What a time to be a Philadelphia sports fan.
With multiple teams recently experiencing a wave of success, this season is certainly one for the history books. Not only did the Phillies qualify for the World Series for the first time in 13 years, the Philadelphia Union also made the Major League Soccer Championships, the Philadelphia Flyers are having a strong start to the season, and the Eagles are currently undefeated.
And true to its name, the City of Brotherly Love has come together to demonstrate overwhelming support for their beloved athletes. An abundance of heartwarming videos has circulated social media, depicting Phildelphians experiencing pure joy as they raise their fists after each victory, crowding together with cheers, embraces, and tears of delight.
“At the end of the day, I really feel being a sports fan connects you to the people and city around you and gives you something to believe in,” said Wharton Junior Leigha Jackson. “Growing up outside of Philadelphia, my community would feel the highs and lows of Philly sports together. I remember so vividly how much the energy of the city changed when the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and it made years of support despite loss after loss worth it.”
Even for those who are not up-to-date with the most recent scores, it is difficult to escape the contagious elation seeping throughout the city. Maybe you’ve witnessed a plethora of fans decked out in team merch dancing on the streets in celebration. Maybe you’ve heard the unofficial Phillies’ anthem, “Dancing on My Own,” one too many times. Or maybe you’ve noticed a decrease in city crime that is suspected to correlate with these athletic victories.
Regardless of your individual experience, there is no doubt about the power of sports in terms of uniting citizens and stimulating joy, making this a positive bonding experience we should all participate in.
“I would be lying if I said I understood what every penalty or technicality means, but I don’t think that you need to completely and totally understand a sport to be a fan,” Jackson added. “Getting to support your city and have something to look forward to and believe in is such a powerful feeling, and I really think that sports have the ability to unite people like nothing else.”
Nowadays, it is difficult to find things to celebrate given the significant social and political polarization omnipresent in America. Especially as citizens await Election Day results, there is a palpable degree of political tension. Any election naturally produces division and debate, but Pennsylvania’s status as a swing state serves to heighten this. It is more important than ever to learn about candidates and vote in elections, but we cannot let ourselves succumb to a world of separation. It is therefore beneficial that this contentious time coincides with the surplus of Philadelphia pride, as sports are a neutral ground that warrants nothing but support and celebration.
However, these high spirits should not be exclusive to Philly teams. It is important to extend this sense of camaraderie back to Penn, where an increased level of school pride would bring students together and boost athletes’ morale.
Support for our student-athletes is critical in terms of building a sense of community and recognizing their hard work and dedication. Sports are a huge part of college life, but Penn often lacks in terms of game day attendance and school spirit.
Wharton sophomore Davis Ellis is playing in his second season on the University’s football team and said, “knowing we have support from our classmates, teachers, and the rest of the Penn community is a huge confidence booster. We dedicate a lot of time to our sport and having people there to watch on game day makes the atmosphere that much more exciting to compete in.”
It is important for the Penn community to show our support. Even though Penn football has a strong team culture, their success also hinges upon their audience. Cheering on the football team or any of Penn’s 31 varsity sports benefits both the spectator and the athlete. Whether you compete in another sport or possess zero athletic knowledge, supporting our teams contributes significantly to the Penn community, while simultaneously providing athletes the confidence they need to succeed.
We therefore urge you to grab your friends, parents, or yourself and go support our teams. Men’s basketball takes on Drexel on Tuesday and West Virginia on Friday, and women’s basketball plays Saint Joseph's on Tuesday and Villanova on Thursday. This Saturday, fencing competes at home, while many other sports including football, swim, squash, and women’s cross country travel off-campus. Be sure to tune in live and send virtual support, or even better, take advantage of the in-state locations with a quick road trip! Check out the athletic calendar for a full list of the teams competing every week.
EMILY CHANG is a College junior studying communication from Holmdel, N.J. Her email address is email@example.com.
ANNIE BINGLE is a College first year student from Connecticut. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.