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On Phillies and Phamily

John Tierney | Friday, November 14, 2008

It’s been over two weeks since the Philadelphia Phillies clinched the decisive game 5 of the 2008 World Series, to win the team’s first championship since 1980.

It’s been an eventful two weeks, during which we elected a new president and saw gas prices fall dramatically. (I saw gas at $1.87 at the Marathon by the Toll Road the other night … crazy.)

But if you can remember back two weeks ago, the World Series was pretty eventful itself. The inclement weather that postponed game 5 in the sixth inning for two days led many pundits to call 2008’s Fall Classic the most disastrous in memory.

The 2008 World Series may have been messy, gross, and somewhat anticlimactic, but led to great joy for the winning side.

The Phillies’ victory was especially joyful for a certain 85-year-old lady of Jeffersonville, Pa., who just got cable this year so she would be able to watch all 162 games. This certain lady would be my grandmom, Mrs. Rita M. Tierney, formerly of Conshohocken.

Grandmom Tierney had talked about upgrading her cable package to get all the Phils’ games pretty much for as long as I can remember. But she never did it.

But this year, she finally decided to make the switch. And boy, was she glad she did.

Grandmom Tierney got so into her Phils this summer. One day, I was talking to her and she said that she was almost embarrassed by her passion for baseball. “I should be too old to care who’s in first place, but darn it, I do,” she said.

Grandmom Tierney has experienced a lot of the less than pleasant sides of being old – she takes more medications in one day than an entire summer camp of middle schoolers takes in a week.

(That’s a legit fact. I worked at a summer camp and saw how many meds we were responsible for in a week, and I also stayed with Grandmom for a weekend. She wins that contest in a runaway.)

But the Phillies helped give Grandmom a chance to experience one of the best parts of being old. “Being old isn’t all bad,” she told me. “I get to annoy people and watch the ballgames.”

On the night of Oct. 29, Grandmom gathered all five of her kids in her apartment in building number three of the “Green at Westover” complex, and they watched the Phils, the losingest team in sports history, become world champions.

I grew up in Phoenix and I’m a Diamondbacks fan. But nothing in baseball could have made me happier this year than to see the Phillies win it all.

The victory isn’t going to change the nation, but it did spread joy in the Tierney family. And really, what more can I ask for?