What Makes A Loyal Fan?BREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
I was reading through a few of my columns from last season and I was tripping a little bit because I talked about how the Eagles would bounce back, and how we shouldn’t worry because they would still make the playoffs. As it turned out, they left me hanging. They left you hanging too didn’t they? How do you feel about that? I mean, as a “true” and loyal fan?
You are a true fan aren’t you?
Or did you give up on them last season when it didn’t look good and it seemed that any team in the NFL had a shot at beating them? How about later in the season when they had to win out and needed help to make the playoffs, were you pulling for them? Or were you standing by with a hammer waiting to bang in the last few nails of the 2011 season’s coffin?
Personally I found myself defending them almost every time because I believe in the Eagles without restraint and consider myself the ultimate optimist when it comes to my “fanship”. But at the end of the day, I’m real and I get it. After all I watched the same game you watched, and saw the same great plays or miscues that you did.
But a real fan doesn’t have to defend his team when they’re not playing well. It is what it is right? But how do you gauge loyalty? You can get mad during a miserable game or lash out a player because of poor play, that’s allowed. Being a loyal fan means you’re dedicated and passionate about your team, but some of you have a really peculiar way of showing it. How do you define loyalty?
There’s a very thin line between the expression of loyalty and the fine art of bandwagon jumping. But Philly is your town, and the Eagles are who you should pull for. Consider this, you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family. You can pick your sport but you can’t pick your team, feel me? You’re born into it… wait a minute, that’s a story for another time.
Let’s explore loyalty, what does that mean to you? Here it is by definition: The act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action; feelings of allegiance, devotion, constancy, and commitment. Loyalty, allegiance, and fidelity all imply a sense of duty or of devoted attachment to something or someone. Loyalty connotes sentiment and the feeling of devotion that one holds for one’s country, creed, family, friends or football team. Allegiance applies particularly to a citizen’s duty to his or her country, or, by extension, one’s obligation to support a party, cause, leader or football team. Fidelity implies unwavering devotion and allegiance to a person, principle or football team. (dictionary.com) But the opposite is disloyal, unfaithful, or… turncoat. Ouch!
There were tons of Donovan McNabb haters in the mid to late 2000’s. When he threw an untimely interception or the ball landed several feet in front of the intended receiver – (which happened enough times – some of you took up a collection to have him shipped out of Philadelphia). But when he made a spectacular play – and he made a bunch of them – he was great. Way to go “5”. But that’s just one example out of many in the last, let’s say 25 years.
Eagles “fans” have booed some of the greatest players in Eagles history, but that’s their right… I guess. Some say it’s just the nature of the Philly sports fan and to a large extent that’s true, but our passion must be redirected to some other place, not against the team we say we love so much. Not once in my 44 years of fanship have I ever booed my team… and I’m proud of that.
Eagle’s fans have been spoiled, relatively speaking, by having a team that has competed for years. But now the expectation is (and will always be) to win a Super Bowl, and until that happens it’s a very reasonable expectation. In fact it’s the only expectation! But you can’t jump ship every time you think you’re about to sink.
I started pulling for the Eagles because of my older brother. He had won a Pass, Punt & Kick contest at Drexel Field back in 1966 and first prize was a green Eagles jacket with white leather arms that I thought was so cool! It was probably the following season that I became a fully fledged Eagles fan, but that jacket would be the best thing about the Eagles for many years to come.
It’s funny, but when I was listening to and watching all those games back in the late sixties and early seventy’s (even got to see the last pre-season game the Eagles played at Franklin Field), I can’t recall ever hearing any boos, but of course I was young, wide-eyed, and innocent. I believe that’s when the loyalty began to develop though. I had experienced only losing teams in my first years as an Eagles fan so when they began to build and get better I really appreciated it. I was at the peak of my fanship when Dick Vermeil came to town and turned my Eagles into a playoff team. I’ve been through ten head coaches, but Vermeil will always be my favorite Eagles coach for that reason.
I didn’t like losing, but now I guess I could tolerate it. I wasn’t satisfied with the Eagles being a “we’ll get ‘em next year” playoff team, but it was pretty cool for once to be among the league’s best, even after losing Super Bowl XV against the Oakland Raiders when it was alright to just be glad we were there. But it wasn’t that way after Super Bowl XXXIX. That loss to the New England Patriots, a game we should have won, is when the expectations for this team started to change. Like an unfulfilled wife expects more from her underachieving husband. You’ve got to knock her off her feet! It’s no longer an option to just make it there. The expectation is to win it all!,
So let’s face it, you and I are married to the Philadelphia Eagles football team and as in marriage there is a kind of sanctity (for lack of a better word) that goes along with it. Therefore you gotta take the good with the bad, but you can’t split, you can’t leave, and you can’t bail on your team. This is for life!
So what’s your story? Are you the real deal or one of those fickle fans, the kind that only shows up when the weather’s fine? What happened to make you turn your back on your team? Better yet, why did you stay when your heart was broken to pieces? I wanna know who’s real and what being a Philadelphia Eagles fan means to you. Describe your relationship – or lack thereof – with the Philadelphia Eagles. Express your fanship!
I’ll see you here shortly with another spin on fans. Who are they and where did they come from? You are blessed!
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