Things We’re Not Grateful For at Thanksgiving

Despite anyone reading this having lived the past 18+ months in a pandemic, Thanksgiving still elicits from a lot of well-meaning but woefully naïve people the usual “be thankful for what you have” platitudes. Listen, pal, I’ll decide when gratitude is the best attitude. 

In that spirit, here are the Philadelphia sports-related realities that you have no good reason to be thankful for:

–Ben Simmons. He’s holding out from your Sixers. And, if we’re being honest, it’s clear from the play of Tyrese Maxey that Simmons actually crippled the Sixers (especially in the playoffs) in ways that we didn’t fully understand. We knew he couldn’t/wouldn’t shoot – what we didn’t remember clearly was how much easier and more fun the game is to watch when all of the players are at least trying to score some points. Simmons walked so Maxey could run, and now Simmons should just take a walk.

–The parking situation at the sports complex. Leave it to the City of Philadelphia to have the wisdom to put the three big sports venues (Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, Wells Fargo Center) on a desolate, isolated island of concrete and curbing, then still make it impossible to get into a parking space before a game or out of the lots when the game is over. It is well past time for the parking fees to be collected only via payment on your phone. Even the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s management has figured this out. No one needs to wait behind you while you pay for your parking with cash, or a credit card you’re hoping has enough room on it, or a personal check. Pay with your phone or walk to the game.

–Speaking of the parking lots, how about the guy who gets to the lot five hours before game time, sets up a small nation state with chairs, grills and coolers, and then when you get to the game half hour before it begins and want to park in, you know, the spot you paid for, he gives you attitude and says he was “here first.” That guy sucks, unless he can show that he paid three parking fees. Trust me, he didn’t.

–Relatives of underperforming players chirping on social media that their son/brother/husband/boyfriend/what have you isn’t getting a fair chance. Someone tell Anna Horford that Al is washed. Someone tell Montae Raegor that his son is never open. And obviously this is not just a Philadelphia phenomenon… someone tell Baker Mayfield’s wife not to question the toughness of the rest of the team. Professional sports is the ultimate meritocracy. You play well, you get paid. You play poorly, you are traded or released. Nothing that a biased person says about your talent will change that.

 

–The people in the middle seats of the row who get up more than four times in the course of the game. I’m over here about to blow an ACL contorting to get out of this tight seat because you have the bladder control of a toddler and/or a crippling drinking problem. Sort yourself out, or at least buy an aisle seat next time.

–The Flyers. We all have our own reasons.

–That the only truly great college basketball program in our city is…um…not a city school at all. It was never going to happen for LaSalle or Penn (or Drexel), but Temple and even St. Joseph’s had big moments and, had either of those schools won a national championship, the consequent bump could have created a Philadelphia city school that perennially lurked in the Top 20. Instead, the titles and the spoils landed on the Main Line. Villanova is the program that defines Big 5 college basketball, and will for the foreseeable future. At least they play their serious games at the Center. That’s in the city.

–The impact of COVID-19 on this Sixers season. Joel Embiid has missed nine games (and counting) due to a positive test. Matisse Thybulle missed seven games for the same reason. Tobias Harris missed six. Did the NBA care? Not especially. As a result, the Sixers are 10-8 and eighth in the Eastern Conference rather than the, say, 12-6 they could well have been. And yeah, you can say, “injuries happen,” but injuries aren’t transmissible. It makes this whole season feel futile – they’ll win enough games to lose in the second round again.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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