Friday, January 8, 2010

Why I enjoyed being an out-of-towner

I have enjoyed the pleasure in the past of being an out-of-town sports' fan. Now, "sports" here is mostly limited to football, but I watched the World Series when the Phils won in '08 and I'll watch March Madness and dish, too. So yes, "sports fan" not "sport fan", folks.

Now that I am living in my sports' teams hometown (this would be Philadelphia) I would like to describe some of the pluses to being an out-of-towner. Now don't get me wrong, I am excited to be living here. I see people wearing Eagles gear, and I no longer feel the urge to flash them a thumbs up or remark, "nice hat", which inevitably leads to confusion. Now, on gameday in Boston or New York, after an Eagles victory, commenting on someone's birds' gear was always heartening. It was like you were sharing something with someone you didn't even know. All you had to do was smile.

Being in another city, you are also constantly defending your team against its rivals. I wore my vintage Eagles sweatshirt proudly to the airport to fly home in 2005 when we lost to the Patriots in the Superbowl. The Homeland security guy turned to his friend and said, "Look, Marv, we've got another!" They gave me hell. I told them wait and see. (Presumably, they are still waiting.) Living back home, instead of having to defend my team to people who like other teams, I find myself constantly having to stick up for them to disheartened die-hards. The a.m. radio stations are chock full of callers calling for Andy Reid to step down, for Donovan to be traded, for our offensive line to gain a hundred pounds, etc. I find myself sputtering. These are the guys I've been defending for years in New York against Giants fans and Cowboys fans alike! Now, living back here, I need to defend them to YOU?

One of the other things I liked about being a Phillies and Eagles fan in New York, in Boston, is that you got to know who else you knew liked other teams. Eric and Scott loved the Mets. Therefore, we would have days (when I was in a hat or sweatshirt they didn't like, particularly,) where neither of them could be friends with me. Bibbi, Nick and I were gunning for an "Intra-Pennsylvania" Superbowl last year-- the two of them being Pittsburgh fans. The bar I went to watch the games at was primarily a Pittsburgh bar, but they showed the other games. Fans in all colors would come. There was the Tampa Bay fan inevitably shaking his head, decked head to toe in red and gold. There were the very loud Jets fans. The Eagles' fans in that bar usually outnumbered everyone except the Pittsburgh fans. This was a point of pride.

Living in Philadelphia now, I rarely see anyone with any other teams' gear on,-- and if I do manage to spot someone, it's usually someone showcasing their Dallas cap or their Giants coat. Not people I want to talk to. Where are Philadelphia's Jaguars fans? Saints fans? Mets fans? (Just kidding about that last one. They're all hiding.)

To conclude, I particularly enjoyed being an out-of-town sports fan, especially in cities like Boston and New York where many a transplant resides. I will not say I prefer it, though. Something about getting to be here for that parade, oh, whenever it might happen. That will make every argument I've had to have with every in-and-out-of-towner worth it. Someday.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Good Metaphor by TV Football Announcer!

Now this is noteworthy. Either Cris Collinsworth or Al Michaels who compared the McNabb/Reid team history thus far to a movie. Every season, as an Eagles fan, you get amped about this time in the season, only to be let down in the end when we don't get the Lombardi trophy. I was impressed at the metaphor. They even took it as far to say that it's the kind of movie you refill your jumbo popcorn after because you're so disappointed. You thought the movie was going to be so good. Instead, you are let down and decide to eat more buttery popcorn.

Eagles as the winningest Visitor Team at the Meadowlands! Holler!

I love that this is already on YouTube:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NFL new rule on concussions

The NFL has officially changed the play rules for concussions. The NY Times article on this can be found here.

The new rule states that players who exhibit certain symptoms such as forgetfulness or dizziness should not be allowed to return to any "football-activities" after suffering from a possible concussion. They also encourage the players to be open with the medical staff on the team.

Brian Westbrook, the Philadelphia Eagles star running back for years, has been sitting out for a number of weeks after suffering a concussion in a game against the Washington Redskins.

Kurt Warner sat out last week's game after waking up dizzy on Sunday morning. The sports announcers on the pre-game show to the game on FOX I was watching mentioned this and then cut to commercial. Perhaps by accident, I caught one of the announcers saying jokingly "woke up not seeing straight? If--"

Athletes are trained to be role models. Let's hope they take this new rule from the NFL with that in mind, and do not try to continue to play when they could be suffering serious injuries. Let's hope also that sports announcers across the country also begin to take players' injuries more seriously as well. Perhaps Kurt Warner had a bit too much to drink the night before. Or perhaps he has a serious concussion. Either way...

"Really? You thought 'Ghetto Fabulous' was medically relevant?" ~Modern Family

Sunday, November 29, 2009

notes on today's game v. skins


Onsides kick as opening kick : fail (provides new counterpoint to my story from Reid's opening play against Dallas to start first season where we recover onsides kick and go on to win game); Skins score touchdown 7-0; Vick in for running play in red zone : gains yardage on 2nd and goal, McNabb back in on 3rd and goal, incomplete pass to massive boos from the Linc; 4th and goal pass to D.Jackson touchdown. pass interference offense on Celek, tenyard penalty, replay 4th down; Akers in for field goal: good. 7-3; skins 3 and out, D.Jax w/ good return, 4th and inches after vick qb keeper, Reid goes for it, Weaver gets the first. oldskool DMac rolling out, td pass to D.Jax (wide open) 7-10.

Skins driving, 3rd down and long-- twice in one drive. (3n11; 3n9) 3n2, 27ydpass against Samuel to make it first and goal; td to S.Moss 14-10; 1n20 after penalty, longpass to DJax incomplete, another penalty on screen to McCoy (ineligible man downfield on us) announcers lovin on eagles screenpass. 1n25...2n16..sacked, 3n17, pass deflected, 4n17 to boos. /Skins 3nout/Eagles good drive until shitty pass on 3n3; 4n3 punt; Skins throw interception to Samuel; 3rddown short pass to Maclin and they kick fg 14-13 w/ :42 left in game Skins take over on 45, drive w/ :19 seconds left, Samuel interception again; :07left, FG attempt: good 16-14; Trent Cole sack to end half.


Birds 3nout; Skins drive to score, 21-16; Eagles punt next drive, Skins drive, punt, Eagles drive, punt, Skins... [@ some pt in 3rd, D.Jax goes down]

Skins punt, good tackle by Byron Westbrook; intercepted by Justin Tryon 25 yd fg good 24-16, 8 pt game; penalty on the kickoff, Birds start on their 10, pass on2nd to Avant for 46 yds into Skins territory, another pass play for a 1st to Avant, but he goes down but is okay. Celek FOUR passes that shoulda been caught! (one from Vick) 3n2 on skins'17, McCoy run for first (WE NEED EIGHT NOT THREE i yell at tv) Weaver runplay gain of 12 to one ydline, Buckley runs into endzone 24-22, 2 pt conversion play shovel pass to mccoy second effort gets into endzone! 24-24; Skins drive, Eagles hold them on 3n5, Skins punt; (i think: they never make it look easy) 2 run plays, McCoy for 11, weaver for five, on 2n5, 35yd reception to Maclin, McCoy runplay to 23 ydline, 2n8, Maclin reception for first down @ 17 ydline, Skins timeout

@ 2minute warning,
Birds 3rd and 4 @ 11ydline, McNabb can't find anyone open and slides back to line of scrimmage; Akers takes the field w/ 1:52 left on clock 24-27 w/1:48 left on clock; Fokou tackles Skins kickoff returner @ their 16 ydline; 3rd and ten becomes 4th n short, incomplete. Birds take over w/ 1:05 left


-do not go for onsides kick on opening play unless you are sure you will NOT FUCK IT UP.
-when you are tied at 24 in the fourth quarter against THE REDSKINS and the crowd can still get into the game, you are lucky and you had BETTER do everything you can to try to win.
-emphasis on: MAN, the birds never do make it look easy.
-seriously, Celek? you usually catch the ball pretty well...
-I lose pickin the Birds on the pool minus 8.5 ... unless Eagles DON'T give Skins ball deep in own territory for a soon-to-follow TD to begin the game.
-where are our awesome plays via Vick and McNabb on the field at the same time totally confusing the crap out of our opponents? no? never really the plan? damn.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Four aces : the QB dilemma

At the bookstore party last night, we talked sports. I didn't write last week after the Eagles loss to the Saints for a few reasons. Perhaps the most obvious one is that the Eagles were annihilated and embarrassed by the New Orleans offense. This is not the worst of things. Had our offense under second string QB Kevin Kolb (pronounced "Cobb") been able to hang onto the ball for anything more than a few three and outs after the half, perhaps the Saints would not have had the endless opportunities they had to score 44 points. Give, the Saints offense is excellent and putting up points like that is to be expected from Drew Brees, but the Eagles turned the ball over to them three times. That is sloppy athleticism, and it lost us the game. Give, Kolb threw 31-for-51 for 391 yards, but we still lost, and big time.

Kolb looked confident in the first half of the game, but he deflated after the half. Once the Saints picked him off to score, his confidence never recovered. This is where we talk about why I need to send Andy Reid a text msg: "wtf, andy." We picked up Jeff Garcia between week one and two, who after a McNabb injury in 2006, led us to the playoffs. Give, we had TO that season, but nonetheless, we know Garcia works well with our West Coast offense and has one us games before. Why even pick up Garcia only to allow Kolb to continue to look like the hatchling he is? What is Reid trying to prove? Perhaps Reid should have noticed Kolb's frustration and given him a break. Would that have only broken his confidence worse? If we would have been able to turn the game around, maybe not. Football is not a choose-your-own-adventure book. If you lose 44-22 to the Saints, you can't retrace your steps back to halftime and throw Jeff Garcia in there just to see how it would have turned out.

Perhaps, though, Kolb has got the stuff. He threw, as mentioned, for over three hundred yards last week. But much of that yardage was interrupted by turnovers, adding points to the already-hard-to-beat Saints' score. Kolb could easily, with more real game time experience and a confidence boost, become the big time quarterback he's got hiding in there. But this isn't trial and error, this isn't show and tell. This is Week 3. This is 1-1. The Eagles have on their squad three (count them) former Pro-bowl quarterbacks, and Kolb is not one of them. McNabb is injured, Vick is a recovering ex-con and Garcia is just being re-orientated to the franchise. However, we know these guys have got the stuff to win games for us. If Kevin Kolb does indeed possess the "stuff", should we really be taking chances with him on the field and two healthy former Pro-Bowl QBs watching from the sidelines? Perhaps. Perhaps this is what Kolb needs to prove to us and himself that he can make it in the big leagues. But if we lose again on him, that confidence is going to be diminished a rather unhealthy amount.

With the Kansas City Chiefs starting QB out this week due to an injury, and also the fact that they're the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles strong, healthy defense shouldn't have a difficult time stopping them, but the Eagles need to score points. Let's all hope that Vick's reintroduction to the league this week will turn the McNabb-less game from farce to circus this week, and the Eagles will be flying trapeze-like into the endzone with a baffled Kansas City defense looking on like elephant-dazed spectators. Wildcat, wildcat, wildcat.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fantasy Football, week 1 :: no unicorns, only dragons

I listen to NPR (WNYC in New York) practically all day. Perhaps this highly skews my perspective on, well, everything. But it is rare that I hear anything on this station that I don't at least want to continue to listen to (except the Writer's Almanac every night around 8pm. I don't know why I dislike that so much. Maybe because it interrupts my music with words.) HOWEVER: on a program a few days ago, I believe it was This American Life, they talked about how Fantasy Football has more recently become popular with women. Their reasons for this were a) it's become easier to maintain b) women like to be involved in things that their husbands are involved in and c) their husbands like when women are involved with sports because it makes them feel less guilty when they watch them.

HOLD ON A SECOND. NPR. Seriously?! I never thought I would hear such blatant, blasphemous sexism on my FM radio dial! I was livid. There were a few redeeming moments in the short broadcast. One that said that women were less likely to trade the players that they originally pick, and also that they were more likely to pick players on the teams they remain faithful to. Considering that they probably have gathered more data than I can regarding this, and considering that, well, yes, I do have Brian Westbrook as one of my starting running backs, I kept listening.

I continued to be offended when the announcer said that men don't mind losing to their female counterparts in fantasy football as much as they do to their friends.

I vow, in order to prove NPR's ridiculous broadcast wrong, not only to pay enough attention to my team to know when to switch the players on my bench to my starting line-up, but also to look for free agents and trades that might benefit my team. I decided that I wanted to play in a fantasy league this year because the only place where my football knowledge falters is in knowing the players' names. I can tell you the big shots in the league (such as Tom Brady, Brett Farve, TO) and my opinion on them (good-looking but cocky, omg retire already and DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.) I can tell you the names of players on my team, the positions they play, and whether or not they deserve their jobs. But I can't tell you the name or position of anyone who isn't in the news more than three or four times per season. I vowed that by getting involved in fantasy this year, I would change this, improving my football knowledge.

I wouldn't say, though, that by improving this knowledge I would be reaching the level of a "guy" and his dedication to the sport. Never would I make this about gender. Though I know I am in a minority, a die-hard female football fan, I would say I know more about football than the average person. Say, a penalty flag is thrown: I bet I could tell you why before the guy sitting next to me could. Or what the cost of committing the foul would be. I could tell you the last time my team won the Superbowl, who won the last few and why I like my franchise more than any other. I'm not challenging anyone's manhood or knowledge of the sport, I'm just saying I can hold my own. And for the football fans of my gender, I am saying we are not what the NPR broadcast made us out to be: compliant, submissive women giddily lining up the hottest guys in the league expecting them to earn us points in our fantasy leagues. Really, NPR?

This being said, I won my fantasy gamble this week. We only gamble pride, and I didn't switch my original starting line-up with anyone on my bench. But I won. I beat my cousin by quite a few points. My male cousin. My brother beat another cousin of ours. Perhaps it has less to do with gender than the infuriating NPR broadcast wanted its listeners to think. Perhaps winning is in our blood. Look at Eli and Peyton Manning. Blood. Yes.

I have a bye on week two for fantasy because there are 9 players in our league. But I'll be back week three to let you know my further plans for fantasy domination.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday NYT article on injuries :: recommended

[ Click here to read the nyt article. ]

In the sports section of the New York Times on Sunday, I read an article about the mathematics of injuries in relation to the winningness of a team. Often, teams don't think of injuries as something that makes them win less or more, but this article uses math, everyone's favorite subject until, oh, seventh grade? to discuss the impact that players' injuries (whether it's your QB or Defensive Lineman) have on their teams' records.

I found it immensely interesting, even when the playing-with-numbers turned out-of-my-league. Read it!