Even green traffic lights seem to be in homage to the Eagles Super Bowl win. It is electric.

-Asia Renée

by Asia Renée

I was born and raised in Philadelphia. The nation’s first capital, the cradle of liberty, and the home of the most passionate, underdog fans in the country. The same folks who threw snowballs at Santa Claus, booed Beyonce during the NBA Finals in 2001 and had a jail set up, judge and all, in their football stadium. I recently explained to a friend who lives in a different part of the country, “All Philadelphians are like Philly sports fans, only loose on the streets and without the alcohol.”

We hate the Cowboys. We hate the Patriots. We hate the Lakers, Celtics, Yankees and pretty much any team from a major U.S. city who has had a run of championships that our deprived hearts have wanted. If fan passion was enough to win a championship, we would win them all. Every single year.

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The day after the Super Bowl, I received a handful of phone calls at work from people asking if I think it would be safe to visit that day. They assumed that the city would be in shambles on that Monday morning. That was not the case, but I did see countless green coats, hats, scarves, jerseys over of outerwear, and even a guy wearing an Eagles bathrobe over his work clothes.

This pride and passion seems to be written in the DNA of Philadelphians. Nationally, we are often treated as nothing more than a flyover between New York City and Washington, DC, as if either of those places are better than Philadelphia. Tuh! They’re not. We claim our ignored, attention-deprived middle child syndrome with pride, and I’m sure that is what is really at the heart of the city that bleeds Eagles green.

While some folks will tell you that Philadelphia is a city of immigrants (heavily coded for white immigrants). It is, but not exclusively. Philadelphia is also the home of Germantown settler Quakers, the first denomination to publicly denounce slavery as early as 1688. Philadelphia was also home to the largest free Black population in the U. S. throughout the antebellum period. Black people in Philadelphia were largely able to carve out a living for themselves, and also spoke to the plight of their enslaved skinfolk throughout the new nation.

Black folks have always been here, before various waves of immigrants from countless European countries. Philadelphia is where our ancestors sought freedom after fleeing their captors. It is also one of the largest recipients of Blacks who migrated from the Jim Crow South. My grandparents were among those who made their way to Philadelphia, seeking a new life, jobs, and freedom in the 1950s.

In that way, Philadelphia has always been a working class city. People who work too many hours, for not enough pay, and who look forward to being able to take off their boots, kick back and watch in earnest as their local sports teams fail to bring home the trophy, year after “this is the year, I can feel it!” year.

Though the city has certainly been experiencing its own gentrification, neighborhoods in Northeast and South Philadelphia, which are primarily white, have been uniformly unscathed. The same folks you see flipping cars, climbing telephone poles and punching uniformed State Police horses are from these sections of the city or students at one of the many colleges in the city.

My whole life, I’ve wanted a parade. I’ve wanted to be part of something great. I’ve wanted to be a champion. I’ve wanted to have something to stand aside sports dynasties like the 90s Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bulls, or the 00s Lakers. The Eagles and Sixers have gotten us so close, so many times. I even superstitiously stopped watching important games in hopes to not jinx them into losing.

It seemed that the Curse of Billy Penn was stubborn. This dreadful curse is named for the founder of Philadelphia and whom the state Pennsylvania derives its name. It is said that the Curse of Billy Penn was cast to punish the city by preventing professional sports teams from clenching a national championship between 1987 and 2008, because the city dared to erect a skyscraper taller than the statue of William Penn, who stands atop Philadelphia’s City Hall.

In 2008, the Phillies won the World Series. We got a parade which was a lot of fun, but it didn’t really feel like a win for me. In this city and maybe in yours, the baseball fan base is primarily white, the basketball fan base is primarily Black, and pretty much everyone can agree on the rooting for the football team.

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We have waited for so long to be NFL champions. I’ve literally waited my entire life. This Super Bowl win means so much me, and not just because the Eagles are the Blackest and most socially conscious team in the league and they bested Trump’s favorite cheaters.

My city is alive with joy and excitement. The nation has its eyes on us. And dammit, we made Tom Brady cry. I don’t even need a parade after that, to be honest.

Even green traffic lights seem to be in homage to the Eagles Super Bowl win. It is electric.

Fly, Eagles, Fly.

Asia Renée is a digital activist, mom of two and lactation counselor. Her passions include reproductive justice, dismantling white supremacy and patriarchy while reveling in the sisterhood that is #blackgirlmagic. She writes poetry at Black Woman Gaze and is co-founder of Brown Girls Out Loud, a website dedicated to the celebration and empowerment of Black and Brown women.