I took my older son to his first Philadelphia Eagles game on New Year’s Day. It was the team’s last one of the year after blowing a few games midseason. So it didn’t mean much for the team, but it meant a lot to us.
We had a good time as the Birds thumped the Redskins 34-10. Even though Shady McCoy didn’t suit up, we saw plenty of big plays from other Eagles. Mike Vick threw for 300-plus yards and three touchdowns – a bomb to DeSean Jackson and others to Brent Celek and Chad Hall, who jumped into the stands below us after his score. Jeremy Macklin also caught eight balls for over 100 yards and Shady’s backup Dion Lewis ran one in.
Despite missing the playoffs and going 8-8, the Eagles finished the season with four straight wins and look like they could do something special next year if they carry this momentum forward.
But it wasn’t just the win that made the game enjoyable for my son and me.
Before the game started, we were jamming to the Eagles drummers in the Headhouse Square area. That marching band drum line sound really gets you pumped up for football.
The weather cooperated for us. It was a chilly 50 degrees that felt colder in the shade, but that beats the freezing cold you would expect for a Jan. 1 game.
We joked about how long it took us to walk up the zig-zag ramps to our seats in section 217. We decided that Spiderman wouldn't have to deal with the long walk.
We wondered how the guys who threw balls around with the players during practice got their jobs and what in the name of God the people were doing as they stood at the very top of stadium above the seats during the National Anthem.
We were in a Family Section, which means no beer allowed, so there weren’t many drunks. But we did have a few hecklers. We laughed at some of the knuckleheads near us who bashed Andy Reid after every botched play. (They were remarkably quiet on long-yardage and touchdown plays.)
From what I heard, the food was great. I watched enviously with a Diet Coke in my hand as my son stuffed his face with hot dogs, sodas and Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab Fries. (Stupid New Year’s resolution.)
We even got a little mischievious together.
In the second half, we met one of his buddies in the concourse and snuck down to his empty seats near his in Section 138. The players on the sidelines were only 40 feet away and former-Eagle great Michael Westbrook had seats a few rows away. It was awesome.
My son's first Eagles game was a great day for us and so were all the Phillies and Flyers games we’ve been to together. In a few weeks, I’m taking my younger son to his first Sixers game. They're playing the Bulls Feb. 1 and I’m sure that’ll be great too.
That’s what got me thinking about how important Philly sports are to those who live in this area – not just for city residents, but also for those of us who live in Bensalem and Levittown; Montgomery County and Delaware County; and even in Pennsauken, Marlton and the rest of South Jersey.
Philadelphia sports help families and friends throughout the area make strong bonds together. That’s one reason we love our Philly teams so much and that’s why I decided to start writing this column. An Eagles game on the first day of 2012, my son's first, seemed a perfect subject for the first column.
Hope you like it.