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Union’s Chance To Capture The Hearts Of Philadelphia

Sheanon Williams

Remember Smarty Jones?

Of course you remember the horse, and you probably remember the horse having a nice run. Do you remember what it was like around here though?

Everyone had Smarty Jones fever. This horse, from Philadelphia, that might win the Triple Crown. It was our horse. I don’t even know what those three races are in the Triple Crown, but I know we were excited. We were all excited for a horse. Watching every race.

A few weeks before, the horse racing was delegated to those few people who made it that far in the sports section. Then it became back page news. I’m not certain, but I’d bet it was front page news.

The Philly bandwagon, for a horse.

This is not because Philly loves horses, or horse racing. I mean, it might be popular here compared to other cities. I don’t know for sure, but it’s not that popular. It’s because we love a winner.

Faryd MonDRAGON by @_mattmac

When it’s bandwagon time, it doesn’t really matter if we’ve followed all along. When it’s bandwagon time, the thing that gets the city in a frenzy is all of the extra people who wouldn’t ordinarily watch. When it’s bandwagon time, you don’t even really have to know what’s going on.

The word “bandwagon” is usually used negatively. That those people aren’t true fans. But truth be told, when it’s bandwagon time is when it really starts to get fun.

Philadelphia Union have an opportunity right now. The playoffs start Sunday. They have a chance to have a bandwagon of their own.

The Union is only a couple of years old, but they’ve become pretty popular, pretty quickly. They sell a lot of tickets and have that buzz thing going on. But if they’re able to make a run, they have the opportunity to capture the imagination of the city, and experience what it’s like to have that bandwagon. To turn the buzz into an explosion.

It’s coming at the perfect time. The Eagles are disappointing at best. The Phillies didn’t give us the run we were hoping for. The Sixers are not playing games, and the Flyers season is in its infancy.

We’re dying to get behind something.

It won’t matter if many people haven’t watched games during the season. If the Union make a run, they’ll watch these. It doesn’t matter if people don’t know the names of the players, their names are on the backs of the jerseys. It doesn’t matter if people don’t really understand soccer. They’ll figure out the important stuff, like goals and the final score. If I did, anyone can.

That bandwagon was gassed up and ready to go in September, but the Phillies and the Eagles forgot to bring the keys.

Find the spare set, Union. And we’ll show you what Philly is all about.

Buy tickets to Philadelphia Union’s match against Houston HERE. 

Check out my friend Gordon’s Union podcast (Union Sound) HERE, and follow him on Twitter @UncleGordon

Check out the only Union blog I’m aware of, Brotherly Game. 

Get the full size picture of the dragon version of Faryd Mondragon HERE.



  • Lisa Grimm

    As a horse racing blogger (albeit one who did not live in Philly at the time), I feel it’s only my job to point out that although he fell short in the Triple Crown, Smarty is living it up as an international playboy – he gets to shuttle to Uruguay to meet eligible mares in the Southern Hemisphere breeding season when he’s finished ‘working’ here in PA. I’m sure many soccer players would enjoy the same life! But as to your main point – c’mon the U!

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