Student Life Contributor
Until last Sunday, the commercials have always been my favorite part of watching the Super Bowl. Once I heard Meek Mill playing as the deep green uniforms emerged from the tunnel, that could not have been further from the truth. The Eagles were finally in the Super Bowl and all I wanted to do was be home with my family, two hours south of The University. As student fans took to the Hills to celebrate, I imagined all I was missing out on in my favorite city of Philadelphia.
The ghost of Ben Franklin must have heard my prayers, though, because the celebratory parade was slated to take place Thursday and all I had to do was find a way home. With the possibility of a snow day on the horizon for Wednesday, I hopped in my friend’s car and headed home Tuesday night to avoid being stuck at school. I knew this meant I would miss at least five classes, but I just crossed my fingers hoping my professors would be Birds fans, too.
I set my alarm for 5 a.m. Thursday and dressed for the bitterly cold weather. My dad had driven to five train stations the morning before to buy the specials passes we needed to take the SEPTA train. I arrived at the station just in time to make the train filled with Foles jerseys, dog masks and six-packs of Bud Light.
Arriving at 30th St. station, the train car erupted in the Eagles’ fight song. The sounds of our chanting “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!” echoed throughout the platform as we exited. It was a ten-minute walk to the Art Museum steps, the end point for the parade route. The streets were flooded at every corner and by 9 a.m. the city was more crowded than I have ever seen it.
As I walked along the Ben Franklin Parkway, I couldn’t believe what was in front of me. The city had essentially turned into one giant playground. The entire parkway was shut down to serve as the parade route, every Wawa had waiting lines just to enter and all of the trees were filled with fans who wanted to get a better view of the parade.
The buses filled with every Eagles player didn’t make its way to the Art Museum until 1:30 p.m. or so, and at this point I was exhausted, cold and running low on phone battery. This, of course, did not stop me from weaving through crowds to be closer to the buses when they came around. Seeing Wentz, Foles and Pederson holding up the silver Lombardi Trophy made me forget about all of my freezing extremities.
Of course, my favorite part of the parade lied in the details that reminded me just how great the city of Philadelphia really is. The food trucks sold dishes named the “Philly Special,” an allusion to the play used by the Eagles to score their last touchdown. Everyone on the block knew the lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. The police officers high-fived fans walking by. Every statue, no matter how tall and unclimbable it seemed, was accompanied by as many fans that could fit.
Mayor Jim Kenney, who I have met and even performed with in high school, said it best in a statement released after the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.
“I have long felt that our City’s professional and collegiate sports teams bring Philadelphians together, regardless of race, income, neighborhood or gender, and that was never more true than during the Eagles’ brilliant season,” Kenney said.