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August 26, 2023

Eytan Shander: Show some love, Philly, because our teams will respond

Trea Turner and the Phillies needed it, Jalen Hurts and the Eagles might need it too, but the key is that both teams are ready to receive it.

Leave the controversy at home.

There’s something magical about watching a professional sports team play together and win games. The team becomes iconic when you add an undervalued element to its chemistry – they actually like each other.

We’ve learned the hard way that guys on these teams do not need to be best friends off the field of play, but it certainly helps. That level of chumminess comes in multiple fashions but mostly in the version of players genuinely wanting to see teammates succeed, even at the expense of their own productivity.

Again, these are professional athletes, so money is always in play, but part of being a true team is wanting the best for your teammate as you would yourself. It’s the opposite of selfish and we are seeing it play out nearly every night with the Phillies.

It’s right around the corner with the Eagles too.

Take out the obvious answers like “talent and coaching” and ask yourself what exactly is the key to winning? It’s an added element to buy into a system and then execute it at a top level, and again, we’ve seen teams that didn’t have the best of friends win. But, but, but… it certainly helps.

Philadelphia fans showed Trea Turner some amazing love and the entire team responded. It will happen if needed this year with the Eagles. Someone like Jalen Hurts – a la Bryce Harper – will jump on the mic and thank the city for doing such a cool thing. The Eagles will respond in kind as they are also a tight-knit group.

This is who we are now and it’s fantastic.

So much of why that stuff with Turner worked and why it will work with the Eagles is because of the team. Fans can show love, ovations, or anything in that realm, but if the team is broken, it only breeds jealousy – or worse, resentment. The Phillies and Eagles don't have any room for that. 

How often do we hear about the home-field advantage in Philadelphia? It can’t just be a myth. You are at these games and see the magic. You see how important just being vocal and present can be in this city, and if you’ve traveled then you know it’s not often this happens.

You may be called upon again to show up and show love, but it won’t work unless the team itself is ready to receive it. Do you think the Sixers are? I’m not so sure. The Eagles? Absolutely. It’s hard to think ahead of this season that someone of a similar ilk as Trea Turner but on the Eagles would need an ovation.

But maybe it’s not an ovation, rather something else manifested through fandom. Who knows who will need it as it was hard to pinpoint Turner before the Phillies' season started. Either way, they are going to need the love. That love. It’s just awesome to see such a collective movement focused on one impact player who the city understands is important.

Keep the same energy and continue to be part of something special. Who knows where this Phillies run will end and we know how difficult it is to repeat Super Bowl appearances. Also, don’t just sit back and enjoy the ride – be active. It works.

The Phillies and Eagles are two teams built so much on a culture that’s facilitated by their stars. Sometimes a star isn’t as bright, and it causes issues inside the locker room. Other times that same star is elevated by his teammates despite the boos and vocal frustrations heard by the fans.

Every now and again that star is supported and rejuvenated by teammates and fans alike, and it yields results. That’s Philadelphia, now. Get used to it.

Let’s not hope for any Eagles player to struggle like we saw with Turner, but at least we know how to handle it moving forward if it does happen.

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

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