What is your five-year plan, Philadelphia?
Teddy Shander wants to know that he, like many others, is about to start a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan. Teddy turned 1 this Wednesday, mostly thanks to his mother (house MVP), and it made me think about how he would grow over the next five years.
She attends many games and wears lots of sweaters, shirsies and everything else. There’s Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins’ hands and old Donovan McNabbi’s shirt, but it’s about the future. Something that coincides with where we are all fans of the same teams right now. Things have changed drastically since the advent of the world of Teddy, and many things are facing a similar change sooner rather than later.
On Teddy’s first birthday, I have to publicly thank the Philadelphia 76ers office and marketing department. A year ago, they sent out a glorious “welcome to the world” basket with his first and only shirt, Joel Embiid.
He’s worn it in every Sixers game we can watch – he’s only 1 for God’s sake – and much more is being done to him in his early life. Instead of jumping from team to team, it’s better to look at what’s and what’s not the highlights of the next five years. Rather, it is a question of how she grows up, what your son or daughter experiences, and what we can prepare for as “athletic” parents.
At the age of 28 and with a long-term max transaction, the emblem does not disappear. His NBA life is determined by how long his body can withstand wear, but even then he has enough skills to stand around for a few more years. This is not my or my son’s concern.
Depending on what happens to the Sixers, Embbi may head to Miami or LA or somewhere warm at the moment. It’s hard to blame him if it’s due to the climate. The next five years can define or help shape what happens during this off-season trading period. Daryl Morey has to join the team, which could mean leaving Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle. They will be closed to James Harden for the next few years, probably under a short-term contract, so Sixers’ near future is pretty much in place.
Teddy gets big by watching a generational player determine the position of the center in an ever-evolving league with one of the biggest scorers in the game – albeit in his darkness. That’s a plus. The next three years are as long as these types last on the floor.
Everything else is about finding the best pieces that will fit around this puzzle as quickly as humanly possible. This is Moreyl. You know this exercise and you’ve heard it before: “Time is running out for Embbi !!” Well … It’s bleeding for Harden.
The other shirt my son is wearing is Tire Maxey. It is a pleasure to see this young man see how he has become one of the brightest young players in the game. People can focus on how nice a man he is, but watching him attack people on the floor, with a ball or a ball, is a beauty.
Bryce Harper is not going anywhere. We all know that, and the Phillies have created some younger (than Bryce) talents around him. The problem with this team seems to be in line with years ago, except that they have mistakes – sometimes direct ones – to overcome in smaller parks.
I like that Teddy can watch Harper grind everything, regardless of the season, the team or the circumstances of the game. It transcends any “philadelphia mentality” or “old school” approach.
It shows up every time he’s out there and it’s pretty cool to see. You can ignore it or even underestimate it as something that should be the norm, or as a player who just does his job. That would be foolish at best.
Harper’s attitude, approach, and influence in representation form a flame of eternal hope that burns strongly in spite of the chaos around him. The sport is about change, which is by nature, inviting men up and down, a constant opportunity to move a player during the season, even arbitration.
Will the team win the World Cup in the next five years? Probably not, but I bet they’re getting close. If I had a chance of at least getting to the NLCS, I’d spend a year or two on Teddy’s. (If you told my wife about the MVP’s opening comment, feel free to leave it out.)
Carter Hart is what the Flyers have missed for decades, but now that he’s here, many other areas have fallen apart. We know that Hart stays in the pipes for as long as possible, there are other younger influencers who also have the opportunity to grow here. It is, in fact, a new voice that may not last for the five years that we are projecting here.
In fact, it’s a safer bet for NLCS than the Phillies. Jon Tortorella doesn’t have to be here for five years to turn around a franchise that wasn’t really as bad as it was last year. Mainly because the injuries increased and the team derailed. Think about what next year will bring, so in the third year – when Teddy is actively playing at the Flyers – he would see a tangible change. The combination of a healthier team, a young network and a proven new voice adds more than excitement – Ws is at the top of the charts.
It’s complicated and easy at the same time. The easiest person to consider as a major or real influencer for the next five years is Devonta Smith. Part of that is because we don’t know the future of Jalen Hurtts as a starting player for the Philadelphia Eagles, but part of it – most of it – is that Smith is already planning to be one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Sky is the limit of this young star, which means that the coach’s staff has to figure out how to maximize everything. AJ Brown should be the second main part of this team, because growing together with these two younger players – be it a QB or a young fan – is fantastic.
What about Hurts?
Nobody knows. The team doesn’t do what’s really best for them, because they have a chance to figure it out before the start of next season. So far, Hurts’ job is to convince more than his “haters” that he is a man suitable for the job in the long run. I believe my son has the opportunity to watch the young core of Hurt, Smith, Brown and Dallas Goedert grow into a threatening force. The good news for Teddy is that if Hurt’s things get sour somehow, the young Teddy isn’t old enough to remember. We are currently investigating Hurts in this household.
The last two things you need here are Jay Wright and the Philadelphia Union. My son is growing up in this area, knowing all the significant influences Wright has on the basketball game and the community. It is imperative that Teddy does not see the Wright Championship story in the footnote or mess with the Wright vs (fill in the Legend) coach. It’s crucial that as the Villanova Basketball program grows into the huge hole left by Wright’s absence, young fans like Teddy will understand why this crater was so huge.
Like Wright – for a variety of reasons as well as for fans – the Alliance has made significant progress with both sports fans and the community. You may not see it or just not follow the right people on Twitter, but the union is constantly providing support to local communities and raising awareness of social and economic issues.
They are also a fantastic team that has experienced great difficulties in reaching a point of contention year after year, which has done wonders for the development of the game in the region. Check out the celebration after Philadelphia was declared the host city of the World Cup. The area has embraced the game and the union’s own turn on the court is a symbol of general change.
With all that said, I’m buying my son a Maxey sweater.
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