Chip off the old block, or maybe my shoulder | Moment's Notice

By Maria Montalvo | Feb 18, 2018

A chip off the old block is someone who derives from the source, while a chip on your shoulder means holding on to a grievance that readily provokes dispute.

Growing up in certain cities and places definitely influences who we become; we are all derived from our source(s). The people who love us, the places we go, the lives we see.

I have always claimed the strength and attitude that comes with growing up in the city of Philadelphia, and perhaps also the grievances of a city generally underappreciated for its … well, everything.

Not only is it home to the cheese steak (only taste right if made within the city limits, and perhaps a few surrounding counties), Rocky Balboa (legendary underdog), the Philadelphia Sound (soul funk from the 1960s and ’70s), and now the Super Bowl-winning Eagles, but Philadelphia is the birthplace of our nation, the United States.

Philadelphia is where the Founding Fathers met, where the first Continental Congress was held and, of course, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. Philadelphia served as the temporary U.S. capital when D.C. was under construction, and it was home to many stops on the Underground Railroad.

The city grew quickly before and after the Revolutionary War, becoming one of the more livable industrial cities across the country, made strong from immigrants from across Europe and from African-Americans during the Great Migration.

Philly is the place of many other U.S. firsts – library, hospital, medical and business schools, national capital, stock exchange, and zoo – and it claims 67 national historic landmarks and is the only World Heritage City in the country.

In Philadelphia, things are not so complicated – something is right or it is wrong. Our ability to impact those things are dependent on how hard we work, how much we try, and most often dumb luck (good or bad). None of this means you do not try, though.

In Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, that means we love our family and our friends and our city. We embrace the arbitrariness of the adversity and just keep pushing. The first time my husband told me of the folktale of John Henry, I thought he sounded like he was from Philly.

Rocky probably said it best: “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward.”

Our approach does not always work out well, for ourselves or each other, but I count the good higher than the bad. The Eagles team this year was full of Philadelphians. We all know the Cinderella story of Nick Foles, but how about Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Torrey Smith and Rodney McLeod, who led a small group who patiently and quietly worked with the NFL to address the racial inequality issues that were at the forefront of the news cycle.

Each of them, other Eagles players and the Eagles owner, Jeff Lurie, also unobtrusively do good works in the communities in and around Philadelphia, all the while training to win the Super Bowl.

Oh, did I mention, we just won the Super Bowl? Another first.

Tight end Zach Ertz said of the last few weeks: “Underdogs. No shot. Dead in the water. We heard it about 10,000 times over the course of that week. It wasn't just us who embraced it. The whole city embraced it. If you're an outsider, you probably don't really get it. But if you're from Philly, then you know.”

While watching the Super Bowl, with dear friends and mostly Seahawks fans (even a few Cowboy fans in the mix), I was surprised how much it mattered, how much I wanted that team of underdogs to win – for them, for Philadelphia, for me, and for every underdog I have always pulled for.

In the end, it was about loving a place, my source, and when the game went to 0:00, I felt lighter, as the chip on my shoulder, one I did not realize I had, fell away.


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