One of the reasons why I love playing for the Philadelphia Wings, is the city of Philadelphia.
I have had the opportunity to play in a couple different cities and Philly is certainly unique. There is a distinct intensity to this city when it comes to sports. Just listen to any local sports talk radio show if you want some evidence. Fans call in and examine every detail of every game.
Most of our fans actually feel like they are contributing members of the teams and refer to the team in the context of "we” ("If Kevin Foulds plays well tonight we have a good chance to win.”).
I could be wrong, but I don't think fans in Jacksonville talk about their sports teams in the same way. Sure, Philly fans are critical of their teams. But when push comes to shove, they will stand up for their teams with crazy loyalty and optimism.
As a player for the Wings, this unique atmosphere is tangible.
Throughout the season, I like to venture downtown to take in the sights and sounds of the city. It has that cool, tough, traditional vibe to it. You can feel the history of the city and it is clear to see why people from here have so much pride for Philadelphia and their teams.
Although lacrosse continues to be a niche sport, this area has a proud lacrosse tradition that continues to grow and have a bigger presence in the national landscape.
High schools like La Salle, Haverford, Conestoga and Malvern are among the top programs in the country. Philly lacrosse continues to produce some of the top college recruits every year, and some of the best players in the world are from the Delaware Valley (even a few of the Wings players).
In a city that expects winning, the highs are high and the lows are low.
As a competitive athlete, you want to be in a place that has high expectations for their team. You want to be in a city where people “get” sports and actually care about the wins and losses. I think people get so emotionally attached to sports because teams represent their city. Team performance, in some way, reflects on the reputation and identity of the city. I am confident that our team embraces that Philly attitude and culture. We have bought into it and want to dig in and play a blue-collar style of lacrosse.
When it comes to meeting expectations, it is always best to place your focus on what you can control: hard work, intensity, and the level at which you compete.
Hope to see you out at our game against Minnesota this Saturday!
Click here to buy tickets to Saturday's Wings-Swarm game.