Unless you’re a little kid, Halloween is usually a typical day. You go through your normal routine and maybe hand out a few Snickers and Butterfingers while enjoying the leftovers. But October 31st, 2008 was no ordinary Halloween.
School was never even a serious question. Everyone had “Phillies Phever.” I woke up early as usual, but for once I was wide awake and ready to enter the fray. More specifically, I was full of excitement at the prospect of being one of a million people crowding the Philadelphia streets to celebrate the city’s first major sports championship in 25 years and the Phillies’ first title since 1980. I was only 14 years old, but the historical magnitude of the occasion was palpable. I knew I might not get another opportunity to commemorate the traditionally terrible Phillies being the best baseball team in the world.
As a middle schooler, watching the Phillies in the playoffs was often a late night, solitary experience. Early in the season, I convinced my parents to lift their typical “school night” bedtime policy if the Phillies made the playoffs. While I watched or listened to just about every game during the season, most of my friends only went to the occasional game at Citizens Bank Park. By the World Series, that trend had shifted. Everybody proudly rocked their Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins gear. Still, I had no malice towards these fair weather fans. The more people who got to enjoy the transcendent energy of that team, the better.
The sheer quantity of Philadelphians who were, like me, having one of the best days of their life was astounding. Dozens of dedicated, adrenaline fueled fans rose above the sea of red on the streets, climbing telephone poles and street lights to try to get a glimpse at players they had once booed mercilessly like Pat Burrell and Brett Myers. The past only mattered as a reminder of how lucky we were. Any hatred or feuds were gone. As Chase Utley perfectly said, we were all “world f**king champions.” That’s all that any of us straining our necks to see above the crowd cared about.