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For Philadelphians who don’t like sports, it’s hell week

From now to Saturday, there's an endless array of Philadelphia sports offerings from all five teams.

Philadelphia Phillies fans wave their rally towels during Game 3 of the World Series against the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.
Philadelphia Phillies fans wave their rally towels during Game 3 of the World Series against the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.Read moreHeather Khalifa / Staff Photographer

People in Philadelphia who don’t like sports are suffering on their own.

They don’t know what a “Schwar-bomb” is. They wonder what labor dispute you’re talking about when you mention the Philadelphia Union. They’ve never said “Go Birds” and always walk, slow and measured, up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This week, when all five Philadelphia teams are playing, when two are vying for a championship and one is on a path to perfection, these people are just trying to hunker down and avoid the shrapnel of Cheez Whiz, cheap beer, and pole grease in a citywide jawnnado of sports.

“Wait, what’s the other team playing for a championship?” one said.

We’ll call her “Meghan,” because she asked us to.

“I’d be happy to speak to you, but would ask for anonymity,” Meghan said before talking to The Inquirer. “I have to make my living in this town.”

Meghan, a city resident in her mid-40s, said she’s not an active sports hater and doesn’t want to “take away anyone’s shine.” Sports ambivalent is how she describes it.

“I guess I do hate the Eagles, though,” she said.

Meghan recalled walking her dog, in a red sweater, during the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade four years ago and getting chewed out by a fan for the color choice. She did, however, go to a Phillies game on opening weekend this year, with kids, so maybe there’s hope?

“This was one of the worst days of my life,” she told her husband afterward.

Still, Meghan is happy for you, for us, for the whole city. That doesn’t mean she’s picking up a Phillies hoodie.

“Oh God, no,” she said.

“Sophia,” of Germantown, sent an email to The Inquirer laying it out plain: “I am not a sports fan.” But the content of that email revealed Sophia’s deft understanding of fandom, despite not having “live TV.”

“The energy and excitement in the city is contagious, but I still don’t like sports,” she said.

“The other thing I’ll say, and I’m a little afraid to say so, is that it is absurd how crazed folks are over sports. It is not life or death. Enjoy it but, there are a ton of more important things.”

Amy Holland, of Mount Airy, tries to look at the bright side of not liking sports or going to games. It’s a great time to run errands, she said, or go see a movie.

“It can be extremely amusing when you do say you don’t care about it,” she said. “People cannot wrap their heads around it.”

There is one man in Philadelphia who hates sports, proudly, but only half of what he said is fit for print. If some random stranger said “Go Birds” to him on the street, he’d say ‘‘Go ...” well — you know.

“Full name. Conor Corcoran. Print it,” he said.

Corcoran, 45, is an attorney in the city and his indictments on Philly sports and hardcore fans are damning. When he sees fans at the stadiums, he sees not Harper’s Heroes or family togetherness but social divides and economic disparities. Few city residents, he pointed out, could afford World Series tickets.

The Phillies, Corcoran said, have the “perceived elegance of baseball,” but he believes the team represents a “real demarcation point of the haves and have-nots, with a customer base mostly beyond the Blue Route.” Corcoran likens Lincoln Financial Field, home to the 7-0 Eagles, to the Roman Colosseum, where fans pay exorbitant prices to watch gladiators damage one another’s brains.

“Down to the cheerleaders,” he said. “It’s all a bunch of mouth breathers and knuckle draggers.”

Corcoran, who grew up attending Catholic school in Drexel Hill, said his life changed when he expanded his horizons with books and new music. He said Philly fans should try to find some culture themselves.

“If these people had any self respect, they’d go inside the art museum,” he said.

If you’re sharpening your pitchfork, or firing up a vicious tweet, we’ll end on a positive note with city resident Claire Adler, a transportation planner who grew up in Washington.

“Growing up, when the topic of sports came up, I mostly wanted to hide, because I would just embarrass myself,” she said. “You could get away with that in D.C.”

Adler, 29, moved to Philadelphia in 2015. She fell in love with the city, getting involved with local politics and neighborhood groups.

“It’s really hard to do all that here, without knowing much about the sports teams,” she said.

So far, she’s been to one Sixers game. She watched the Eagles win Super Bowl LII in 2018 on television but found football too difficult to follow.

Then Adler watched Game 5 of the NLCS, and Bryce Harper’s game-winning home run, an epic hit for the ages, changed her.

“It was kind of enjoyable.” she said. “We went out in the street, and it was so much fun, because I love Philadelphia, and anything that brings people joy here makes me so happy.”

She ordered a Phillies shirt to wear for Game 3 of the World Series, but it didn’t come, so she went out and bought one Tuesday afternoon. She planned to go to a bar, with friends, to watch.

“I’m not sure I would ever go to a full game,” she said. “But for all this to be happening here at the same time in the city, it’s hard to not get excited.”