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A (Fun) Season to Forget

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The once unfathomable pre-playoffs death of my favorite team's season was
virtually sealed with their loss in the Emerald City, and let me tell you -- I've never
been happier to not attend a sporting event than I was prior to the Eagles vs.
Seahawks Thursday night matchup. That is, until after I watched the highlights of
said game on SportsCenter. What poor timing! I had to go and choose the "Dream
Team"-cum-nightmare season to be the one where I attend each and every game
with my girlfriend in order to teach her the game of football and to love my team --
The Philadelphia Eagles. Silly me. Denial, anger, bargaining and depression, have
given way to acceptance.

Thank the heavens that SeatGeek's business model is what I've described to friends
as the Kayak of event tickets, and not the dually useful Kayak of hooch and event
tickets. If it were, I'd have never survived the 2011-12 season, even to this point,
and my liver would greatly resemble Mickey Mantle's when he kicked. At this rate,
I've got my fingers crossed that I'm blessed with the kind of longevity that allows me
to see my yet to be conceived children grow old and have kids of their own. Baseball
was never really my sport anyway. I'll be happy if my elderly heart explodes during
a sweaty romp between the sheets, or anywhere for that matter, and my liver, when
it happens, is no worse off than Joe Namath territory.

("If you die during sex, I better be on top" -- Jaime)

You see, I'm a New Yorker through and through, and I bleed green. However when
I say I fly high, I'm not talking about Broadway Joe -- you've got to travel another
99 miles on the Turnpike to see my team -- I'm talking Concrete Charlie, Reggie and
Randle. Want to talk recent vintage? Sure I cheered as loudly as anyone for McNabb
and Westbrook, but Brian Dawkins was the absolute best. At this very moment, I'm
most proud that a quick-cutting speed demon of a man named Shady is wearing
my team's colors. You know what though? It's only December and my Eagles have
given me Marshall Mathers-like anger* during this lost season, which after the
lockout and an awesome offseason, seemed destined to result in a Super Bowl.

This year in my life as a football fan is a special one ... or a peculiar one, depending
upon whom you ask. Being a die-hard Eagles fan with just about everything in
common with my girlfriend of two years other than a love of football and the Eagles,
we embarked on a love-me, love-my-team journey, with the goal of attending all 16
Eagles contests, during which I would teach Jaime the X's and O's. Jaime, to her
credit, has been an eager learner. I mistakenly started by trying to teach her the
whole game, which led to information overload. We had a great time in Saint Louis
seeing the sights -- the arch, the Budweiser factory, Laclede's Landing, Crown Candy
(where I stupidly attempted my own Man vs. Food feat of five large milkshakes in less
than 30 minutes ... that didn't end well) -- a fortuitous beginning to the journey
where the Birds took an easy one against the Rams.

The following week we
travelled to Atlanta, where the learning/teaching continued, as did the consuming of
some of the unhealthiest, best tasting food known to man. Michael Vick's return to
the ATL produced a loss. Ha! A mere speed bump. By then, Jaime had a grasp on
the rules, penalties, and their respective hand signals, as well as strategic moves like the need
to score at the end of the first half and getting out of bounds to stop the clock. Then,
thanks to losses against the Giants, Niners, and Bills, the media finally stopped
invoking the name of the '92 Olympic juggernaut lead by Larry, Magic, and Michael
when talking about the Eagles (thanks to Vince Young, who in training camp showed
a quick glimmer of the kind of ineptitude off the field that he'd show during his time
on it). Still, it didn't stop fans of opposing teams from throwing the Dream Team
moniker in our faces as we were decked out in green on the road. All those 4th
Quarter leads ... all those 4th Quarter losses. Damn.

It wasn't all bad though. We enjoyed each other's company on the road, and got to see a bit more of the country including
Niagara Falls for the first time and an authentic wings spot in Buffalo. In our nation's
capital, we hit the mall and my old stomping grounds around G.W. (Where
funnily enough, we partied with Ronnie from Jersey Shore, who showed up ten
minutes before closing time with Secret Service-like security and probably collected
a check for ten grand. Incidentally, he may be shorter than my 11-year-old cousin).
After that win in Washington, Jaime could diagnose a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. She also
had a firm grasp on the Eagles Defense of choice, the wide-9, and why it was giving
up so many rushing yards (a wide open middle of the D-line, basically by design,
with undersized linebackers who can't get off their blocks -- it really comes down to
the personnel). It was to my ultimate surprise when she complained like any
hardened and skeptical second-guessing fan about the elite cornerbacks, and why in-
over-his-head, ex-offensive line coach Juan Castillo was having them play so much
zone coverage.

My -- now, our team, has certainly given us much to bitch about -- and the couple
that bitches together, er ... stays together? While that was hardly the intent, I am
happy to say that I now have a girlfriend who "gets it" when it comes to my Sunday
fanaticism and what it means when I say I bleed green. Having coughed up enough
green to teach Jaime the game and take her from the non-interested woman who
liked the Saints because of their colors, to a true Eagles fan, it has become clear that
the franchise doesn't deserve any more of our green, at least for now. Not while the
coaches get out-coached each week, and a collection of super-talented players like
DeSean Jackson pout and go through the motions.

I can't really thank the Philadelphia Eagles for turning Jaime into a fan, just my
stellar teaching, the fellow NFL fans who helped her learn along the way, and
SeatGeek, for getting us into the action. You know on second thought, it would
actually be great if they could recommend a nice single malt. Hell, after this season,
if they recommended a good moonshine, my girlfriend and I would be drinking it!

*I mean the early drug-fueled Eminem who was seething mad at everyone not
named Haley. Not the half-assed faux, this is what everyone expects, and I have to
sell records anger.

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