No One Likes Us, Because We Care
8 April 2019 Opinion
The chant, “No one likes us, we don’t care” echoed bars and homes of Eagles fans all post season in 2018 and even the Philadelphia Art Museum stairs at the parade. And it is true. We don’t care what outside fan bases think, because we know who we are and what we are. That is die hard fans who will keep the faith until the clock strikes zero and spend our spare money on any Birds gear we can get our hands on. So to clarify, we do care. We care so much about this team and city that we wear our hearts on our sleeves and just hope for the best. We just don’t care about your fan base, who frankly spends a little too much time worrying about us. People look for something real and if we’re being honest, nothing is more authentic than the love an Eagles fan has for their Eagles.
This weekend, my friends and I were celebrating my longtime friend Tim’s birthday at one of our favorite local bars, Nick’s Roast Beef in Springfield, Delco. We enjoyed some laughs over food and bud light pounders. Per usual, we ended up discussing the state of all of the Philly sports teams. The Sixers have been losing, the Phillies just suffered their second lost, and the Flyers… oof. My friend Jim turns to me and says, “Bro, I love all of these teams and their success is great and all, but nothing compares to the Eagles season.” Without hesitation, I back his statement and just think on it for a second after. Why do the Eagles triumphs and failures affect our moods so much more than any of the other teams? The only thing I kept going back to is the length of the season. However, I just believe that there’s some magic that just takes a hold of you when you’re watching the Birds play. The players know it, and the fans know it, we are only promised 16 games and a dream.
Whether you’re in the Linc or in a buddy’s basement drinking some much cheaper beer, we are all a part of the energy feeding into the game. The players know and believe that as well. Players who have come and gone, always come back and even if things ended on bad terms with management, they will always tip their cap to the fans of Philadelphia. It is truly incredible how passionate our fan base is. Outsiders call us crazy, unethical, and just down right disrespectful, but that just fuels us. Just like with friendships or relationships, we get a little crazy sometimes because we care. When push comes to shove, we will defend you to the end though.
Each of the 16 regular season games hold so much anticipation but the season opener is up there with Game of Thrones season 8 and Avengers End Game when it comes to that Christmas day anticipation. We wait months to see if our favorite characters are going to do right by us and to see that by the end of the day if we received a Red Ryder BB gun or a sack a coal. Just like our first crush, we fell hard in love with the Eagles. Even when they tease us and then leave us with a broken heart, we’re always ready to welcome them back with open arms. That is for life. This type of passion cannot be learned, it is inherited. Ever since I can remember, I was always sitting at my house or at Uncle Kev’s or Uncle Johnny’s and watching my Dad and his brother’s scream at the screen or at each other. As soon as my dad or my uncles could convince my mom that my brother and I were ready, they took us to as many games as possible. From the Eagles 44-6 domination against Dallas to Nick Foles holding up the Lombardi, my family, friends, and I have made some of the best memories of our lives.
The most beautiful thing about sports in general is that they have the ability to bring the world together. My freshman year of college, my roommate Jason and I would stay up until 3am sometimes excited about a big win or trying to figure out why we lost. Monday’s before track practice, it was a routine that Greg, Matt, Joe, and I would talk about the last game and take our minds off the running we had today. My friend John and I, always facetimed or talked in a group chat with our friend Pete about the Birds, as a way to keep in touch since he was at a different school. Almost everyday, I talk to my friend Ty who’s busy teaching or my cousin Tommy about the Eagles. The Birds will always be something that will always keep all of us connected.
People from all walks of life and backgrounds gather at Linc, bars, and parties as strangers, bond as sister and brothers in green, and leave as family. Wherever you are in the world, you might just run into an Eagles fan. Other teams may say they can say the same but that’s just not true. After the Super Bowl, thousands of videos flooded social media as Eagles fan celebrated from Springfield, PA all the way to Frankfurt, Germany. The moment that the clock hit zero in Super Bowl 52 is something that I do not think I’ll ever be able to compare or equate to anything else for as long as I live. I truly believe that real Eagles fans can agree and that is why we are defensive when other fan bases try to discount our triumph.
One thing that outsiders do not understand is that Super Bowl 52 was not just for us, that was for all of those people who we lost before we made it to the top. As the 2017 season kicked off, ESPN aired a special title, “The Dutch Destroyer.” Carson Wentz made a special bond with one of the most passionate Eagles fan, Lukas Kusters. Lukas was a fan of football, a sport that he dominated in, but nothing was quite like enjoying an Eagles win. Unfortunately, Lukas was diagnosed with a rare stomach cancer. As heartbreaking as this is, Lukas fulfilled a dream as he met Carson Wentz as well as other players.
Before Lukas left, he handed Carson one of his “Dutch Destroyer” bracelets. As they embraced and said their goodbyes, Carson knew he found another source of motivation. Sadly, Lukas passed; however, part of him will always live on, as his bracelet never left Wentz’s wrist as he dominated the league in 2017. Additionally, a fan base that many equate to trash, raised over $100,000 in 48 hours for Lukas’ family and toward cancer research. The Eagles even invited the Kuster’s to Super Bowl 52. That is why I love this game and this team. We are a family. The organization and individual players make an honest effort to do right by so many in the community. To bring the Kuster’s to the game and allow them to witness the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl live, after the toughest year in their lives… leaves me speechless.
So when I hear people criticize Carson, I get angry. You call him injury prone, I call him a leader. Do you know how much he wanted to win that Super Bowl that year after meeting Lukas? Carson cares about every single one of his teammates and even if you criticize him, I bet he’d help you out of you were in a pinch because that’s the type of person he is. While some people hide behind their keyboards and criticize him, he’s out in the rain handing out free meals to the needy. He left it all on the field until he physically could not play anymore. Even in 2018, he was banged up and still continued to compete at a high level. Just like in life, you need to let go of things you cannot control and allow the people around you to pick you up. That is why Carson Wentz is the man to lead this franchise. That is why this team will find it’s way back on top. It’s a family affair between the players and even fans. Even in the darkest hour, they’ll be there for you.
Personally, Super Bowl 52 came at such a trying time in my life. I had just lost my close friend Sean, only a month or so after losing my friend Nick, to a long battle with cancer. Since graduating high school, several of my teammates from football have passed. When you lose friends and family, it hurts. Just like the Eagles that year, who lost a lot of family to injury. We lost close to 10 starters and the entire world wrote the Eagles off as Carson’s season ended. Just like when you lose a loved one, you go forward; you honor them in your actions and words. Nobody showed us this more than Nick Foles and the Eagles. No matter how many times they fell, they always doubled down their belief and fought back. That level of ambition and trust is inspiring. The Eagles truly honored everyone the right way.
I felt so blessed to have been able to embrace my dad after the clock hit zero. I knew that he–as well as the rest of his siblings–wished they could embrace their late father who had so passionately taught them the ways. However, being able to share that moment with your own kids is special on its own. My brother Tim and I look forward to one day passing down this tradition, when the time comes. I just remember going outside and looking up at the sky and imagining seeing all of my lost family and friends and saying, “we did it.” It hurt knowing that they were not there to witness such an incredible moment, but at the same time, I knew they were there then and will be for more celebrations to come.
As we approach April 25th, I’ve realize that I honestly care more about the NFL Draft than for Christmas itself. Instead of wishing for new clothes, shoes, or a phone, I wish for a new lineman to protect Carson, a linebacker to throw Ezekiel Elliott into the Gatorade cooler, or a long shot story like Corey Clement in 2017 who fights and claws onto the roster and becomes a fan favorite. The 2019 Eagles are primed for another Super Bowl run.
Opponent’s fans, when you come to our stadium, expect to have some lunatic screaming “Go Birds” in your face, while having their 5-year-old kid flapping his arms right by their side. You see, I am not sure how it works where you are from, but this is everything to us. When the Sixers win, we “Trust the Process.” When the Phillies win, we “Ring that damn Bell.” When the Flyer’s win, we light another candle in our shrine for Carter Hart. You get the point. We are 100% passion, 50% crazy, and 99% intoxicated, but most importantly, we 100% don’t care if you correct this math or feel bad after Carson lights you up this year. So again, we, Eagles Nation do not care who you are or what underwhelming team you cheer for. We are Eagles fans, the best fans in the whole world. As always, Fly Eagles Fly!