Thursday, August 05, 2004

Boo Birds

Long-suffering Philadelphia sports fans are considered the most insufferable in the land with their legendary booing of Santa Claus at an Eagles game heading the list of their alleged offenses. Not wishing to let the facts stand in the way of a story, commentators at the time failed to point out that the good citizens were booing because the fellow hired to play Santa during halftime failed to show up and desperate club officials enlisted some skinny guy from the crowd who had clearly had one too many. They weren’t booing Santa Claus; they were booing a pitiful excuse for one.

A more recent incident that inspired Philadelphia fan-bashing throughout the Republic occurred when the NBA All-Star game was played in the City of Brotherly Love in February, 2002. During the game itself local product Kobe Bryant was heartily booed by the faithful. Once again the facts were withheld to protect the storyline.

The entire NBA presence in Philadelphia that February was a shameless affair by even the lowest standards: strutting befitting male peacocks; ostentation worthy of Donald Trump; stretch limos six deep at every curb. Millions of dollars were squandered, money that could have been donated to the recreation departments of more than a few municipalities and done far more good.

Parties galore were thrown at this or that venue, some open to the public (for a fee, of course) who wished to star-gaze. The food prepared for these festivities should have been donated to the local charity Philabundance, which would have helped far more people.

At the game itself, virtually no Philadelphians were actually admitted from all accounts. Instead, most of the seats were reserved for the Hollywood stars, players and former players, hangers-on, league officials and their entourages, legends and near-legends, mistresses, chauffeurs, and other flotsam and jetsam usually attracted to such events. So, the boo birds the national press focused on must have really been impostors masquerading as Philadelphians. (Admittedly they did a great impersonation, but that is besides the point.)

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