On Why We Love Sports: Chris McNamara

I am the mad scientist supreme of sports blogging.  While you may think that to be a bit pretentious — arrogant, even — I simply love to freak out and Hulk Smash conventional wisdom.  Think of me as Doc Brown from Back to the Future, although without the crazy hair and the 1.21 Giga…whatever.  Anyway, there’s nothing selfish about caring that much is there?

Chris McNamara

To me, there’s always more to life, and sports, than meets the eye. I am incredibly passionate about pretty much anything worth talking about.   Philadelphia sports in particular are just one of those creative vehicles through which I release vast amounts of energy.  If you read anything I ever compose or listen to what I have to say (P.S. there’s a lot!), know this: you may love me, or you may hate me, but it will be one hell of a ride.

You will also get a lot of nerdy references and gibberish that you won’t understand unless you were born in the 90’s.  But I am an equal opportunity nerd so don’t be confused or feel frustrated if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

The truth is I’m not here to tell you anything that’s supposed to be life-altering.  If that becomes the case then more power to you, but this is a bit of an experiment of my own.  I want to push boundaries and make things uncomfortable.  I don’t want this to be just any run-of-the-mill sports blog section.  Although my intention is to never be outright belligerent, being a fan can get pretty intense.  People would say that being a fan prevents one from being truly objective.  I would have to disagree with that statement.  It’s like having a little brother that you’re totally allowed to pick on, but if anyone else does it you want nothing more than to rub their faces in concrete.  You have express license to analyze, dissect, and stitch back together whichever sibling is behaving badly.

I’ve been a fan of Philadelphia sports my entire life and in running with my previous statements, see it as a Brotherhood of sorts.  It is not a gang!  When it comes to Brotherly love, bumps and bruises are to be expected.  We are a complicated bunch who act like we’ve always got something to lose.  Most of us become emotionally invested in one, if not all four professional sports teams at an early age. When they lose miserably, we lose miserably.  So my lovely readers will get a taste of disdain in the highest.  I do however, like to believe that this make the victories all the sweeter.

Sports in general are great action, comedy, and drama crammed all onto one giant stage.  There are heroes, villains, and even crazy people who we don’t know what to think about so we just laugh at them (I’m looking at you Andrew Bynum).  That’s the great thing about professional athletes in the city of Philadelphia: sometimes they can be heroes and villains at the same time.  Alas, this is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this matter.  I will analyze the crap out of players, teams, managers, etc.

I’m not superstitious about sports, but I’m pretty damn religious about it.  Shut up, it makes perfect sense!  It’s not your grandfather’s stuffy football religiousness or daddy’s college basketball obsession; this is hardcore stuff people.  I accept all forms of hysteria into my life but I have a particular interest in new school thinking.  Moneyball is my personal bible.  I don’t say that lightly; I’m dead serious.  That book changed my damn life, not just the way I look at baseball.

I try not to read too deep into things but at this point in my life it’s inescapable.  What can I say?  In college I majored in spazzing the f–k out (English, actually, if you were wondering) with a minor in BS.  Along the way I’ll chastise the Eagles constantly for being inadequate, ridicule the Flyers for being all or nothing all of the time, the Phillies for getting carried away with success and not making it last, and the Sixers for just being dumb.  That’s it for now.  I know nothing’s perfect, but you’ll enjoy my intensity, and perhaps one day appreciate the sheer depth of my madness!

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On Why We Love Sports: Justin Salmasi

A year ago, I found myself staring into an infinite abyss. The Indianapolis Colts had announced that they were releasing the face of their franchise, and my childhood hero, Peyton Manning. Speculation spread like wildfire indicating that the perennial Pro Bowler, the Super Bowl MVP, Mr. “Cut That Meat” himself was unlikely to return to the gridiron at his elite level due to recurring neck injuries. To me, this was like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real, Patrick Swayze lost his battle with cancer, another attempt of a modern Superman movie was in production, and so forth. The end of an era was believed to be approaching, and it was a tough pill to swallow.

The Temple Floor Hockey “Beers.”

Then it happened. Denver Broncos General Manager, John Elway, found a way to become more awesome. A former quarterback who experienced a similar battle with proving skeptics wrong, Elway aligned himself with the fellow gunslinger and the rest was history. The following season, a physically and mentally rejuvenated Peyton Manning returned to the field as the Denver Broncos starting QB and showed no rust. In fact, the Tennessee alum had one of the most decorated seasons of his prolific career, taking his team to the playoffs as the #1 seed and finishing 2nd in MVP voting. People said he should hang it up. Call it a career. Instead, Manning proved his doubters wrong and made his return to NFL dominance. He also became an endorser for tapenade. Stud.

It’s stories like this that exemplify the romance that sports can achieve. The glory, heartbreak, and the unknown are what make fans so passionate. Whether it’s the electricity that runs through the sections of a stadium after a walk-off homerun for the home team, or the venom that fans wear on their sleeves when their star player lets them down, sports bring people together. Sports bring revenue to cities. Sports bring excitement to life. My name’s Justin Salmasi, and I love sports.

On Why We Love Sports: Michael Conroy

I’ve spent my entire life between the suburbs and inner city of Philadelphia. That being the case, my earliest experience with professional sports occurred at a Philadelphia (now Adirondack) Phantoms exhibition game with my father. It may not have been the most important event in the sports world, but to me it was the start of something special.

I came to love Hockey, the Phantoms and the Flyers in the following years. That love inevitably grew to include the Phillies, Sixers and, above all, Eagles. Though I rebelled against the social experience of American sports through my teen years, my father’s appreciation for “four for four” Philly fandom never truly left me.

My brother, Ryan (left) and Me (right)

In America, sports are important. They provide a means of expression on the largest scale possible. There’s something about tens of thousands of people passionately engaging in dejection, celebration, shock and/or confusion that is impossible to manufacture. Thus, it is the last experience that has remained untainted by our mass-production society.

No matter how many big screen TVs and electronic advertisement banners you fill the stadium with, the feeling of a stadium full of people united in jubilee after a game-winning touchdown is pure.

I am a passionate person. Sometimes that passion becomes annoying. I’m okay with that. If I have one hope for this blog, it is for the Banner Years to be a means of expressing that passion for me and a means of validating that passion in others.