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Why I’m a Phillies Fan: A welcoming community

A welcoming fan community turned out to be the difference maker.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the refreshed The Good Phight! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

I spend a lot of time thinking about why I’m a Phillies fan.

This is probably because I’m still relatively new to any sort of sports fandom. If you had told me 10 years ago, for example, that I would be writing for a Phillies fan blog, I would have been extremely confused.

Then again, a lot of things about 2017 wouldn’t make sense to someone in 2007.

My journey to Phillies/Baseball fandom was the feature of the first story I wrote for this website. To briefly summarize: I was a nerdy gay kid that perceived sports to be something that just wasn’t for someone like me. But as soon as I realized that baseball could be fun, the Phillies serendipitously won it all, I decided I wanted in.

The fact that they’ve fallen short every subsequent season didn’t deter me. Year after year, my interest in the sport increased in direct opposition to the Phillies’ quality of play. There have to be other factors playing into why I would subject myself to this torture, besides straight up masochism.

A lot can be said about the fact that I simply enjoy the game itself. Or that my passion for my hometown informs the ferociousness with which I root for my hometown team. None of this would matter in the end though, if not for one huge factor: feeling welcome.

As I mentioned earlier, the reason I didn’t even give sports a try at an earlier age was my recognition of the fact that sports culture is extremely unwelcoming to fans that are not straight men. That was an accurate assessment then and it’s definitely accurate today. For all the progress that has been made, sports is still a very hostile place for women and queer people.

One of the first things I did when I decided to learn more about baseball was I sought out Phillies blogs and bloggers to follow their work. I started reading this very site, in fact. So I was genuinely shocked when I discovered a community of Phillies bloggers and fans on Twitter who were welcoming to my identity. And even though I had just started paying attention to the Phillies in the middle of their golden era, my anxiety and fear of being dismissed as a bandwagon fan never materialized.

It struck me very quickly that this was a community that would not only tolerate but accept someone like me.

If in 2009 my preconceived notion that all baseball fans were homophobic and exclusionary had been confirmed, I don’t doubt for a moment that my fledgling interest in baseball would have died before it had the chance to take off.

But it didn’t, and now here I am: a member of this blog, crediting it for making me a fan in the first place. I cherish my place here, among this community, because regardless of whether the Phillies are winning or (more likely) losing, we are in this together.

I hope that my story and very existence can serve as a welcoming factor to other queer folks taking an interest to baseball.

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