of a) guy.

So what is it? Is it the tribal aspects of football? Is it that the Giant fans hate the Eagles because they just can't believe that anything in Philadelphia is any good and, for the times that the Eagles have bested the Giants, they are loathsome if only because they have felt that by losing to the Eagles they have succumbed to the nether regions that fall below medicrioty. Put another way, is that they see something bad in themselves when they have viewed the Eagles' recent successes (okay, not last season) and just get vitriolic for no rational reason?

Hard to figure, but perhaps with the kids, who looked very surfer-like in their rashguards, the Giant fans held their fire. The looks, by the way, came from middle-aged men and older, and not from the kids. Perhaps they were too busy eating their French fries, flirting with the opposite sex and paying attention to riding the waves. Or perhaps they just haven't fully formed their enmity yet.

Whatever it was, it was odd. My host, a native New Jerseyan, ran into one of his buddies, with whom he played HS football. The question from that friend about me was, "What, is he crazy, wearing that hat here?"

Apparently, I was.

Next time, I'll wear a different hat.

When in Rome. . .

Nah, forget that.

A Giants had (or Mets, Yankees, Jets, Knicks, Rangers or Devils) hat I just won't wear.

I'll think of something.


Blogger DCThrowback said...

Perhaps the reputations of Eagles fans preceded you...

11:47 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Or perhaps the superiority complex that people who live in the New York orbit tend to have attempted to eclipse me.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say it's Reid's craptacular coaching and the smugness of a QB who has never done anything.

9:35 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

I'd match up Reid against Tom Coughlin any day of the week, match up McNabb's stats and reputation as a football player against most QBs and hold out the Giants' great playoff performance last winter and then suggest it's a bit of envy and, yes, a bit of New Yorkers taking offense at anything remotely good that can come out of Philadelphia. Tell you one thing, the Eagles wouldn't have gotten blown out 30-0 and looked awful in that playoff game, even if you put last year's 6-10 team in the same game.

4:45 PM  

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