Going to elementary school on the Main Line, Marky Billson learned what it meant to be critical.
A week into the Super Bowl hype and we don’t hear so much about how Nick Foles will do against the Patriots or how the Eagles defense can stop Tom Brady but rather the behavior of Philadelphia sports fans.
They are hitting horses! Throwing full beer cans at opponents! Fighting among each other in the parking lots!
And averaging seven arrests a game at Eagles games. Veterans Stadium once had a make shift court made up in the bowels of the building to prosecute rowdy fans on the spot.
Sadly there is almost a romantic acceptance of this behavior. When the National Football League held its draft in Philly last spring, they promoted the behavior of the Eagles fan base as “there’s nothing else like it.”
You’d like to have seen them perhaps accompany that with a message of anti-fan violence.
So imagine if you’re a resident of Minneapolis. You thought you would just see a weeks long celebration of the Vikings playing for the right to win their first Super Bowl and end years of coming short all around you. Maybe you even were thinking of splurging and going to the game for a once in a lifetime event.
Instead, these people, who vanquished you just days before, are now entering into your home.
For the record, in my early boyhood, from the ages of 3 to 8, I lived on the Main Line of Philadelphia as my mother earned her PhD from Bryn Mawr College. I attended first and second grade at the long-closed Bryn Mawr Elementary and even attended a preschool not far from the campus of Villanova.
It was an interesting experience when I look back at it because here I was, being raised by a single mother and a college student at that, so clearly we didn’t have the wealth of those living around us.
And although we lived for three years across the street from Haverford College, which is one of the more scenic college campuses in the country, and I spent many an hour playing in the fields and on the swing set on the campus, once you went into the city of Philadelphia all I can remember is graffiti, which to this day I think is about the ugliest thing imaginable.
I clearly recall hearing the word “Yo” to address others used more than any other place in the world as well as a natural tendency to pluralize everything.
“How much does that cost?” one might ask.
“One dollars,” was the standard reply.
It would kill a Philadelphian to use the proper, singular noun. Even in first grade I realized this.
But if there is one thing I can really recall that sort of explains the culture that Philly is famous for, it’s when we had an assembly in the school gymnasium one day. A local outfit of actors were putting on a performance for us.
Forgive me for not remembering the event in greater detail, but I can tell you it was unusual. We didn’t get it.
And so, in the second grade, at the age of 7, we booed them.
We’re not from South Philly here, or Kensington (Rocky Balboa’s neighborhood) or someplace tough.
We’re from the Main Line. Rolls Royces are seen driving on the street.
We boo the assembly.
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