Being a sports fan is all about the moments.
Not just any moment, but “the moments.” The ones where you’ll never forget where you were and who you were with.
Yesterday, before the Eagles-Lions game, I found myself recall one of those “moments.” I was taken back to 1995 when, as a 16-year-old kid, I attended my first Eagles playoff game with my Uncle Jim. Before the game, he took me to the “Big A,” a South Philly sports bar, where I sat at the bar sipping a soda with a bunch of my older cousins. I’ll never forget the words he said to me as we went into the game: “just remember, you had fun with your uncle Jim.”
After heading into the game, the day got even better. Despite the trash talk the Lions had engaged in all week and prospects of facing Barry Sanders, Rodney Peete came out and led the Eagles to a huge lead. The one specific moment I’ll never forget came on the last play of the first half when Peete hoisted a hail mary into the end zone that Rob Carpenter snatched out of the air. At the end of the day, our Eagles had won 58-37, creating a memory that will live in my mind forever.
As I tuned in on TV yesterday, little did I know I would be witnessing another magical moment that will live in my mind forever. The blizzard-like conditions left virtually no visibility, taking me back to watching the fog bowl with my dad in 1988. Witnessing Lesean “Shady” McCoy, the same kid who carved up the Hempfield defense in the PIAA playoffs early on in my teaching career, dice through the Lions defense all through the fourth quarter made me realize what a special player he is and what special team this has turned into.
And the best moment of the day: as McCoy raced into the end zone for his second touch down, and I erupted in a boisterous cheer, I turned to see and hear my two sons, Ryan, 4, and Andrew, almost 2, yelling out their own versions of the E-A-G-L-E-S cheer. At that moment, I realized I will get to live out so many sports memories with my boys, memories that they will never forget.
Then today, Roy Halladay’s retirement announcement brought me back to other of my favorite sports memories, both courtesy of the “Doc.”
Moment # 1- While watching game 1 of the Flyers-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals, I get a text from my brother that I need to switch to the Phillies game. Three innings later, and I had witnessed absolute perfection.
# 2- Right after we had bought our new house but before we moved in, I was at the house doing a bunch of work and had the Phils-Reds playoff game on the radio. After six innings of no-hit ball by Doc, I knew I needed to watch this, and we had no tv here yet. So I headed to Hempfield Rec, and watched the game while running on the treadmill.
I will never forget the simultaneous eruption of hundreds of people, all listening on our own headsets, whose workouts were interrupted by the second no-hitter in postseason history.
Just like the frozen field at the Linc yesterday, these, and many moments like them, will remain frozen in my mind forever…I will never forget the people I was with, and where I was when I witnessed these moments.
As I look at Ryan and Andrew, I can’t help but smile knowing there’s a whole new generation of “moments” to relish and treasure together.