“Great moments… are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game.”
~ Herb Brooks (excerpt from speech to Men’s US Hockey Team)
I am a die-hard Eagles fan and I love the Phillies and the Flyers. I just never really got into basketball. I have watched the 76ers here and there, I even watched the playoff run to the Finals in 2001 but I am not technically a fan.
So it makes sense that my sons hated playing baseball, have little interest in football and instead, discovered a love of basketball. In fact, my son Connor has fully immersed himself into the sport and culture of the game and I love it. Therefor, I have watched and cheered for the Sixers this year. It just so happens to be the best season they’ve had in a very long time, hence my bandwagon status.
In a matter of days, sports analysts from across the nation went from labeling this team a group of talented young men that will be a force next season to a team that will win the conference now. Nothing like a little extra pressure for an inexperienced group of players. Making it through the first Round, they find themselves behind 3-0 in Round 2. After the third loss my husband said it was over, there is no hope. No team in NBA history has come back to win a seven game series after being down 3-0. Even I am guilty of saying that they couldn’t win a Game 7 situation in Boston. Then I looked at Connor and his face nearly broke my heart.
He wasn’t defeated. He hadn’t given up on his team yet. I was so mad at myself and my husband because we had taken whatever hope he had left and deflated it. I just experienced my Cinderella story with my beloved EAGLES only months ago. I felt like I was punched in the stomach when words like ACL tear and 12 month recovery were tossed around Week 12 of an unbelievable season. I was about 80% defeated. I liked Nick Foles but I wasn’t sure he would be able to put the weight of this season on his shoulders. Not only did he pull his weight, everyone on that team believed in him and each other and they took down a dynasty (I’d use that term that describes a farm animal that BAAAs but I can’t). So why can’t the Sixers do the same?
They can. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean it won’t happen or can’t. I’ve never heard a version of a Cinderella story that started with Cinderella wearing Louboutin heels and couture gowns. In the beginning she’s in rags, working hard and given no love. But she never lost her faith and she was rewarded for it.
In sports, we never realize that we’re witnessing a Cinderella story until we’re close to the end. No one would’ve called September 2017 Chapter 1 of the Eagles story because there was nothing extraordinary about it. In hindsight, I would start their story on April 27, 2017 because Philadelphia hosted the NFL Draft on the steps of the Art Museum and I would finish their story on those same steps, February 6, 2018 when the Lombardi Trophy was hoisted by our Super Bowl Champs.
The odds are against the 76ers in this series, we can all see that. But can we all admit that no matter how slight it may appear, there is still hope. We don’t know what Chapter this is but it could turn out to be a great one.
So this bandwagon fan is going all out for this team tonight. We are going to watch every game like it’s going to be the next great chapter in their story. And I will do my best to show my kids that nothing is ever impossible just because no one has ever accomplished it before. Anything is possible, you just have to believe.