A 99-year-old Philadelphia Eagles fan has finally seen his local team win the Super Bowl.
Philly native Phil Basser, who turns 100 in March, first came to the public’s attention last month when his 18-year-old grandson tweeted a picture of him after news of a 99-year-old Minnesota Vikings fan called Millie went viral.
It captured the hearts of the internet, notching up over 2k favourites.
My 99yr old grandpa Phil (turning 100 in march) has lived in Philadelphia since 1918 and has never seen an Eagles Super Bowl. Looks like we got a battle of the centenarians! pic.twitter.com/yEvyd37W9n
— Josh (@_jbpotter7_) January 15, 2018
Phil was born to a ‘poor Jewish family’ in 1918. His mother died when he was 4 and his sister died when he was 8. He would spend his weekdays in a local Jewish orphanage, the Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum, visiting his father on weekends.
Prior to fighting in World War II and later the Korean War, his father passed away.
Taking up work at an advertising agency in his adult life, he had four children, who in turn have given him 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife Pearl, to whom he was married for 65 years, died last year.
He said in an article published by the Philadelphia Eagles:
The successes of all of my children and their spouses make me feel like I’m living in a dreamland. I can’t explain it. It’s heaven on earth.
One could look at my life and see the hurdles and he tragedy. These were all devastating, but I choose to wake up each and every day seeing the best that has to offer.
You can’t call Phil a lifelong Eagles fan, however. That’s because he’s been alive longer than have been around.
He was 15 when they played their first game in 1933 and he’s been devoted ever since. Whenever the Eagles play a late game, he naps beforehand to ensure maximum attention.
Speaking about the impact of his tweet, grandson Josh Potter said:
I didn’t think it was going to blow up, but I think people are going to see he’s cute and how could they not retweet it. It went way further than I ever expected it to go, but it’s awesome.
Although he doesn’t love the attention, it’s well deserved and it’s awesome to share with the rest of the world.
He’s so special because he’s an inspiration and such a role model. He’s lived such an amazing life, but he’s just so real. He never does anything for attention. He never does anything for any other motive than it’s the right thing. He’s just an incredible example for our entire family.
He’s a true underdog story. It’s hard for us to get down about anything when we’ve seen what he’s gone through and how strong he is. He really just sets the standard for how to live life.
What a fantastic story for the ages. Have fun celebrating.