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Meet America’s Craziest Sports Fans

WWhen it comes to sports fans – and fanbases – there’s a fine line separating crazed passion from crass and crass jerks, and Philadelphia Eagles die-hards are renowned for crossing that border on a regular basis. Embodied in the now infamous 1968 home game against the Minnesota Vikings in which rowdy participants booed – and thrown snowballs – at halftime with Santa, the Legion of City Eagles loyalists has a reputation as loyal devotees with big mouths and belligerent attitudes, such as in 2011 GQ poll they ranked among the nation’s worst sports fans.

Don’t say that to Maybe next year, although. A feature film about the 2017-18 Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles season, as experienced by a collection of their most ardent supporters, Kyle Thrash’s documentary is less about QBs Carson Wentz and Nick Foles than about people who stand by. parent of green and white team clothes, call for radio shows for your voice and compassion, and connect to the internet to let the layman steam escape the ups and downs of the team. It’s a love letter to a fanatic fanatic, far more interested in celebration than examining or criticizing his chosen subjects’ attachment to their native NFL franchise.

Maybe next year follows four Eagles loyalists throughout the team’s unlikely campaign, which culminated with replacement Foles taking over from MVP contender Wentz and leading the Eagles to victory over Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. Among these individuals, the most fascinating is Bryant Moreland, a heavy black man whose fame is a YouTube channel (EATDATPUSSY445) full of videos in which he is unleashed and raved like mad about his beloved Eagles. Bryant’s anger and frustration isn’t just evident; they reverberate with frightening seismic force as he throws objects, kicks furniture, and smashes action figures of underperforming players. He’s a man possessed by a rage that seems wholly out of proportion to the circumstances, and his awareness of his uncontrollable fury – which concerns his own issues more than the team itself – makes him a fascinating case study in a fandom. overzealous sportsman.

“I feel like the Eagles are the scapegoat for my failures,” he said at a blunt moment. Unfortunately, Maybe next year shows no real desire to investigate Bryant’s anger and how he uses Eagles fanaticism as an outlet for the shortcomings in his own life. The film is mostly content to stay on the surface, instead making Bryant’s vehemence one of many examples of Philly’s deep connection to his team. According to those interviewed by director Thrash, that connection was forged by a blue collar ethic that values ​​hard work, overcoming obstacles and never giving up, which may be true, although that doesn’t change the fact that such an analysis is based on clichés. Regularly hears the NFL pre-game Sunday broadcasts.

Just as fervent as Bryant is Shirley Dash, known citywide as the “Eagles Shirley,” whose calm demeanor gives way to a mind-blowing mania whenever she calls Philly sports radio programs. Maybe next year gives no insight into the source of Shirley’s fandom, nor that of Barry Vagnoni, who chose to spend his retirement savings not on a Florida getaway, but rather on his own sports bar dubbed “The Locker Room.” Decorated with more Eagles paraphernalia than you can possibly buy from the team’s official online store, Vagnoni’s elaborate Man Cave is an eye-opening wonder to behold. His penchant for having crowds of friends and fans join him at every game underlines that he views his devotion to the Eagles as both very personal (to the point of causing him heart trouble) and community-based.

Round Maybe next yearJesse Callsen’s quartet, whose allegiance to the Eagles comes from his father (who is dying of cancer) and which he plans to pass on to his young son, autistic. In Jesse’s story, the film captures an idea of ​​how sports fandom is often inherited (by parents or the environment), giving it a heartfelt meaning that – in that it is about ‘a game played by millionaires you don’t know – it if not, probably not. Alas, Thrash has no desire to get under the skin of his subjects. Instead of in-depth snapshots of those individuals, who come from disparate backgrounds but are bound by their shared affinity for the Eagles, what he delivers is a warm and uplifting portrayal of Philadelphians hanging on every game of play, breathing in sighs. relief or smoking. about losses and injuries the morning after every fight, and praying that the team can finally end decades of futility by winning their first Lombardi Trophy.

… He sees his devotion to the Eagles as both very personal (to the point of causing him heart problems) and community-based.

To this end, Maybe next year vividly conveys the city’s atmosphere of brotherly love during the fall and winter months, where bars hang Eagles signs on their windows and banners on their ceilings, deli televisions broadcast broadcasts about the games to come and a mixture of anticipation, excitement and terror hangs over each freezing Sunday morning. Using radio and television commentary as the de facto narrative, the documentary gets the Philadelphia look, sound, and vibe, which goes a long way in helping authentically resonate with its nostalgia for the immediate past.

Anyone who follows the NFL already knows precisely how things turned out, at least for the Eagles themselves, and it’s to Thrash’s credit that he focuses strictly not on the ups and downs of the team, but on the effect of his performances on Shirley, Barry, Jesse and Bryant. It’s a shame, however, that whenever it touches a promising sharp or colorful thread – like a quick scene of two guys walking through the trash-strewn parking lot of Lincoln Financial Field in search of abandoned, unopened beers – the film hardly bother to dwell on it.

It also ultimately concerns the larger question of the fate of the long-suffering fandom following a championship: has fanaticism faded, or is it endlessly revolving, in all its euphoria and its misery? Maybe next year Probably has an idea or two on this topic, but would rather bask in the past glory than grapple with such important concerns.

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