As most of you who read this blog know, there are very few things in my life that are more important to me than the Philadelphia Eagles. As I have gotten older, they have moved down the priority list but still very close to the top. I can remember back to 1989 when I really feel in love with this team.
In those 25 years, it has been a wild ride. The ride has had its ups and downs and its many heartbreaks. In fact 25 heartbreaks for me, but many more for those older than me. Each year the ultimate goal has alluded the Eagles. But each August we climb back into the roller coaster with that hope.
In 2006, Disney released the movie Invincible about Vince Papale who tries out off the street and makes the team. There is a line in that movie that hit me the first time I heard it and has stuck with me since. It is a conversation between Vince and his dad. Vince and his dad are sitting on their front porch discussing the challenges of life and the Eagles. Vinces’ dad says:
“You know how I used to tell you about Van Buren scoring that touchdown in ’48?
“That touchdown got me through 30 years at the factory. It got me through all the times of your mother being sick.”
Those 2 sentences resonated with me. I have similar sentiments when it comes to the Birds. I look forward to the Sunday’s. The excitement that builds up all week. A little conversation here and there is an escape from reality during the week leading up to the game. And then those 3 hours on the field in which the outcome can help carry me through the week or feel like a monkey on my back until the following Sunday. The wins have rejuvenated me and the losses have punched me in the gut and stuck there for 6 days leading up to the next one.
Sure, people have told me I am crazy. And I cant deny it. But the little conversations and the 3 hours on Sunday keeps me from going crazy. It is a nice escape from the real world.
Something happened recently and I realized it this past Monday. The Eagles had a big game on Sunday vs the Seattle Seahawks. It was a game that I had looked forward to for a week. A game in which the excitement grew a little more each day. A game that I really felt they were going to win. And another one of those gut punching losses ensued. In the past, a loss like that I would carry throughout the week. But 5 seconds on Monday changed that.
Almost 2 years ago to the day, my son was born. He goes to a babysitter throughout the week. On days when I am not traveling I pick him up at the end of the day. Monday was one of those days I was going to pick him up. Throughout the day in my travels, I had the radio on reliving the loss with the local sports talk. Needless to say, it was one of those Monday’s.
I walked in to the babysitter’s house to pick up my son. I began to walk up the stairs to where he was playing and he heard someone coming so he ran to the top of the steps. The moment he saw me in his pitched voice he yelled “DADDY HIIIII”. Those 5 seconds took my breath away. They completely changed the course of this week. They completely erased the sting of the loss. Those 5 seconds and 2 words have been a normal occurrence when I pick him up since he started saying them.
This time it felt different. Maybe I had taken them for granted. Or maybe they were just what I needed.
For 25 years I had my share of weeks carrying losses in my gut. Never have I been able to get over it so quickly. But then, never before has someone so important said 2 words that could change the emotion. And to think all it took was 5 seconds.