A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Curse of Billy Penn

I just found out recently that Philadelphia has another curse on its sports teams. In the tradition of Chicago with its billy goat curse and Boston with the Bambino curse, we now have a similar bad omen placed over the city. All these curses share the same premise: no professional sports team in their respective cities will ever win a championship until some sort of civic violation is corrected.

In Philly’s case, the violation is one of building height. There was a gentleman’s agreement in place for many years that no building in the City of Brotherly Love could be built higher than the top of William Penn’s statue on top of City Hall. This restriction was lifted about 25 years ago when the city faced the departure of many businesses that could not find enough office space in Center City. Soon, skyscrapers soared above Billy’s cap in the name of commerce. Each new tall building now places a replica of the statue at the top of their structure - as Comcast did this week - to ward off the curse.

I don’t know who laid this curse on Philadelphia sports, although I suspect it could have been the manufacturer of the statue replicas. Yet I can see where other forces might be at work. After all, the teams themselves shouldn’t be blamed for their troubles. Heavens no, the Phillies problems are not the result of “The Curse of the Bullpen that Sucks.” Or that the Eagles and Sixers can blame “The Hex of the Egotistical Prima Donna Jerks” (namely, Terrell Owens and Allen Iverson) for their losing seasons. Or that the Flyers can’t get to the Stanley Cup Finals due to “The Goalie Who Doesn’t Know His Puck from a Hole in the Ground Whammy”. No, let’s blame all of our championship woes on someone who died hundreds of years ago.

Before we can rise to Billy Penn’s defense, we should briefly recount his life and career. The son of a British admiral, Penn became a member of the Quaker religion. It is similar to other religions in that they advocate peace to the point of conscientiously objecting to state sponsored armed conflict (henceforth known as “war”). This is a very admirable trait for Quakers. The Quakers opposition to slavery is also noteworthy. Traditionally, they dress simply as opposed to indulging in life’s extravagances, and they are known for their quiet meetings. In other words, they’re not known to be a rowdy bunch.

Penn is honored atop City Hall because he founded the colony of Pennsylvania. The colony came to be payment of, ironically, a gambling debt against the King of England. Penn and his fellow Quakers left England, much to the King’s delight, and settled in the New World in 1682. From that time the colony flourished, played a large part in the formation of the United States, and prospered as a leader of the industrial revolution before becoming the home to a bunch of losing sports franchises.

Actually, Penn would probably lay a curse on the concept of sports itself. He might argue that such activity is a frivolous work of the devil. He would hang his head in shame knowing that his colony devoted a large part of the Lord’s day to games. He would reason that this day should be devoted to the contemplation of God and all of his wondrous works.

His argument is tempting me to offer a prayer to God. Seriously, I want to express my gratitude to God for giving us Abner Doubleday and whoever else created the great game of baseball. After all, if these men had never existed, then life would be very dull around here on Sundays.


Post a Comment

<< Home