The Return of the Philadelphia Curse

Citizens Bank Park courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies


Sitting on top of Philadelphia’s City Hall tower is a bronze statue of Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn. It was designed by Alexander Milne Calder; is thirty-seven feet tall; and is the tallest statue atop any building in the world.

The “Curse of Billy Penn’ was unleashed when two skyscrapers were built nearby in the 1980s dwarfing the statue. For years Philadelphia had an “unwritten rule” that no building would be taller than the brim of the hat atop the William Penn statue. From that point no Philadelphia professional sports teams won a championship in any major sport (MLB, NFL, NBA or MHL). Some attempts were made to placate the statue – a Phillies cap was placed on the top of the statue and a Flyers hockey jersey was draped over the statue during playoffs. Neither team won the final championships.

When the Comcast Center was completed, workers put a small replica of the statue on the top, making the hat the highest point in Philadelphia. On October 29, 2008, the Phillies broke the “curse” by winning the World Series over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.


Life as we know it ended this weekend at our house. The Philadelphia curse reared its ugly head yet again. I am not a sports fan but the beloved husband is. After a wonderful summer of Phillies victories, they lost in the playoffs to a team that they should have beaten. I knew things had to be bad when there was perfect silence throughout the entire game. This hasn’t happened all summer.  There are yells and cheers and oh yes…curses (but only when necessary). He expounds coaching advice that no one but me hears but he does it with gusto.

Then to add insult to injury, the Eagles, with their newly acquired, high-priced help, lost yet again. They are 1-4 with losses to the easier teams on their schedule. Things look grim for the season. Poor beloved husband.  No yelling and screaming or cheering and dancing (yes, he thinks I don’t see it!).

As the eternal optimist, there is an upside to all of this. First he will no longer be tethered to some broadcasting device. There will be no angst and anxiety and fear of losing a crucial game. No raised blood pressure. From now on, it will not matter who wins the baseball games. They won’t be the Phillies. In fact, there is no great desire to actually see the games and the World Series holds no allure although he may watch it anyway.

You can pretty much say the same about football although the Eagles have had some strange comebacks in the past. I don’t want to project too much hope because that could be bad luck. I have often felt that a team I care about does much better in a tough game when I am not watching them. Although…maybe it’s me that does better.

8 thoughts on “The Return of the Philadelphia Curse

  1. The Phillies were so intent on setting records during the regular season that they forgot the importance of post season play. I like the idea of taping, I do that with the eagles games. That way I can skip the commercials and maybe sneak a peak at the final score to ease my stomach while I catch up. Pass that on to “Beloved Husband!”


  2. There was a lot of re-hashing the last game which involved a lot of cursing and ideas if they only did this or only did that they might have scored a run – my thought was let is rest- it is over. Silence is golden on my part. Loved the history which was a new to me.
    Thanks – Sharlene


  3. Oh my, I feel beloved husband’s pain. I was in agony over the Phillies’ loss and now grudgingly watch other teams compete. Like you, though, I often wonder if my watching jinxes my favorites..but that just doesn’t stop me! Great post…loved the history. ~Dawn


      • We have TiVo but MH (my husband) REFUSES to watch a recorded game! He says, “I don’t want “other” people knowing the outcome before I do – I must see it live!” Who are these “other” people?

        It was a sad weekend in our house – I was very disappointed! I can’t watch postseason baseball though, it stresses me out! I was scrapbooking instead! But yes, there was mostly silence with some angry muttering coming from the living room. ::sigh: There’s always next year!


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