“The beauty of the Philadelphia Eagles fans is a split between their passion and their knowledge.”
I agree wholeheartedly because I know my friends will dissect and pick apart games, drafts, coaching decisions, player Tweets, and anything that falls under the purview of the Philadelphia Eagles. Our discussions are heated and rarely end in every person feeling like their opinion matters. We tell each other off and then laugh about how maniacal we are for our team.
It feels good to have a passion that is shared by hundreds of thousands of people. It is comforting to know that I’m not the only person that feels dread after a loss or will damn near hug strangers wearing Eagles paraphrenalia after a big win. We boast a strong “family” and are all aware that being part of a family does not guarantee you are going to like everyone and certainly reminds us that we will not always like someone’s opinion.
Enter the world of social media and the pride and respect that I have for my fellow Eagles fans is quickly absorbed by an overwhelming feeling of awe and disgust. I am in awe over how quickly a person (or people) will destroy a fellow fan for wanting or not wanting Sam Bradford to return. I am disgusted by the internet commandos that love to slam their sausage sized fingers across keyboards in order to let someone know how “dumb,” “stupid,” or “retarded” someone is for sharing their opinion.
My favorite exchange occurred just a few days ago. When a “fan” spent the equivalent to an hour dumping all over someone for having a pro-Bradford opinion, I jumped in and informed the person being attacked that it wasn’t worth it. Speaking in similes and metaphors, the “attacker” could not keep up with multisyllabic words and resorted to claiming I was a pedophile.
As a father and someone that taught children for years, the claim upset me but I ignored the intention and continued to talk about the Eagles. Unhappy that someone employed the same methods of “fast and furious” responses, the thread became nothing more than a game of insult slinging.
What’s my point?
While many of us are guilty of responding to Tweets and Facebook posts with acerbic retorts, the outright bashing of an individual on social media is the same stuff “Anti-Bullying” presentations are made of, no?
My point is that if Philadelphia fans want to protect the sanctity of our “character,” then if the “Snowballs Thrown at Santa” story is old and tired, wait until the masses decry how ignorant and aggressive Eagles fans are towards each other. Devolution is clearly at work and before I succumb to the numbskullery that floods social media, I need to remind myself of something:
The Philadelphia Eagles are and will always be MY team. Just as I hope any current Eagles fans see things the way I do; my conviction is not diminished by subpar performances. If how the Eagles played dictated my support of the team, I would have thrown the towel in dozens of times.
I love the Eagles because I love football. While I do not live in the city of Philadelphia, I claim it the same way fans from Delaware, New Jersey and every suburb in the area claims the Eagles. I’m no Ray Diddinger, nor am I that guy that can rattle off every draft pick from the last three decades or tell you how many yards Correll Buckhalter had at the end of his career. I can reminisce with the best of them and what I want from social media is to see the best of the Philadelphia Eagles fans that have the back of their fellow Eagles fan.
We all have that one (or sadly more) family member that just does not “fit in” with the rest of the family. Perhaps they have made mistakes or proclaimed something outlandish or absurd that leaves them living under the Black Sheep moniker. In the end, it’s still family, right?
The next time you find yourself reading a tweet or scrolling through an Eagles post on Facebook, please keep in the back of your mind that it’s still your Eagles family.
**Ironically, it should be noted that an absolute fan-favorite for most Eagles fans is Brian Dawkins. If you really believe that the player and the man is a reflection of the Philadelphia Eagles as an organization and the city it represents, ask yourself #WWBDD?