That picture was taken about a year ago when the Philadelphia Eagles started the season 3-0. Those are all my friends that I watch the games with, and that is our bar Big Wangs in Hollywood where I’ve been going since October of 2008.
I felt great that day after the win. In fact, it put me in such a good mood that the rest of the week I was more confident and positive about my life than I had been in years, and I started wondering is there a connection between feeling good about my life when my professional sports teams are winning? Let’s go back to October of 2008.
I had been making a little money bartending at The Wiltern Theater, I had a great girlfriend who I lived with who just booked a national commercial, and the Philadelphia Phillies had won the World Series. I felt like I was on top of the world. Everything seemed to be going right, and within a few months the Eagles made the playoffs, and were winning all the way up to the NFC Championship. Sadly, the Eagles lost that game to the Arizona Cardinals, my girlfriend and I broke up, and I moved out.
In the back of my mind I started to think that perhaps all this winning from my sports teams in my satirical life could be aiding in my good fortune in my real life. It seemed like now that my teams were losing on the field, I was also losing in life.
Continuing with the sports-life parallel, in August of 2009 my ex-girlfriend and I got back together, and a few months later we attended a wedding of one of my best friends back in NJ. During that time we went to a Phillies game which they won by a score of 9-1. By the beginning of the Fall the Phillies won the NLDS, then won the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and were on their way to another World Series championship.
Looking back now, that’s all I really wanted from life back then, which was to win back to back World Series championships. That would have righted a wrong that Philadelphia sports fans feel they have endured for way too long. 28 years is too much time in between world championships, but for the record, I wouldn’t expect anyone from New York City to understand where I am coming from.
In a sick twist of fate, we lost that World Series to the goddamn Yankees. The Flyers started the season with an abysmal 2-7-1 record, and the Eagles were slightly an above .500 team for the first few months of the season. On the personal side of things, my ex and I had decided to call it quits for good, and she moved out in early 2010 right after Donovan McNabb played his last game for the Eagles, an embarrassing 34-14 loss in the NFC Wild Card game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Things were not very good in my life at this point. I was living on my own, not knowing how I was going to pay for anything, and my friends and I had nothing to look forward to except the start of Phillies spring training which hopefully would cast a small ray of sunshine on an otherwise bleak start to 2010.
Then something crazy happened. I got upgraded in a national commercial and was suddenly flushed with new funds which took me on a proverbial ride to a small amount of wealth, a large amount of independence, and days and nights of cheering and bonding with friends as the Philadelphia Flyers were playing in the Stanley Cup Final. I quit my “in the meantime” job, was living off of the residuals from my commercial, and I had a bright future ahead of me. I finally “made it” in Hollywood.
That was probably the happiest I had been in a long time. Sure, the Flyers didn’t win the Stanley Cup in 2010, but by the end of the year and into 2011, I had enough money to do what I wanted, I was getting booked on jobs regularly, I had two more commercials on TV for Miller Lite that would run during the Eagles games while me and my friends were watching at the bar, and the fan base out here in L.A. for Philly sports started to grow exponentially. We would all meet at the bar for the games, or drive down to San Diego to watch the Phillies beat the Padres live as the Flyers were again kicking ass in the playoffs and vying for a championship.
Then came 2012, and it all went to shit.
The Phillies kept losing, the Flyers couldn’t win two in a row to save their lives, and the Eagles finished the season with a putrid record of 4-12. My life wasn’t going so well either. Coincidence? I think not.
My ex and I started to collaborate on a project, but we couldn’t afford both our rents of $1000 a month each, so we decided it would be a good idea if she moved into my one bedroom apartment with me as we scoured the Southland for some well paying work, while trying to write our TV show and collect unemployment.
It was a tough couple of years living together, and barely being able to afford the life that we felt we deserved and the one thing that we had to look forward to, other than a big paycheck for a creative job well done, was the Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers winning, which they didn’t feel like doing for the next three years. It was a dark time in Philly sports.
Fast forward to 2014: She moved out last year, I am in debt a few thousand dollars from living off of credit cards for the last two years, and I had to take my old job back bartending at the Palladium and the Wiltern theater. The other day I started to think fondly of those times four, five years ago when things in my professional life and my proverbial life were so much better than they are today. I started thinking, perhaps there is a connection between when my teams are winning and when my life is winning too. I gotta be honest, I miss it, and I feel like maybe it’s time for it to come back around.
I don’t know if this applies to fans of other sports teams, because I’ve been a Philly fan all my life. I don’t know if “their” lives are turned upside down from the highs and lows of watching their teams win and lose, and lose yet again. Does anyone from New York ever feel the way I do, because that town just seems to win ALL THE FUCKING TIME, and it sickens me. There is NO WAY Yankees fans appreciate those 27 World Series Championships because they don’t know what it’s like to have only won 2 in their team’s history.
I don’t expect a hockey fan from Chicago to be able to connect to what I feel when I watch and pray that MY hockey team from Philadelphia might finally be able to raise a championship banner for the first time in 40 years. I wouldn’t expect ANYONE from Shittsburgh or Green Bay to understand what it’s like to have NEVER won a Super Bowl not to mention what that does to your inner psyche when you are so close, but get robbed by a cheating New England Patriots team in 2004.
Would people in Toronto be as happy today if the Blue Jays hadn’t won an epic game 5 in the ALDS yesterday? I think not.
If I’m having a bad day and I turn on the TV and watch the Flyers shut out the Blackhawks like I did yesterday, it puts me in a better mood and I start to think more positively about my life. Maybe I take chances or I do some nice thing for someone which I wouldn’t have done if the Flyers had lost.
If the Eagles win this Monday night in a crucial divisional game against the New York Giants, maybe I smile a little bit brighter at work the next day, and maybe that makes me more money. Maybe if the Eagles go on an four game winning streak, I talk to that girl that I’ve been crushing on since September and I ask her out and she says yes.
Could it be all because of the outcome of a game? Yes. I truly believe in the title of this blog which is why I decided to write it today, two days after the Flyers have won two in a row, and four days after the Eagles won on Sunday against the Saints. Life really is better when your team is winning.
When it comes down to it, the fact of whether my sports teams win or lose is totally out of my control, but the affect it has on me can go either way. Sure, I can allow it not to have an affect on me, but that just doesn’t seem organic being that I’m an emotional person and sports is an emotional game. We’re at the beginning of the NFL & NHL seasons, and that means there is hope for the future, a chance at winning it all, and with the exception of the Detroit Lions, everybody has a shot at a Super Bowl appearance.
Nothing is too far gone, and no one is saying “season over” quite yet.
I’m always going to be happier in life if my teams win because that means there is the possibility and the chance that I can win too. I don’t know how the season is going to go, just like I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in my life over the next few months, but for the past five or six years I have watched from the sidelines at my home bar in Hollywood as other fans have celebrated a victory, and it sucks.
I have scrolled through Facebook posts by my friends from Boston and Chicago, reading about how proud they are that their teams were so goddamn good that year while they were winning it all. I have been ridiculed by people on the street and put down for wearing my team’s logos when I know they have a losing record.
That’s all about to change.
I believe in my team, and I believe I’ve suffered long enough in my own life because it can’t get much worse than back to back to back losing seasons. Maybe, just maybe this is the year when it all comes back around, or maybe it isn’t. I don’t have a choice. I HAVE to believe in my team as much as I HAVE to believe in myself.
After all, it’s been 7 years since 2008, the last time a Philadelphia team has won a championship. If I was a betting man, I’d say Philly is due for another run at winning it all, just like I’m due for another great run at life.
Photo credit: Dave Rosenblum