My football allegiances do not make much sense. I am an Arizona Cardinals fan living in Philadelphia. So any chance I get to watch the Cards some place other than my laptop is a fantastic but extremely rare opportunity. Last Sunday I got to see them in person for the second time. But this time I had to face some fears in order to do so.
Last year, my first every Cardinals game was at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey where they played the New York Jets. I had no real issue with fans being rude since it was an inter-conference game, but the fans still did not appeal to me. Most were drunk and made no sense. It seemed like they cared more about yelling and drinking than watching football.
But we all know what gets said about Eagles fans: they’re rude and nasty. They drink and do nothing but curse and trash talk. And they are not welcoming at all if you are a fan of any other team.
On Sunday I learned that this is not necessarily the case.
I arrived in the morning to tailgate with my boyfriend Dan (an Eagles fan) and we met our friend John (also an Eagles fan) in one of the many parking lots in South Philly. I was honestly afraid to come out of Dan’s car in my red Larry Fitz Cardinals jersey and my Cardinals hat. I thought everyone would automatically hate me.
We ended up making friends with the group of Eagles fans tailgating next to us and they were even nice to me and had no problem saying hello and shaking my hand. That helped a lot, but I was still terrified to enter the Linc.
While walking over, I noticed a guy in a Kevin Kolb Cardinals jersey, one in a Pat Tillman jersey, and a little boy in a Cards hat. I wanted to high five them all because I thought they would be the only ones to accept me.
After going through security, the man who was supposed to scan my ticket gave me a hard time but he was only teasing and making fun jokes. He still told me to enjoy the game. Once we got in and to our level, I had a mini panic attack because I was in a sea of midnight green but saw only one other red jersey. To calm down I walked over to a wall to lean on where all of my thoughts ended up changing.
A worker at the Linc saw me and started talking to me. He asked where I was from, about the Cards game the previous week, and about Larry Fitzgerald. He even asked where I was sitting so he could make sure that I was safe and no one caused trouble with me. He wished me good luck as he left. And right after that nice man left, a random fan walked by asking where I was from. I told him Philly and he laughed and wished me good luck.
Upon arriving to our section I was only met by one comment that bothered me. But it did not fit in with my experiences of the day so it is not worth mentioning.
Of course I was the only Cardinals fan in my section, but I was not harassed or cursed at at all. A girl and her boyfriend were sitting next to me and we ended up bonding during the game. Was she drunk? Yes, but she was so nice and told me what an awesome fan I was. We talked about our lives and our hair and ended up hugging at the end of the game.
Even in the womens bathroom while washing or drying my hands I was met with smiles and politeness.
Any workers I walked by smiled at me as well. I did not feel any negative energy from anyone.
There was a guy a section over and rows back who was absolutely hilarious. When the Eagles would get a first down, he would run to where I was sitting and make the first down symbol to me. He teased me throughout the game but it was all in good fun.
The only time I felt unwelcome during the game was when the Eagles had a big lead on the Cardinals and I felt alone and sad because my team was losing and everyone around me was absolutely ecstatic.
So I’d like to thank Eagles fans for helping to change my opinion of their fan base on Sunday. I had so much fun at the game despite my team losing a crucial one. I felt so welcomed and so well liked. I would not have expected this at all, but I am so very thankful that I was treated with so much respect and kindness. You guys rock! But I still hope Fitz destroys you when we meet in AZ next season