Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In My Tribe

I've been thinking over the past few weeks of the tribes to which I belong. For example, I was born an Owsik. See evidence of this in the above pictures. There is no mistaking the Owsik profile, shown on my brothers and dad in the first picture, and myself in the second. There was a time when I hated my nose, but now, I love it. I love that it marks me as part of my tribe.

Another of my tribes, the lawyers, I tried to escape, but they have pulled me back in, at least somewhat. I've accepted a job at my law school, which feels very different than working at a law firm, but is still is within the tribe. How has this tribe marked me? Well, I read almost everything before I sign it. I am overly cautious and skeptical, some may say paranoid. And yes, very very competitive, which to be fair, was part of me before I joined the tribe.

The tribe I am happiest to belong to this week is the Philadelphia Phillies Fan tribe. The marks of the Phillies tribe? We spell everything with a "ph" instead of "f," making us "phans." We boo as passionately as we cheer, yes, even our own team when they deserve it, and we are pessimistic to the point of despair.

But when we were up 3 games to 1 in the World Series last week, and we were playing Game 5 at home, with our ace pitcher on the mound, even we, who had been disappointed so many times before--we are the team with 10,000 losses--we began to believe. The city was covered in Phillies red that day. The air smelled cleaner, people everywhere smiled at each other, said things like, “We are gonna do it tonight!” The optimism was palpable.

And then the rains came.

They played 5 1/2 innings in the pouring rain, only to have the game suspended once it was tied. And there it was. The familiar sense of doom. Once again our team would collapse, disappoint. We had been foolish to hope for anything else. For two days we held our breath. I didn't discuss the game with any of the other super phans, too scared that we had jinxed it with our uncharacteristic optimism.

And then, in a strange, very short finish, they won. In Game 5, part 2, at home.

I may still be in shock. I watched the champagne spraying, the smiles, the near-riots on Broad Street, all the while not sure what this unfamiliar feeling was—it was the feeling of winning.

On Friday I went to celebrate with my tribe, which included the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at any event in Philly. And sure, some were imposters, just college students looking for a reason to get drunk in daylight, and I did at times fear a death by trampling, but it was worth it. I had to thank the team that, at least for right now, has made Philly feel like winners again. It's been a long time.

Is it too much to ask that my Democratic tribe take back the White House tonight? I think not. Winning is something I could get used to.


Mr. Ackerman said...

It is nice to be a part of a winning tribe. I wonder where the word tribe comes from? What do you think it really means?

Also, what about tribal rituals - booing Santa Claus?

A tribal ritual in the Ackerman klan is going to Walt Disney World. It is like a fantasy escape from reality to a world where everything is nice and perfect - no worries, Mickey will provide.

Our family rituals of going to the Shore and The Great New York State Fair are unique to us.

Thanks for being part of my tribe.

Ted Uncleman said...

I was just reading Mr. Ackermans comment and I noticed that the word verification word is "Vendlebo", cool word.
I googled it and all I can find is a Danish Basketball player named Michael Vendlebo, and according to the his teams site he is, fortsatte også de gode takter fra sidst og satte igen 18 point på kontoen. Great Job Mike, and Great Name. "Vendlebo"

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