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Armstrong: There's no reason why we shouldn't have a parade for Villanova

People need to stop griping. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a parade for the Villanova Wildcats.

Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright steps off the plane Tuesday as the team arrives from Houston.
Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright steps off the plane Tuesday as the team arrives from Houston.Read more(Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)

WE'RE SO negative.

Philadelphians don't like this. We don't like that. We focus too much on all the bad that young people do these days and not on the positive. And now a whole lot of us are talking trash about a parade to celebrate the Villanova Wildcats' NCAA championship win. A parade! Who doesn't like a parade?

People really need to lighten up.

It's spring (finally) and this gray, grimy city needs something to celebrate. What could be more special than throwing a parade in honor of Villanova University's triumphant win?

But noooo.

Certain folks are all pissy because they think Lancaster Avenue would be a more appropriate location to hold a parade. I'm not saying that the armchair critics don't have a point. Market Street from 20th Street to Dilworth Plaza where the parade will take place beginning at 1 p.m. Friday gets really congested. Traffic's gonna be a nightmare. But who cares? It may be years before a local team gets a win like this again.

Also, naysayers point out, it's not as if Villanova University is a true Philly school. Again, they have a point. It's not. If we were talking about the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, or Drexel University, more of us would be on board for a shutdown that's going to snarl traffic for both sports fans and non-sports fans alike.

People need to quit already. If Temple is your offspring, then Villanova is your first cousin. Besides, it's not as if this parade is going to be all that expensive - city officials estimate that it'll cost $22,000.

"Villanova University has agreed to pay the majority of those costs, mainly related to police and EMS staffing, and post-parade cleanup, estimated at $15,600," pointed out Lauren Hitt, a city spokeswoman. "There are ancillary costs for protective barriers along the parade route and the sound system on Dilworth Park that will be borne by the city. Those costs are estimated at about $6,500."

Do you see what I mean? That's peanuts.

Also consider that the city estimates 50,000 to 75,000 visitors will come in to Philadelphia for the parade, and hopefully book hotel rooms and eat in the restaurants. Hopefully, we won't have a repeat of what happened during the papal visit, and this event really will be worth something.

Stop for a second and remember how good it felt back in 2014 when the city embraced the Taney Dragons for their successful run in the Little League World Series. Even though our hometown team didn't win the championship, as a city we got excited that the Dragons went as far as they did and that Mo'Ne Davis made history by becoming the first American girl to play in the Little League World Series since 2004. Yeah, we debated about whether it was appropriate to host a parade for the team even though it didn't technically win.

But in the end, cooler heads prevailed and the Taney Dragons had their day. It was a glorious spectacle. The excitement was palpable. I'll never forget watching people stream out of their offices to line city streets and applaud local kids for doing the right thing. The enthusiasm was infectious. I kept my white-and-blue Taney Dragon sign that I'd held up as the team went by.

That's why I wholeheartedly support Friday's parade honoring the Wildcats.

"There's no intrinsic reason there needs to be a Mummers Parade or a Thanksgiving parade, except that it makes people happy and feel a little bit more tied to Philadelphia," pointed out John Affleck, Knight Chair in sports journalism and society at Pennsylvania State University.

"On that basis, why not have a Villanova day? The broadcast averaged 17.8 million viewers and was a tremendous win for the Wildcats. Let 'em have their day."

And everyone else please shut up.

215-854-2223 JeniceArmstrong