One of the many positive byproducts of the Eagles' incredible, unforeseen run to the Super Bowl is the undeniable unifying effect it has had on the Delaware Valley. Sports can do this in a way few if any other entities can. It brings groups of people together who otherwise share very little common ground.
Democrat, Republican, black, white, male, female, gay, straight, young, old ... at least for one brief moment, put aside all the divisiveness that has become so commonplace in our society and unite for one goal.
Whether it’s the guy behind you in line at your local Wawa or the woman next to you on the train or the receptionist at the doctor’s office. Perfect strangers you would otherwise never speak or engage with, beginning the conversation the same exact way: "So what do you think?" You know exactly what they mean, no clarification needed. Next thing you know, you and said person are devising game plans for an Eagles win over the Patriots. And it’s a beautiful thing.
You’re not caught up in politics or religion or skin hues. Your Facebook feed is filled with Eagles hype videos instead of your “friends” insulting one another over the State of the Union. BTW, the Chase Utley/Always Sunny in Philadelphia crew’s subtle yet impactful “Fly Eagles Fly” tweet may have upstaged them all.
Beyond the strangers, I’ve always found sports to be a great icebreaker with family or friends. There were times growing up when my dad and I may not have been seeing eye-to-eye on almost everything else but there was always the Eagles or the Phillies or the Sixers or the Flyers. Whatever our differences, we could put them aside during the game. Christmas or birthday party, my uncles and cousins and I are talking sports. Sometimes it’s the only way to get through some of those gatherings. I have a buddy in California who I don’t get see as often as I would like. But I know if something big happens with our pro teams or if Temple blows a game, I’m either receiving or sending him a text about it.
Our local teams winning is great on so many levels. Our local commerce, the cheesesteak place around the block, your corner bar, sporting goods store in the neighborhood. Schools having Eagles spirit days. Yes, there’s a downside — folks covering the game tweeting a screen grab of the temperature in Minnesota. Non-sports, local news folks who wouldn’t know a football from a frying pan discussing Nick Foles' passer rating. But I digress.
Ideally, one would think this kind of connection and civic unity can carry beyond Sunday night. I tend to doubt it, but here’s hoping. Either way, it’s been fun while it’s lasted.
So what do you think?