In an effort to follow the Eagles on their Manifest destiny of self-purported greatness, I’ll hit the road to enjoy the Delaware Valley on NFL Sundays. This week’s stop? Well, it’s not the road. Home sweet home.
Week 3: Glassboro, NJ
The Scene: I didn’t want to play the house card but this was a special occasion that I committed to beforehand months in advance. Here is a weird fun fact about yours truly. I’ve lived in my home for five years and never had my high school friends over once. Considering I’ve known them dating back to my middle school days in the early 90s and have been in a fantasy football league together since 1995, it was strange that it never happened. You have different friends, parties, work conflicts, or you’d rather sit at home wearing a hooded sweatshirt and Adidas sweatpants while watching football for 10 hours straight. You know, normal people stuff. We tried to get together a few times but it never happened or we’d just watch it at their far more viewer-friendly homes. Finally, last June I arbitrarily mentioned the Arizona game as a possibility and it happened. So, the group getting together is akin to another housewarming party for me. My friends wouldn’t be alone though. Enter the wives, kids, clowns, and barnyard animals…the circus arrived to town.
Menu: Meatballs, pizza, buffalo chicken dip, nachos, potato chips, popcorn, broccoli bites, beer…and lots of it.
Game: Philadelphia at Arizona. The Kevin Kolb Bowl. Revenge is a dish best served Kolb. Kolb cuts. SuperKolb. Great, if I’m going to watch Kolb for three hours, clearly the Eagles should reward the fans with a win…right…RIGHT!?!
Whenever you bring someone into your house for the first time, it’s a dog and pony show as they try to get acclimated to the environment and the host tries to make sure they’re comfortable.
Luckily, the cavalry began to arrive about 90 minutes before kickoff.
My pal Ron brought his wife, another friend, and his two-year-old son. Also along for the ride was a 30-pack of Coronas and fresh limes in tow.
When you’re a single dude, married couples can be cool to hang out with at parties because they know what to do in the kitchen at social functions where you’re rolling over 10 deep.
They just think of things that don’t cross your mind at any point.
For example, Mr. and Mrs. Ron immediately attacked the kitchen. The two biggest priorities were the Coronas and the buffalo chicken dip.
Ron: “Where’s your cutting board?”
Me: “Cutting board??”
Ron: “Yeah, for the limes.”
Me: “Oh. Ummmmm….”
Ron: “Do you have a paper plate at least?”
Me: “Yes, I can do that!”
You know what I cut on? Paper towels, paper plates, and saucers. That cutting board stuff is for The Food Network.
Besides watching Philly’s terrible o-line play and inability to cover Larry Fitzgerald (again), the biggest challenge was making sure my place wasn’t a hazard to kids.
Ron’s two-year-old son wore out a path from the living room to the freezer. He evidently enjoys ice. At one point, I went to grab something out of the freezer. What is he doing? Eating ice of my rug. Good grief kid.
Later, on multiple occasions, he kept taking my vacuum cleaner out of different rooms and bringing it into the living room as if he kid wanted to start cleaning.
Alas, I’m trying to watch the Eagles get smoked by Kevin Kolb, make sure kids aren’t eating things off the floor, and play dutiful host.
The last family to arrive was New York Chris, his wife, and 18-month old daughter. Of course, NYC loathes the Birds and arrived just in time for a critical stretch.
As kids are known to do, they find things in a house and fixate on them. NYC’s daughter decided to hangout at the coffee table and play with her toys.
Meanwhile, I sat off to her right.
By this point, six seconds remained in the first half with the Eagles at the Arizona 1 and trailing 17-0. During the Andy Reid era, the Eagles are a horrific mess closing at halves.
Whether it’s Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick, the same problems persist over the last 13 years.
So, the potential for disaster was in the air.
When Vick dropped back to throw, it was like a car crash you could see coming and you knew it was going to be ugly. Arizona’s Kerry Rhodes shot in, destroyed Vick, and forced a game-changing fumble that was recovered by James Sanders and returned for a touchdown.
As soon as Vick coughed up the ball, my guttural roar couldn’t be contained.
Unfortunately, NYC’s daughter didn’t approve of my screaming like a banshee near her along with the other grown ups. As James Sanders strutted into the end zone, the collective yelling forced her to begin balling her eyes out.
I’m with ya kid.
While we all hopelessly rooted for the Eagles to wake up and get their act together, I noticed something odd out of the corner of my eye.
NYC’s daughter was back at it again. She dipped her hand into my drink.
At first, NYC’s baby mama thought it was funny.
NYCBM: “That’s water right?”
Me: “Ummm, no. It’s a vodka tonic…”
Once that sentence left my mouth, NYCBM immediately grabbed her child to wash her hands off.
Good thing DYFS wasn’t on-hand for this get-together. They’d knock my door down with a sledgehammer to take the kids away to a safer locale.
Once NYC’s kid cleaned up, she went back to the table and began messing around with popcorn before exiting at the third quarter’s end.
As the fourth quarter started, it appeared the Eagles and my party would go quietly into the night.
Or so I thought.
Philly squeezed in two rather pointless field goals to make it 24-6 heading into the fourth. Of course, this did nothing to dull the anger in the room.
In the game’s waning moments, Ron got up and angrily sat back down on my couch when I heard a distinct snap, crackle, and pop.
The middle seat of my couch snapped. As a point of reference, Ron runs about 6’3 and over 200 pounds. He’s a big dude.
His size, mixed with the inexplicable wooden framework of the middle seat, was a terrible combination.
He felt badly. However, I reminded him this was a long time coming. I originally broke the couch two years prior in December 2010 while watching the Patriots dismember the Jets on Monday Night Football.
After numerous fixes, parties, random guests, and more fixes by my Dad, the couch’s framework appeared to be stable.
So much for that pipe dream.
The couch’s destruction served as a reminder of a conversation I had with a friend weeks earlier.
When we talked about this party during Week 1, my buddy Jay had some words of wisdom for me.
“We are going to destroy your house.”
While he was joking, his words proved to be prophetic.
Unfortunately, the Eagles couldn’t follow through with that notion in Arizona.
FINAL SCORE: CARDINALS 27, EAGLES 6