Thursday, February 10, 2005

Curses! Foiled again

Being a Philadelphia sports fan these days sure seems a lot like rooting for the bull at a bullfight, or the Democrat at an election. Oh, we’ve gotten tantalizingly close a few times, but just when we start to think we might actually win the big one, in steps Joe Carter, or Shaq, or Deion Branch -- all of them FedEx men delivering the same cruel package: a second fiddle.

The important thing now is to be careful not to learn any lessons from our losses. I’ve found that one should really just avoid serious introspection altogether. After a devastating loss, it’s best to find something totally out of your control to blame it on, preferably something that can’t be fixed through hard work or determination. This is where you come in, William Penn.

You may have heard already about the Curse of William Penn, and I imagine that as long as our championship drought continues -- no city with all four major professional sports teams has gone longer without a championship than Philadelphia -- the Curse will start getting more serious mainstream attention, like the Curse of the Billy Goat that plagues Cubs fans, or the Curse of the Black Pearl that plagues Johnny Depp.

Come to think of it, Johnny Depp could probably play a mean Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams, who, in turn, was plagued by his own curse: The Curse of the Guy Who Threw the Marshmallow that Joe Carter Knocked into the Left Field Seats in the Bottom of the Ninth Inning in Game Six of the World Series.

Anyway, in case you’re not familiar with why exactly William Penn would want to curse the city that he founded, he’s purportedly mad ‘cause they went and erected buildings that are taller than his statue atop city hall, blocking his view and giving him general skyscraper envy. So I did some digging, and I think I can irrefutably prove that, indeed, something curiously foul is afoot.

Since 1987, when One Liberty Place, the first skyscraper to tower over William Penn’s statue, first opened, William Penn has not had a single base hit. Shots on goal? Zero. And his quarterback rating is off the charts, in the bad way.

Why do we keep putting this guy in? He's a veteran, but he plays like a rookie.

I did some more research to see if I could gain a little insight into what we can do to make William happy. Here’s one of his old aphorisms that we can learn a lot from:

Were it universal, we should be Cur’d of two Extreams, Want and Excess: and the one would supply the other, and so bring both nearer to a Mean; the just Degree of earthly Happiness.”

I know I feel a lot better about the Curse after reading that passage. Cur’d of two Extreams? The man can’t even spell. Billy, nobody’s going to take you or your curses seriously if you don’t at least turn on your spellchecker.

It’s just a shame that curses always seem to be directed at the core of all that is important about a city: its professional sports teams. Why can’t curses ever plague anything insignificant, like educational systems? I know I’d trade a hundred SAT points to have some guys I’ve never met who make fifty times what I do win a trophy I’ll never touch. Sad thing is, I think I’m serious.


  1. I would prefer a curse on the banking system that kept paying a million dollars to my swiss bank account! That way I could foster a second family in the Azores and be know to my good friends as Sven Oglesen

  2. Okay that was not a good name, how about Pirmin Olgelsen?

  3. dudecahedron2/24/2005 4:05 PM

    A house on both your poxes. There wasn't any cursing in the whole column. Aside from what I was doing.

  4. Well Norfolk has no major league sports teams, so our curse hits me where it hurts most; my stomach. I can honestly say this area has the worst supermarkets out of anywhere I have lived. Sports are important, but you gotta eat!

  5. "Being a Philadelphia sports fan these days sure seems a lot like rooting for the bull at a bullfight..."

    hey, welcome to the world of being a Red Sox fan (until recently, of course). :o)