AS I SEE IT 11/3: A special day in Philadelphia
AS I SEE IT
First thing...if you're reading this (as most are) in the United States, make it a priority, no matter what else is happening in your life to vote tomorrow.
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The stakes are too high, with terrorism, economic recession, and a hundred other issues confronting the United States...and the world.
As the 1960s slogan once said, on November 4..."the whole world IS watching".
Now, in Philadelphia this past Friday, the city showed why it's such a unique place for wrestling, sports, and pretty much everything else.
The city of Philadelphia simply shut down Friday, as yours truly and about 2,000,000 of his closest friends lined the streets of Philadelphia, celebrating the Philadelphia Phillies World Series championship, the first major professional sports championship in 25 years in the city.
Over 400,000 people took SEPTA, Philadelphia's mass transit service, into Center City and South Philadelphia, so many that its main north-south subway line and the entire Regional train lines actually shut down, due to inability to handle any more people. A parade that was supposed to last 90 minutes wound lasting into the early evening, given the insanely huge size of the crowds.
Taking the train over to New Jersey, you'd swear the United States just won a war. The streets of sedate little Haddonfield were packed with people wearing Phillies gear going to the trains hours before the event even started. There were at least 150 people in the small station trying to get onto the trains to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and presumably Delaware, too...it was literally an region wide celebration.
Now you might ask why all this at a time where the serious things like tomorrow's national election, a faltering economy, and terrorism overwhelm us. I think it's getting the chance to escape from those very real concerns that makes a day like Friday so special.
I also think it's comes from what makes Philadelphia so unique.
It's a city with a blue-collar working class mentality, whether you sell pretzels or sell stocks, live on the Main Line or in a row house. This city demands balls to the wall effort in everything and giving everything you have. In a way, I think that mindset is why a promotion like the original ECW had the success and notoriety it did for years...because those wrestlers gave fans balls to the wall effort, were one with the fans and celebrated their successes and failures together.
Philadelphians expect disappointment in life and in sports. The list of disappointments in real life during Philadelphia's history...and especially in its sports history is legendary. But as with ECW, the hardest working of the athletes in Philadelphia celebrated their successes and failures together over generations.
So when Brad Lidge threw that final pitch at 9:57 pm on October 29, after the most bizarre World Series game in history which started on October 27, stopped in the sixth inning because of weather...for the first time in 105 years...then resumed two days later in 30 degree wind chill... the city of Philadelphia exploded in joy (as well as the stupidity most of the rest of country saw as well).
The entire city knew that Friday was going to be an unofficial City Holiday, bosses be damned, schools and teachers be damned, real life be damned....if just for one day.
Today...as you read this...real life is already intruding. The election's tomorrow with everyone taking sides as usual. But for one day, people were all together in Philadelphia, and they were all happy.
Would that it could happen a lot more often in our world.
Until next time...
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