The gift that keeps giving
On Monday morning, I stopped at my local Turkey Hill for a coffee. I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before.
In the store, I noticed an older gentleman who was also getting a coffee and estimated him to be about 80-years-old. He was talking about the big game the night before to anyone who would listen.
As I was sitting in my car ready to leave, the man came out and stood on the sidewalk drinking his coffee - just looking around and smiling. He seemed to simply be taking it all in.
In that moment, I couldn’t help but think of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s answer when he was asked after the game what winning the Super Bowl means to Philadelphia. He response was just one word.
“Everything,” he said.
Being a fan is an interesting concept to me. What makes someone of a fan of a team?
I’ve been an Eagles fan for as long as I can remember. I’m estimating since 1980, when I really got into sports at the age of 7. I remember more watching the Phillies win the World Series that year, but don’t have a lot of memories of the Eagles being in the Super Bowl.
What I do remember is the pain of watching Eagles games under coaches like Marion Campbell, Buddy Ryan, Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes. Nowadays, you can watch any sporting event you want, any time you want to. But back in the 1980s, I didn’t have a lot of options and the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers were usually always on, so they became my teams.
For the last 38 years or so, I’ve sometimes wondered, ‘What was I thinking ...”
I’ve taken a lot from fans of teams like the Cowboys, Steelers, Yankees and Devils. I will never understand how you can root for such evilness ...
But in all seriousness, it’s moments (albeit rare) like Sunday that make being a Philadelphia fan worth it. One of my most memorable moments of the Eagles first Super Bowl victory will always be the days leading up to, and the days after, the game. Listening to sports talk radio and even seeing posts on social media about past family members no longer around and how happy they would be the Eagles won, and how their family members wish they could share this moment with them - even if it was just for a minute. I listened to grown-ups get emotional telling their stories. My kids told me their friends’ dads cried (everything is exposed in kindergarten).
To me, these are the things that really drive home how passionate the Eagles fan base is, and what being a Philadelphia fan means. It’s truly a family-affair, and these teams are such a big part of a lot of families’ lives. Listening to the stories and being part of an entire area that’s caught up in the excitement is one of the best parts of this whole experience - and I can’t get enough of the joy and togetherness.
I took a couple of phone calls from friends after the game, and they were probably just as happy their kids got to experience this win. Watching the game with my twin 6-year-olds, who are following in daddy’s footsteps with their favorite teams, was such a great moment for me as well.
“Daddy, I like when we jumped around after they won,” is what I’ve heard all week.
You can buy just about anything you want in your life, but Sunday the Eagles gave something to me and the rest of their fans that can’t be purchased. That moment can never be taken away from me, my kids or any other fan.
My only regret writing this column is I didn’t pay for that man’s coffee, which ironically would have cost me 53 cents thanks to a Monday special.
But maybe it’s a sign, that after a Super Bowl (53) victory I’ll get another chance a year from now.