LOS ANGELES - Living in LA is awesome - but times like these, I miss home, badly. The camaraderie and excitement being experienced all over Philadelphia make this time so bittersweet.
Here are a few differences between my hometown and the city I have lived in for the past 8 months since leaving the Daily News.
* Time: The fact that Philadelphia is 3 hours ahead of LA isn't a big difference, until you live here. Whenever you sit down to watch a football game at 1 p.m. on a Sunday, remember that on this side of the world, some of us are just waking up. Meeting up with friends to watch that game at the local watering hole is not an option here, either. Most bars don't even open until noon.
* Weather: Eighty and sunny is pretty much the norm in this city; and having the option to lie on the beach on Easter isn't so bad, either.
* Food: This is an area where LA simply cannot compare to Philadelphia. The bread, the pizza, and the option of having a Tastykake any time you want. Philadelphians don't know how good they've got it! In this town, no matter how desperate I get, I have to remind myself that ordering a cheesesteak from Subway is not a good idea.
* Attytood: Not much of that going on here; people are very laid-back in LA. It is a "no-worries" type of town, and people are hardly ever in a rush to wait, as is usually the case in Philadelphia.
* Variety of sports fans: In LA, there is hardly fan loyalty to one sport, as most residents are transplants. A walk down the Sunset Strip any day of the week can yield a variety of different fans. I once saw a man wearing a USC shirt holding hands with a woman wearing a UCLA hat. In Philadelphia that would be like seeing Tammy Reid at the King of Prussia Mall wearing a Tony Romo jersey. It just wouldn't happen.
* Traffic: Next time you are sitting in postgame traffic on Packer Avenue, thank your lucky stars it is only temporary. In this town, my 7-mile commute takes an easy 45 minutes - and that's on a good day!
* Distance to Vegas: This is where LA has one up on Philadelphia: 3 hours in a car or 45 minutes on a plane and you can be in the ultimate playground for adults.
* Love for the home team: When the Lakers won the NBA championship in June, I waited for neighbors to line the streets, banging pots and pans and whatever else they could get their hands on - but it just didn't happen. What I got were a couple of car horns and an occasional celebratory scream - talk about lame!
A big difference
Los Angeles and Philadelphia might be only 3,000 miles apart, but when it comes to love of the game, there is a world of a difference between the cities. In Philadelphia, you can predict the mood of a coworker on a Monday morning by the way the Eagles played over the weekend; in this town, the death of a celebrity will always shut down more streets than if their team won a championship. Which should come as no surprise; this is Hollywood, after all. *