It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when we debate whether or not Villanova is a “Philly school,” as if it even really matters (spoiler: it doesn’t). It’s just something people say to discredit the basketball program instead of rightfully applauding Jay Wright and his players for their elite-level achievements over the past few seasons.
Now, I PERSONALLY BELIEVE that Villanova, despite campus not being physically located within the Philadelphia city limits, is a “Philly school” for the following reasons:
- they play a number of home games at the Wells Fargo Center, which is in the Philadelphia city limits
- they also play some non-Penn Big Five games at the Palestra, which is in the Philadelphia city limits
- Jay Wright has always recruited players like Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Maalik Wayns, who come from high schools in the Philadelphia city limits
- thousands of people came to watch their national championship parades, which took place within the Philadelphia city limits
- they garner more media attention from outlets within the Philadelphia city limits (because they’re a bigger and better program)
- the Big Five website describes involved programs as “five prestigious Philadelphia universities”
Those are my arguments.
Please do not give me the geography thing. The geography thing holds up worse than a wet paper bag receiving a Jorge Masvidal left hook.
For instance, St. Joe’s is literally 20 feet from Montgomery County, yet Hawk fans will claim SJU as a “Philly school,” even though it’s closer to Bala Cynwyd, where houses go for upwards of half a million dollars, than any typical Philadelphia neighborhood. Plus, most of the people on both sides of the argument are white kids who grew up in the suburbs anyway.
But if we have to do the geography argument, consider this:
You know how Mike Trout is such a Philly dude? How he lives and breathes Philly sports despite committing his future to the Angels? He’s from Millville, which is 44.7 miles and 48 minutes from City Hall.
Here, see for yourself, after the jump:
Mike Trout is so Philly, having grown up almost an hour away. It’s okay for him to be a Philly guy, even though he was raised well outside of the Philadelphia city limits.
And here’s where Villanova is located, 13.5 miles up Lancaster Avenue:
Trout can be a totally Philly dude while growing up on the Eagles and Phillies in South Jersey, yet Nova, which actually has tangible Philly ties, is not a Philly school.
So here’s the thing:
Obviously if you went to Temple or Penn or St. Joe’s or whatever, you probably don’t care about Nova and you don’t cheer for them. I don’t blame you, because you lived Big Five basketball and your justification for disliking Nova is 100% sound. They are a local rival. I would not cheer for Pitt or Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament and I wouldn’t expect a Temple fan to cheer for Villanova either. Just say you don’t like them because they’re a rival instead of giving me some dog shit about the Philadelphia city limits.
This is more of a bother for me when it comes to neutral fans who say, “well they aren’t from Philly, so why should I care?”
You don’t have to. Nobody is forcing you to like anyone or anything, but as someone who grew up in this region and did not go to a Big Five school, I found it easy to cheer for local kids like Mikal Bridges and Ryan Arcidiacono a few years back. I found it very easy to cheer for Jameer Nelson and the Hawks back in 2004, even though I personally had no ties to St. Joe’s. Likewise, I was pulling for Fran Dunphy and Shizz Alston Jr. last night. These are feel-good stories for our entire region, which is part of the 8th biggest metro area in the United States, spanning parts of four different states and including more than six million people. If you can’t get down with local kids finding success, then what the hell?
Another reason why the geography argument is weak is because:
- The New York Giants and New York Jets do not play in New York.
- The New York Red Bulls do not play in New York.
- The Buffalo Bills don’t play in Buffalo.
- The Washington Redskins don’t play in Washington.
- The Philadelphia Union don’t play in Philadelphia.
- The Dallas Cowboys don’t play in Dallas.
- Smarty Jones wasn’t from Philly, he was from Chester County.
- The Atlanta Braves don’t play in Atlanta.
- The Washington Redskins don’t play in Washington.
- The Detroit Pistons didn’t play in Detroit until 2017, when Little Caesers Arena was built
- The Phoenix Coyotes don’t play in Phoenix (edit: I forgot they changed the name to Arizona Coyotes)
- The San Francisco 49ers don’t play in San Francisco.
- The Chicago Fire don’t play in Chicago.
But none of that is ever used as a reason to marginalize those teams or horses. You think people in Queens aren’t pulling for the Giants because they play in New Jersey? Of course not. Likewise, folks up in Central PA typically pull for Penn State whether or not they attended the school, because they want to see their regional college football team succeed. The Philadelphia Union, who play in Chester, recruit kids into their academy from within the Philadelphia city limits.
Furthermore, we love our pro sports teams while fervently supporting everything else Philadelphia, yet the Sixers have zero players from Philadelphia on their roster. They have players from Cameroon, Australia, Pittsburgh, and Serbia. Villanova, Temple, and the other Big Five programs have kids from Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philly, Delaware, and South Jersey. Isn’t it a bit corny to talk a big game about the Philadelphia city limits when 98% percent of the guys who wear pro jerseys aren’t even from here? Claude Giroux is Canadian and Nick Foles is from Texas. They aren’t from the Philadelphia city limits, but we love them anyway.
That’s the dumb side of parochialism, where we come across as a bit near-sighted. Being provincial is, at times, a very positive and very Philadelphia trait, but too much of that makes us myopic.
These are my Villanova takes. If you disagree with me, then, well, that’s just like your opinion, man, as Jeff Bridges once said:
DISCLAIMER: Villanova alumnus Kyle Scott had nothing to do with this post. He did not assign it. I did this on my own volition.