Author: Steven Zeldin

My grandfather hated the Buffalo Bills.
In 2019, when Harrison Phillips tore his ACL for the second time, I remember him partying.
Friends drove in from across Philly—all toting bags of beer and food, all in full Eagles regalia.
That was the first time I ever had an alcoholic drink, and by far my best memory with the guy.
It was also the last time I saw him.

Even over the long years after my grandfather’s passing, we remained an Eagles bunch.
I was Jalen Phillips for my final Halloweens and enjoyed every second.
Sundays were fun days, and family days—
the community and belonging that some got from church, we got from watching the pigskin.

I remember the winter of 2023.
It was the year after I got my license and the month I got my first car.
I had taken it out of Philly with my soon-to-be-ex, making the over six-hour trek to Buffalo.
“The Nickel City”: a fitting nickname, as the place looked like it was paid for with change.
Know your enemies, I guess.

This was the dragon’s maw, the Ninth Circle of Hell.
We pulled right up to Highmark Stadium.
I may have spray-painted some not-so-nice messages about the Bills.
I may have suggested an uncomfortable place for them to put their footballs.
Perhaps I regret some of those things.
Yet I do not regret all of them. I remember the trip fondly.
Eagles forever. The Bills could burn.

Cheer for the Home team. Boo the away team.
That was half the fun of it.
Sure, hostility was bad, and no one likes a sore loser.
But what is New York pizza except “the real pizza—none of that Chicago, deep-dish nonsense”?
Living somewhere gave you an identity. Part of that identity was poking fun at others.
“West Coast, best coast, East Coast, least coast” (both untrue).
“West Coast, worst coast, East Coast, beast coast” (the actual nature of the matter).

I was a Philly kid. I still am, at heart.
But that’s meaning less and less.

I work at Checkyll’s Philly Law firm, a thirty-minute drive from my house with moderate traffic.
My youngest is a lawyer at Samson’s. It’s in Buffalo.
On a generation-two hyperloop, at thirteen hundred miles per hour, it takes him twenty minutes.
That’s counting the short walk to the station and the walk from the station to his job.
This man has made a 280-mile trip for burgers and returned before his episode of House ended.
The burgers were still warm.

My house is no longer an Eagle’s house.
The grandkids come over attired in blasphemy.
Patriots, Bears, and Vikings jerseys are as plentiful as those of the Eagles—
And why not? The East Coast and Midwest are our backyard.
Not that I don’t want to strangle them sometimes. But I get it.
If I am going to be fully honest—and I may as well—I went to some of those traitor games.
I liked a few, a bit.
My children liked them a lot.

Thankfully, Los Angeles is still two hours away.
I hate the Chargers.
West Coast, worst coast.
We watch the game. We root for the Eagles. And the Bears, and the Patriots, and the Giants.
My grandchildren boo California lightheartedly.
And we celebrate when we win.

Yet the world is getting smaller.
I fear it’s getting smaller still.
When the entire world is in your home,
For whom do you cheer?