Monday, February 07, 2005

Guest column: An Eagle-eye view

A note from my old buddy Aaron the Eagle, whom I mentioned in yesterday's post:

Hey Chad. I vented a little bit (Monday) morning in a discussion on the Eagles' website. I thought your readers might do well to be reminded that they should enjoy these heady times to the fullest. Or maybe they'd just enjoy laughing at another vanquished foe.

Two things should become readily apparent after you read his rant, which I'll post here in a second:

1) If this post wasn't on a thread titled The Clinically Insane Bleatings Of A Soon-To-Be-Divorced-Cheese-Steak-Chompin'-Madman, it should have been.


2) The enemy really is just like us.

Here's the written proof. Read on, and tell me you don't get flashbacks to those not-so-long-ago days when our beloved teams strung us along, let us down hard, yet never could quite shatter our faith. (See: Oct. 16, 2003.)

Hell, I almost started feeling bad for the guy. Good thing I got to see a parade today. Parades always cheer me up.

(Gratuitous parade photo here . . .)

(And here . . .)

(Yes, I am a dink. Enjoy the column.)

By Aaron Bowden

So, my wife and I were at the typical Super Bowl party yesterday in Manhattan Beach, California: lots of food, booze and people who aren't fans of either team.

I had resolved before the game to try and enjoy the party as much as possible. Win or lose, I figured an Eagles Super Bowl was something to be celebrated.

My wife, well-aware of my propensity to punch things during Eagles games, was worried that I would embarrass her. Being polite and midwestern, she just doesn't understand the relationship Philly fans have with their team. In any case, I promised that I would take it easy and that I wouldn't correct the announcers or bore people with Eagles anecdotes like I do at home.

I've got a pretty good buzz going as we hit gametime and most of the partygoers have been gracious about their intentions to root for the Eagles because they're underdogs.

First quarter, things are going well. I've told everyone to expect a low-scoring game and I'm very much enjoying being right as the quarter ends 0-0.

Second quarter. LJ scores and I go nuts. I lead everyone in a whiskey toast and then flap my wings TO-style. Disregarding my wife's disapproving look, I stand up and launch into a loud diatribe about how wrong all the analysts were who said the Eagles had no chance in this game. Some of the girls at the party look like they're a little afraid.

End of the half. Lito decides not to cover David Givens in the end zone. The guy who's got the 7-7 block cheers wildly and I shoot him a murderous look that compels him to say "Hey man, I'm still on your side but that's 75 bucks." I almost kill him then and there.

Third quarter. The Pats offense starts to move the ball at will. I am certifiably drunk now and rocking back and forth on the couch with my hands folded in front of my mouth. I keep muttering, "Heart, heart, heart. Show some heart, guys." My wife says, "Why do you keep saying the same thing over and over?" I'm considering divorce.

McNabb completes a touchdown strike to Westbrook off his back foot, through two defenders. I jump up and emit a gutteral sound from what must be the bottom of my soul. I hear someone say under their breath, "That was a lucky play." I explode. "LUCK! Are you kidding me? That was pure heart and ability. HEART!" I am beating my chest with my fist as I scream "HEART! HEART! HEART! WE WANT THIS GAME MORE THAN ANYONE!" No one says a word. You could hear a pin drop. I sit back down and my wife looks like she's in one of those Southwest Airlines commercials. "Wanna get away?"

My face is red. The Patriots score again. My wife tells me that she's pretty sure people are laughing about my "Heart" tirade. But somewhere, deep down, I still believe. In my mind, everyone is against me. Even my wife.

McNabb hits Greg Lewis to pull the Eagles to 24-21. I stay seated, making eye contact with no one. I pound my chest softly, thinking, but not saying it out loud. "Heart."

The onsides kick fails. McNabb throws an interception. The game is over. I stand up and say that I'm proud of my boys and the season they gave me. I say that we will be back. But even as I say it, I hate myself. This is what I'm always saying. I realize that I've gotten good at this speech. Every year ends like this.

I'm surprised at how much it hurts this time. I thought I would happier, this year being better than the last and all. I'm not happier. I feel quiet and defeated. I realize I didn't enjoy the party at all. I hardly talked to anybody . . . just screamed at them after key moments in the game. I made a donkey out of myself.

This is what it feels like to be a Philadelphia sports fan. I gave them everything and I absolutely believed in them when everything in their history told me not to. Today, I don't feel a lot better. I'm trying to focus on the good. TO's amazing display of heart. Undrafted free agent Greg Lewis never flinching under the bright lights. McNabb's off-the-back-foot frozen rope.

Tomorrow can't come soon enough. I need the combine and the draft and free agency. I need training camp. I know I will be ready to do this all again . . . And I can't wait.

Postscript: As far as I know, Aaron is still married as of today. And recovering quite nicely, from what I can tell, because he is already plotting ways the Eagles can pluck David Givens as an unrestricted free agent. "Just to stick it to the Patriots," he says. I do hope his wife leaves him soon. - CF