Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hometown loyalties and newfound fun.

I was born and raised in the City of Philadelphia.  I grew up in Olney right across the street from Dougherty High, even went there for a year before getting kicked out.  I attended St. Helena's grade school for 8 years.  I lived in Philly for nearly 20 years prior to finally leaving for Parris Island, United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot.  I was an active duty U.S. Marine for 8 years.  I have not lived in Philly since 1996.  My wife, friends and co-workers (99% of whom are native Californians) will all tell you I wear my pride for Philly on my sleeve like a badge of honor.  It is apparent as my still present Philly accent (or so they tell me).

Throughout the years it has been difficult at best to keep track of my favorite teams from back home.  The internet has made it considerably easier nowadays than it was when I first left Philly.  With that being said it's one thing to be able to track the Flyers, Phillies, Eagles, and Sixers online as opposed to being able to watch them in person and celebrate with my fellow Philadelphians the triumphs we have had over the past several years.  Thank God for NHL Center Ice, MLB Extra Innings, and 610 WIP online.  Unless you're an ex-pat like I am you would not understand where I am coming from.

That leads to the following.  I live on the Central Coast of California now.  I continue to wear on a nearly daily basis my Philly sports gear.  Oftentimes I am surprised by fellow ex-pats who will give me a loud "Go Phils!" or "Go Flyers!" when I least expect it.  Not only does it make me feel less homesick but it makes me feel extremely proud of my hometown teams and the pride my brothers and sisters from the Philadelphia area have for their sports teams.  I have run into quite a number of native Philadelphians since having settled in Salinas, California.  Whether from inside the city itself or the suburbs it's always a treat.  I am however, a fan of sports.  I enjoy watching sports on TV, but particularly enjoy watching sports live and in person.  Because of this love of sports I have taken to some of the local sports teams.  This has been a monkey on my back as you can probably imagine.

On one hand I continue (ALWAYS HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL) to support my hometown teams in favor of the local team.  On the other hand due to the relative absence of my hometown sports teams in person I have had to make the decision (sometimes painfully) to root for some of the local professional sports teams.  Let me explain with my following sports loyalties and the reasoning behind them:

*Please note, my #1 team will almost always be the team from Philadelphia*

MLB Baseball:

1: Philadelphia Phillies
2: Oakland A's

I chose to root for the A's for a couple of different reasons.  The main reason is due to the fact they they are formerly the Philadelphia Athletics.  I don't see how you can argue with that.  The second reason I choose to root for them is because they are an American League team.  How well they perform or do not perform during the regular season or the playoffs has no bearing on what will happen to the Fightin' Phils one way or the other unless they happen to meet in the World Series.  With that being said if it were to happen I would be Phillies all the way.

I choose not to root for the S.F. Giants as my west coast team because they are a National League team that have the potential to knock the Phils out of the playoff's, as they did in the 2010 MLB season.  I also hate the fact that so many around here seem to adore Barry Bonds, whom I simply can't stand.  I never have and never will.  I have been to plenty of Giants games and I'll give it to them, their ball park is great and I'd walk a mile for the Gilroy Garlic Fries any day of the week.  I love baseball but in the end it's the Phils over ANYONE else.

NHL Hockey:

1: Philadelphia Flyers
2: San Jose Sharks

I root for the San Jose Sharks for a few different reasons.  One, as with the A's, they're not in Philly's division/conference.  The Sharks are a Western Conference, Pacific Division team.  They'll meet the Bullies once, maybe twice a year.  I root for the Flyers HANDS DOWN over the Sharks whenever they meet.

With that being said I love the NHL.  The San Jose Sharks are only a bit more than an hour away from where I live now.  They're the closest professional sports franchise to me.  As of the time of this writing they're hands down the hottest team in the NHL.  Being a genuine Philadelphian there is nothing I love more than a good hockey fight.  Ryan Clowe delivers that in the absence of Dan Carcillo.  They're also a VERY EXCITING team to watch play.  While they had a less than favorable first half of the season they have done a total 180 from where they were pre-all star game.  Logan Couture is the premier rookie in the NHL and it is hard to root against the top shelf goal tending of Antti Niemi.  Yes, he beat the Flyers last year while playing for the Blackhawks, I feel that pain.  I also get caught up in the excitement of seeing him stop shot after shot against such teams as the Canucks and Red Wings.

Most of my friends and family remain in the great state of PA and unless you're an ex-pat and sports lover like myself you'll never understand how I can possibly become the fan of a team other than one from Philly.  With that being said I'm looking forward to seeing the Flyers vs Sharks in the SCF's and the Phils vs A's in the WS.  Go Flyers and Phils!


  1. This blog is absolutely the best!

  2. You do us proud out there in Cali ;-)
    Keep up the Philly pride!