For better or worse I grew up in the little big city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With that heritage comes a robust inferiority complex, filled with passion in the flavors of both love and hate in equal measures. We love everything Philly and we hate everything else. If blame must be passed I point the (middle) finger at New York City for being all fancy just up the road. Blame aside, this condition manifests itself most ferociously in our relationships with the city’s sports teams–and while they have brought me great excitement and joy, more often they have caused long and painful misery. Regardless, it’s in my blood and I thrive on it. As a current resident of Los Angeles I would rather die than root for the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers or Kings. I’m the asshole at their games rooting vocally for the away team. Throw food at me if you must but it’s not going to change; deal with it! Here’s the problem though…my kids were born in Los Angeles. Wishy-washy Cali kids. Frontrunners. S#!t!
I’ve done my very best to convince them from birth that they are Philadelphia sports fans. T-shirts, jerseys, caps, pajamas, underwear, bobbleheads…you name it; I’ve done my part. It’s not sticking. I recently took my 9-year-old son to a Sixers/Clippers game in LA…“Dad, can I get a Chris Paul jersey?” If you saw that ass-whupping of a game you’d have wanted a Chris Paul jersey too. Where’s Dr. J when you really need him? At a Kings game…“Dad, can I get a Kings hat?” “Sure son, you can get a Kings hat if we can ceremoniously burn it together when we get home.” Some quality father/son bonding right? What do I do? It’s like Romeo asking his dad for Capulet gear. I’ve been anticipating this for quite some time but now it is upon me, the formative moment of truth. The reality is he’s not a Philadelphian and I’m losing resolve. Why should he be saddled with this disease just because I am? He shouldn’t. “How about we take it slow and start with a Clippers hat?” There, that wasn’t so bad and he actually looks sharp in that cap. I’m never gonna stop pushing my teams on him but even I can accept that he needs to form his own sports allegiances. As long as it’s not the Lakers. F*@k the Lakers!
—Michael Caplan is Executive Producer at Engine Room in Los Angeles. He’d like to be buried beneath the old Veterans Stadium plot in Philadelphia, wearing a mohair replica of Mike Schmidt’s mustache.