Sports

The Epic Struggle to Support Losers

It was another gut-wrenching afternoon of Eagle football, made worse when I saw an advertisement for an upcoming movie about a romance with a die-hard Eagle’s fan. The film features Bradley Cooper and at first glance, it was like I’d been sacked by the entire Cowboy defensive line. My book comes out in January and this film comes out now.

The Eagles are a train wreck. This might be the most unproductive group of talented players on record. And then to see this film trailer—someone else used the Eagles in a novel about relationships. I was reeling.

And yet, there I was, more concerned about how this team could eke out a victory.

But after the Dallas punt return I knew.

I kept the game on to the bitter end, watching our rookie QB get hammered at the goal line with less than a minute to go. The ball fell free and Dallas scooped it for one last kick to the gut.

Although Chuck Morgan, the protagonist in My Year as a Clown, is a die-hard Eagle fan, football is only a small aspect of my book. This movie is serendipitous. I guess one could ask why it’s taken this long for the passion of the Philadelphia sports fan to become literary inspiration. The Eagle’s struggle is Shakespearean.

I haven’t seen this movie or read the book, but I will. For me Chuck’s football obsession is  about loyalty. A guy who can stick by a team in tough times is a guy who can tough out a difficult patch in a relationship, unfortunately for Chuck, his wife was a fair-weather fan.

First Year Little League Coaches are Saints

 

 

Inspired by the incredible play of those kids in the Little League World Series, I was reminded of earlier this year watching my girl friend’s eight year old play ball for the first time. I wrote this piece for the Good Men Project. Here’s the link:

http://goodmenproject.com/families/the-good-life-every-kid-a-winner/

Batter Up

 

Saturday night we took my girlfriend’s kids to see the Bridgeport Bluefish, a nearby minor league team. It was Scout Night and after the game there had fireworks and then we camped in the outfield.

It was a cool and blustery night, but that didn’t stop the kids from running around well past midnight.

We had to be out of there by 7 a.m. Sunday morning, Father’s Day.

Several parents said happy father’s day to me and I wished them a good day too – I’m 53 and it’s the first time anyone has wished me a Happy Father’s Day. It felt strange, but if you’re hanging out with the Boy Scouts you’re either a parent or a perv—best to be mistaken for a parent than the latter.

Afterward, I took Mary and her two boys to a diner for breakfast.

At some point the little one said, “Sometimes people think you’re my Dad.”

“Sometimes people think you’re my Dad,” I volleyed back.

He smiled and dug into his pancakes.

The Good ‘ole Days as a Suffering Philly Fan Return

The 2012 Phillies team has plummeted back to earth after four high-flying years. I’ve followed them since the late ‘60s and a .500 win/loss percentage in April used to be acceptable since the team was typically out of it before school was out, but I’m spoiled by the victories, the free agent signings, and that one World Series victory.

And to think, at one point, I thought this group had a shot at being one of the great teams in history, a multiple World Series winner with the game’s most devastating pitching line-up, but alas, that group of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels is no more.

So far this year, making the play-offs looks like a stretch.

I know it’s early and the team has injuries, but last year’s final pitch still haunts me. Howard’s Achilles snapping on the last out of the year, falling to the ground in agony as he tried to run to first base on a dropped strike three ball. I was in my own agony, coming to grips with the impossible, Halladay losing to the Cardinals, a team that wasn’t even headed for the playoffs, and there was Howard on the ground writhing in pain.

It was f*#&ing Shakespearean. And all I could do was shut the TV off because it was just too awful to watch–I simply couldn’t absorb any further bad news.

It came as no surprise that Howard wasn’t in the line-up on opening day, but on the bright side, last year also showed that a team can be mediocre all season and still pick it up in September to win a championship.

Yes, this year feels hauntingly familiar to what I’ve known as a Philly fan most of my life, but odds are they’ll still be hanging around come September, and as everybody knows, great pitching normally beats great hitting.

Let’s hope that holds true because my team won’t be setting any batting records this year.

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