I was high atop the city - literally and, after three vodka-tonics, figuratively - when I spotted a column. The view from the Hyatt at the Bellevue's lofty 19 bar revealed a tough city of brick-and-steel sinew. West and south of Center City, in the sturdy remnants of our factory past, there was little effete or charming.
Hollywood loves feel-good Olympic stories. The recipe for this genre of tasty film entertainment is by now a familiar one: Start with a compelling underdog; mix in plenty of grit, emotion, patriotism and drama; and top it all with an ample layer of corn.
The garage door rose Thursday morning and a new season introduced itself. The morning sky, flimsy and blue the day before, had acquired a grave heftiness overnight. The newspaper rested among the first fallen sycamore leaves scattered across the lawn. Stepping outside, I shivered. And sighed.
And so, with an unusual mix of optimism and pessimism, another Philadelphia Eagles season begins. The media buzz - traditional and social - is in full roar. The civic anticipation in advance of Sunday's opener with the Cleveland Browns is, like the humidity, unavoidable. The franchise's marketing machine is racing like a Porsche engine.
Philadelphia's national reputation in 2016 is closely linked to that of its famously boisterous sports fans. But for most of its existence, as a 1956 Rotarian magazine article described, the city was regarded as "quiet, conservative, staid and straight-laced."
Frank Fitzpatrick has been an editor and writer at the Inquirer since 1980. A onetime beat writer for the Phillies, Eagles, and Penn State football, he's also covered nine Olympics. A 2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist, he now focuses on sports projects and writes a Sunday column.