Eagles’ Wings Clipped
by Tracy E. Hill PhD
I watch with great enthusiasm and excitement as the Philadelphia Eagles score on their first two drives. An amazing play by Cre’Von LeBlanc as he picks off an interception from Brees. Nick Foles follows it up with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews. The extra point stokes the frenzy, which builds over the next drive, where Foles stretches the ball over the end zone for another touchdown. Fly Eagles fly!
The New Orleans Saints are stunned. Their hometown crowd is quiet. And then slowly, Drew Brees and Michael Thomas shake it off and spring back into action. A touchdown and a field goal. Another touchdown. Another field goal. The Eagles’ don’t score again. The game ends at 20 to 14. The Eagles’ season is over.
I wasn’t always an Eagles fan. In fact, for many years I didn’t even enjoy watching football. I grew up in a family where organized sports were something other families did. Not ours. I played field hockey in middle school and high school, but neither of my parents attended a single game.
Years later, I married a Philadelphian who bled green and white. Over several decades, I hosted our annual Super Bowl party while I chatted with guests, served food, and watched none of the game.
Sundays were for napping or reading a good book while my husband watched football. And then came children. My husband infused the Eagles fever into them. Sundays became Eagles day even if they weren’t playing. Super Bowl parties became more elaborate, and friends’ children attended, making the day rambunctious, fun, and crazy all at the same time.
Now my children are grown and live in houses of their own. My Sundays have calmed down. I don’t watch football at all during the season unless the Eagles are playing. And the only reason I still watch the Eagles is that I know my kids are watching their beloved team in their homes with their parties and friends.
I feel connected to them during these games. I know exactly what they’re doing and feel the same excitement and tension they do as their green and white players chase the pigskin looking for touchdowns, clinging to the hope of another gold and diamond ring. We text and Snapchat throughout the games, and although they live far away, during Eagles’ games I still feel like they’re home with me.
Sadly then, there will be no Super Bowl this year for the “Iggles,” as they’re affectionately called by many here in eastern Pennsylvania. And with that demise, this special connection to my children has been severed for the rest of the playoff season. Of course, they will watch the remaining teams battle it out all the way to the Super Bowl, but the excitement will cool, the banter and the chatter during the game will go still, because their beloved team is not there in contention.
I’ll still communicate with my kids throughout the rest of the season, but there’s something very unique and special that happens during every Philadelphia Eagles game that just can’t be explained or copied any other day.
Photo credits: nj.com and NBC Sports.