A month or so ago, very soon after my arrival in Philly, I had a few TPC colleagues talking of how cool it would be to go to an Eagles game while here. This seemed, at the time, like a pretty rare opportunity with how big the Eagles are, and now I know – it really is!
We talked of how the Eagles would be playing the Detroit Lions on Sunday, September 22. The Philadelphia Center staff warned us how intense Eagles fans can be and to be wary if we choose to sport our Lions gear. I didn’t think this even applied to me, until my local Philadelphia friend and her Michigan boyfriend reached out with an extra ticket to the game! Without hesitation, I bought it and even showed up early to tailgate with their family and friends.
I was shocked. I had never been to an NFL game, much less a college game other than Hope. Parking lots were overflowing with cars and people. The crowds were massive, and Philadelphians were absolutely high on excitement and their fandom. Green, green, ….. and more green. I arrived to the tailgate safely wearing a white shirt, until I was handed a Lion’s shirt to wear for the game. I admittedly became the enemy.
Sitting down, in an absolute sea of green & loud fans, I wore my Lions jersey with lots of pride and little actual awareness of what was going on in the game. Before I came, I had decided to make the most of every experience, even those I was unfamiliar with! The row of older Eagles fans behind us knew all the smack talking in the book, but, regardless, we became great friends.
The day was 90° and we basically were cooked on the stadium seats. Every moment was worth it as I had one of the most authentic Philadelphia experiences I could have asked for. And to make it even better – the Lions brought home a win! Was I congratulated? Hardly. The local advice I was given: “Make sure you hide that Lions shirt before you catch the subway!”