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Monday, December 15, 2008

A Special 40 Year Anniversary

That's right. Today December 15, 2008 is a special day. Because its the 40 year anniversary of another special day.

Date: December 15, 1968

Location: Franklin Field, Philadelphia, PA

Time: Halftime of the Philadelphia Eagles - Minnesota Vikings game with the Eagles spiraling towards a 2-12 season.

The stands were full of angst-ridden fans. Drunk, annoyed, frustrated and sitting through a pathetic, rainy, icey, wet halftime show featuring Santa Claus.

As the story goes, the original Santa was unavailable, so they found a replacement in the stands; a drunk Frank Olivo, a skinny Italian man who relished the opportunity to be on the field. Unfortunately, the fans would have none of it, as the Olivo-Santa proved to be an even poorer imitation of a more well-financed attempt. They lustily booed, and pelted him with whatever they could find, from hotdogs to snow balls.

But they we're booing Santa, they were booing the product, the team, the effort and the display. No different than booing a bad call or a bad effort (see Manny Ramirez). And so their fate was sealed. But don't let a Philadelphian fool you. Today's historical date may represent years of resentment in distaste, but Philadephians relish it. They love the fact that others resent them for it.

But the fact of the matter is that the paradigm of booing Santa exists today. The effort and product put forth in 1968 was something that would be booed today by annoyed Philly fans. It was and always will be about trying harder and doing more with less. Ricky Watters was Santa, Derrick Coleman was too, Bobby Clarke wasn't and Chase Utley certainly isn't either...


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