One night not too long ago, I wandered through the foggy streets of South Philadelphia. The Eagles lost another game in what was supposed to be a promising season. The pundits were wrong. The fans were wrong. How could we all be so wrong? Looking for my car, I was angry and lost, most likely walking in circles when someone noticed and began following me. I turned around and could make out a large dark shadow of a man in the distance. I quickened my pace. He quickened his. I ran. He ran faster. I turned corners and slipped through an alleyway and spun around. He’d gone. But now I was really lost. I was already angry and frustrated; I didn’t need this. I moved on to get my bearings and took out my phone to call a cab. Suddenly, a voice whispered deeply, “I can help you.” Startled, I jumped backwards into the chest of the large shadow man. He placed his hand on my shoulder, smiled, and said calmly, “My name is Jerome.” And so it began…
There are ghosts in Philadelphia, many of which are born from the strength of our emotional attachment to someone, or from an incredible event that left an indelible mark on our souls. Some call it religion; some cite the laws of physics and the conservation of energy. Perhaps then, our purpose in life is to transfer our behaviors and actions, our energy, into the brains of our brethren… by creating bridges and connections among neurons, forming memories. Energy begets energy. Sometimes our behaviors and actions are even stored in the environment around us and, over time, become embedded in our DNA. They define us all the same, but the ghosts of our past are real and influential.
It is in this spirit that this blog/site/column/whatever is a product of my desire to fulfill my own need for a unique perspective on Philadelphia sports. My inspiration comes from the mystical nature of the 700 Level, inherent in all Philly sports fans. To me, the 700 Level is reminiscent of the seventh circle of hell from Dante’s Inferno, coincidentally (or appropriately), the circle reserved for the Violent. Much like Dante’s guidance from Virgil, my opinions will be filtered through a lens more native than most, and at times with Jerome’s help, be a reflection of my own personal journey toward understanding what makes being a Philadelphia sports fan so incredible. Putting this “out there” on the internet scares me shitless, but maybe there are others like me who would like to read something different from a different voice. If so, I hope you enjoy.
You can follow Philly’s Inferno on Facebook and Twitter (@JeromesFriend).