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I’ve never been much of a sports fan, but when my team made it to the Super Bowl, I suddenly became a Phanatic – a Philly Phanatic. (Yes, that’s the baseball team mascot, not the football team. I do know that much, but it works.)

The week before the big game I reached out to my flight attendant friend to see if I could sneak home for it. If the Eagles were going to be in the Super Bowl, then the best place to celebrate it would be in Philly, which is just a few minutes away from where I grew up in New Jersey. But no go. It was too last minute. The next thing to do was to try and figure how to celebrate it being away from home.

I reached out to a few friends to see if anyone would be willing to watch the game, but they’re not exactly sports fans either. No luck.

I decided I would just throw on an Eagles T-shirt, head to a sports bar and find my people. Surely other Eagles fans would be interested in watching the game with someone who is actually from the area – an obligatory fan since birth.

There was just one thing: I didn’t have an Eagles shirt.

Realizing there was no way I was going to find one here just a few days before the game, I recruited my mom to do it for me. It was only Monday. She had plenty of time to find me a leftover shirt and send it via USPS. She agreed without hesitation, and my T-shirt was at my door by Friday night. Way to go, mom!

By this time I had my outfit planned out. I paired the T-shirt, which optimistically and accurately proclaimed the Eagles as the champions, with the black and green tutu I usually wear on St. Patrick’s Day. Oh, and green eyeshadow.

I reached out to a few people one last time to see if anyone would come with me to the bar, and, thankfully, a very new friend agreed to be my date. As instructed, she wore green.

I knew there was only a slim chance that anyone else there would be a true Philly fan and at first I felt a little ridiculous walking up to the joint decked out in complete fandom. The Eagles needed all the support they could get, though, so I stepped inside with pride.

Neither of us knows much about football, so we watched a little while we ate our wings, but mostly we talked. It looked like the Eagles were going to win. That is until the last 10 minutes. The New England Patriots had pulled ahead.

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Things were so close that even my friend and I had our eyes glued to the screen.

The last three minutes were nerve-wracking. The Eagles were winning but just by a few points. I didn’t know enough about football to be able to tell whether or not the other team still had a shot.

“We’re going to win, right?” I thought. I turned to my friend and let her know that Philly teams have been known to choke at the last minute, at least from what I can remember.

I’ve never been more invested in a sporting event. The final two minutes felt like they lasted forever. I held my breath. Then the cheering began.

By the time the game had ended, it seemed like everyone in the place wanted the Eagles to win. After all, they played a great game, they were the underdog and the Patriots have won it too many times. We deserved the win!

Thousands of miles from Philly and I still felt Phantastic!

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. Jersey Girl runs every other Sunday. Follow her on Twitter at @RiaSestito or email her at


Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC.