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Jarett Sims

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A (Fun) Season to Forget

Posted: 12/06/11 03:33 PM ET

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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