I moved back to my hometown of Philly in May with my wife, who grew up in California with only a passing interest in professional sports. I now can follow my favorite sports teams very closely, and I also am fortunate enough to have a wife who wants to become a fan of the local teams. It is fun to watch Ali slowly falling in love with with the Philly sports scene. It is even more fun watching her understanding of sports develop; before moving to Philly, “sports” meant watching a game and seeing who scored more goals, points, or runs. Her definition of “sports” still involves watching the games, but has developed to include the joy of identifying with the players and learning each of their individual stories.
She knows all about the Jimmy Rollins’ yearly predictions; Pat Burrell’s rise, fall, and eventual rise again, before his departure and subsequent signing with the Tampa Bay Rays; that Jamie Moyer ditched school to watch the championship parade in 1980; Carlos Ruiz steady defensive play as a catcher after lying to accepting a challenge from a scout who said he’d only be interested in him if he was a catcher (he was a 2B at the time; he told the scout he would try catcher, despite never playing there in his life), and even that his nickname is “Chooch”; that Brian Dawkins responded to being criticized earlier this season for being too old and slow by taking it out on the Eagles’ opponents throughout the rest of the season and post-season; that the Flyers are a tough team and there is nothing more exciting than Game 7 in the NHL playoffs than overtime in Game 7 in the NHL playoffs — especially when your team wins, like the Flyers did in May; the agony of waiting 25 years to see a championship; and the joy we take in watching our rivals suffer. Especially the Cowboys, Mets, and Giants. Ali has truly become a Philadelphia sports fan. Her development in this area probably received a boost by the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series and the Eagles recent, unexpected run in the 2009 Playoffs. But I digress…
Ali’s education in Philadelphia sports included a whole section on the Curse of Billy Penn. I even updated the lesson to include the actions of workers building the Comcast Building, which is now the tallest building in Philadelphia. For those who don’t know, the workers wanted to break the curse so they placed a tiny statue of William Penn on the top beam in the building, restoring him to the tallest point in the city. The Phillies then win the 2008 World Series, so some argue that it worked.
I would like to propose another reason for the Phillies victory in 2008, and it is one that can be confirmed in a few short weeks. During the Phillies’ run, Ali noticed that Pat Burrell has very oddly shaped eyebrows. Three weeks later, the Phillies won the World Series. Then, during yesterday’s game, she noticed that Donovan McNabb also has oddly shaped eyebrows. Not only are his eyebrows weird, but they are the exact same triangular shape as Pat Burrell’s eyebrows (see picture below)!!! Even more amazing is that Ali noticed this about McNabb on January 11 — exactly three weeks before the Super Bowl! That’s right, I am dubbing this phenomenon “Charm of the Eyebrows!”
Burrell and McNabb also share the fact they were first round picks by Phillies and Eagles in their respective sport’s drafts. If the Eagles win the Super Bowl (I can’t believe I just typed that; 3 months ago I would be chastised for jinxing them by typing that!), you’d better believe that we will spend time in May checking the eyebrows of the Flyers players who were first round picks!!!