MINNEAPOLIS — As the green and white confetti swirled here on the Super Bowl 52 champion Philadelphia Eagles after U.S. Bank Stadium was turned into an Eagles home game, I thought of how important the city’s gay sports fans have been to the history of Outsports.
Joe in Philly. Philly Fan. Larry Felzer. Sportinlife. These were just four of names I thought of after the Eagles amazing 41-33 win over the New England Patriots. Joe is celebrating in a Philly sports bar somewhere in heaven, why all others are cheering wherever long-suffering Eagles fans are congregating, from Broad Street and all 50 states and across the world.
Philadelphia sports fans are like no other — they can be really annoying but at the same time their passion is hard not to admire and any anger can quickly dissolve over a drink. And unlike New England fans — spoiled by five Patriots Super Bowl wins, and Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins titles — Philadelphia fans have almost always been on the short end.
Not any more — after winning their first Super Bowl and first NFL title since 1960, the Eagles can finally see a season end with a smile. And their fans will party like it’s 1999, fitting for a team that won a title in Prince’s hometown.
When Outsports first started in late 1999, it was Philadelphia LGBT sports fans who were a catalyst for making the site a community. Joe Guckin, aka Joe In Philly, was our Discussion Board MVP.
He got more and more gay sports fan engaged in the site and many of them — regardless of who they rooted for — became friends. Joe was joined by the likes of Sportinlife, who posted the best photos and found items that we were able to turn into stories. They sustained us in our early years when we were finding our footing. Joe even provided crucial financial support when we had to defend ourselves against a frivolous lawsuit. Joe died of brain cancer a year ago and we will never forget him.
I’ll always remember our 2004 Outsports conference in Philadelphia, where we were guests of the Phillies for a game and we all played pick-up football in the stadium parking lot before the game. I really think the passion and drive of the Philadelphia contingent gave Cyd and myself confidence that the site meant something to a lot of LGBT people in sports.
I thought of all this as I watched a sea of people clad in green cheer and stomp as Tom Brady’s final pass fell incomplete. When “Fly Eagles Fly” started to play with tens of thousands singing at the top of their lungs, it finally sank in for an Eagles fan base of all orientations that their team was really No. 1. “Super Bowl Champion Eagles” was finally not an oxymoron.