Ariane de Gennaro
I’m not saying I hate him, but I’m also not not saying that.
You see, my dear friend Ross is from Philadelphia. Like many Philadelphians, he is unbearable to be around when his sports teams are doing well.
And his sports teams are doing well.
Two weekends ago, my beloved Giants faced off against his Eagles in the NFL playoffs. He and I watched the game together at our friend’s apartment. I was amped up. Sure, the Eagles were favored, but the pundits weren’t accounting for that New York grit that can only be forged in a concrete jungle. The stats don’t reflect the size of your heart when big lights inspire you.
The stats could, however, measure a lot of other things, and perhaps I should have respected them a little bit more. For those who do not follow football — i.e. 90 percent of Yale students — the game was a shellacking. Ross gloated, I moped and the Giants got killed. I left the watch party at halftime, and I honestly feel lucky to have missed the continued beatdown. He stayed and basked in his glory. I wanted to hate him, but if my city’s biggest tourist attractions were some silly little bell and cheesesteaks, I’d be celebrating every win, too.
Last weekend, my redemption moment arrived. Our two favorite basketball teams, my Denver Nuggets and his Philadelphia 76ers, were facing off in a rivalry game. For each of the last two years, their star Joel Embiid finished second in MVP voting. That’s pretty cute, I guess. My beloved Nikola Jokic finished first each time.
With Embiid leading the league in scoring, Ross and the rest of the whiny “City of Brotherly Love” have only intensified their “Embiid is the rightful, twice-snubbed MVP” narrative. But I knew that they were sleeping on my Serbian horse-loving, joke-telling, dashing-suit-wearing folk hero.
And on national television on Saturday afternoon, Jokic showed an entire city why they were fools.
For one half.
Jokic cooked ‘em and the Nuggets took a 15-point lead into halftime. So I arrogantly — nay, brashly — nay, asshole-ily — texted Ross to ask if we should watch the second half together.
He said no, because he allegedly had “homework.” I think he might have been torturing kittens, or whatever else Philadelphians do with their free time. Or maybe he was cheering on the Princeton women’s basketball team as they eked out Yale by a score of 79–30. Who knows?
Regardless, thank gosh I wasn’t with him for the second half. It was a nightmare. Embiid showed up. The game slipped away from my beloved Nugs, but I couldn’t look away, like the city of Philadelphia when a man ate a whole rotisserie chicken every day for 40 days even though he doesn’t even like rotisserie chicken but because he had nothing better to do because he was in Philadelphia.
So I write today to tip my proverbial — or maybe it’s not proverbial, you have no idea— cap to Ross, to Joel Embiid and to that entire obnoxious city — ugh, I forget what it’s called, but the one on the outskirts of Camden, New Jersey.
Good for them. They needed a win. But that doesn’t mean I’m not praying on the Eagles’ downfall in the Super Bowl next weekend.
And my dearest Ross… give me a few months. We’ll talk next semester. Maybe.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Andrew Cramer
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