A girl, her heart and Sundays in the fall…

12 09 2011

A man.

A release date.

May 20th, 2009.  Mike Vick was released from prison for his heinous acts of fighting dogs and killing them.  And also, in my mind, for helping to perpetrate the stereotype against pit bulls, though, last I checked that isn’t a legal offense (regardless of what I think).  At any rate, he was out.  He did most all the time he was sentenced to, did pretty much the rest of it under house confinement.

He made it clear he wanted to play football again.  I was incensed.  He wanted to PLAY football again.  How dare he?  Yes, he’s a football player.  That was his profession before going to jail and the argument was that he should be able to do it after.  An accountant who goes to jail for dog-fighting can come out of jail and go back to being an accountant…  a carpenter could go back to being a carpenter… but the fact that THIS man wanted to come back and play football outraged me.   
He said he was sorry and changed?  Fine, go get a job as a high school football coach or even a college assistant coach, whatever…  but don’t think you can come back on the football field as a player and have the opportunity to earn millions of dollars after what you did.  No, sir.  
I couldn’t even imagine a team that would be willing to take on the fan backlash of signing this guy.  I couldn’t think of a team that would touch him with a 10-ft-pole and risk that kind of outcry from the people who ARE the bread and butter of a franchise… the people that pay to come to the games.. buy the merchandise… and buy the concessions.  I couldn’t even imagine…
August 14th, 2009 – The day Michael Vick signed a 2 year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.  MY Philadelphia Eagles.  I will admit, I sat down and cried.  Literally.  I yelled for a few minutes.  Said some things my mother wouldn’t be proud of.  And then sat down on the couch… and cried.  How… why… I knew someone, some team would give him a chance.  But why here?  Why us?  Why MY team?  It was the “not in my back yard” mentality.  I was.. devastated.  
Looking at him in an Eagles uniform made me sick.  When I saw him, all I could see were the pictures of the ravaged dogs.   And the knowledge coming forward again and again in my mind of the countless others already buried in his backyard.  Honestly, there are times, that’s still all I can see when I look at him.
I was faced with a huge decision.  And I know non-sports people don’t get this. But for several months… most of the 2009-10 season, actually, I battled with myself.  I tried to reason with myself and I cursed myself every Sunday I found myself getting excited about the game… and held myself in contempt when game time found my butt on the couch ready to watch the players do battle..  
I was bleeding Eagles green and white long before Michael Vick got here and I will continue to long after he’s left.  I can’t change it.  I can’t hide from it.  And I won’t pretend to not be excited when he completes those amazing passes to break open a game or when he runs for 30 yards and you can visibly see the competition deflate.  
I’ve watched him for the past two years and while in my heart I KNOW he’d still be fighting dogs if he didn’t get caught.  Is probably only sorry BECAUSE he got caught.  And for all I know may do it again someday?  He’s doing the right things now.  He’s acting the right way now.  He’s leading this team in a way we haven’t seen for over a decade.  And judge me for it, if you must, but I’m glad he’s here.  I’m glad he’s turned his life around.  I’m glad to see what 18 months in prison did.  I think…  or I HOPE it gave him some perspective, showed him a little something of what matters in life and the sacrifices that come with taking the wrong road.
And it may be naive of me…  but when he thinks of what matters…  and the sacrifices made at his own hand…  I don’t think it’s dollars that come to his mind.  
I’m sure I’m being idealistic…  
but it’s hard to argue with a girl, her heart and Sundays in the Fall.

Respect given = respect received.

5 10 2010

I know this post is not going to appeal to a lot of my regular readers, but dammit, I’m irritated. 

I’m sick of how Philadelphia fans are viewed in relation to Donovan McNabb.  Especially a friend of mine who is a Redskins fan who is THRILLED at having McNabb and I guess he should be.  What was their record last year?  4 – 12 and placed 4th in the division…  out of…  four?  I guess Redskins fans WOULD be thrilled.   However, just because you’re thrilled doesn’t mean that the Philadelphia fans don’t have some insight into the world that is, Donovan McNabb – Quarterback.   This friend of mine comes back at me with every valid point I make about McNabb.   Today I just wanted to ask him if he was a Yankees or Mets fan and he responded with “Neither, but I am a Redskins fan.”  With a smiley face. (We hadn’t spoken yet about Sunday’s skirmish).   Oh, I might add that he thinks I’m under the illusion that the Eagles are going to make it to the post-season.  Yeah…  I’m a realist.  Don’t belittle my sports knowledge.  Although looking around the NFL…  who knows… half the teams out there are 2 -2, so maybe there’s a chance, but the fact is that I’m not some silly girl Eagles fan that thinks my team is going to win no matter what.  Hell, we don’t even know who our quarterback is.  And no…  for what we want to do, we should NOT have kept Donovan McNabb. 

At any rate below, is my email response to my friend’s one sentence email.   I’m sure it was more than he was expecting.  Oh and he’s also one of these that is still harping on the Eagles fans booing Santa and cheering Michael Irvin’s career ending injury.  Neither of those are true, but I’ll save them for another day. 

So without further delay…  here is my reply.  And everyone out there who just doesn’t get it???  Listen the hell up.  And if you’re still a Philadelphia fan hater…  you can suck it.  With sauce and whiz. 

I know you are (a Redskins fan…  remember what I said his email said?).  I made the decision to not discuss the game with you because everything I would have to say, you would disagree with and I’ve been in your shoes.  I’ve seen the wins come that have very little to do with the prowess of the quarterback and I’ve, of course, seen the losses come that – more often than not – have everything to do with the prowess of the quarterback.  I’ve been there and defended McNabb and stood up for him and put on my grand armor of plausible deniability and gone to battle with those who would have bad-mouthed him.  And it lasted.  For a while.  It lasted about 2 years from 2005 – 2007 (the Superbowl broke me down and the Terrell Owens debacle finished off the job…  we could have won the next year if our “leader” had acted like a leader and not like a 4-year-old who wants all the attention)  and then I just couldn’t do it anymore.  So I know that talking with you about the new ‘Skins quarterback is fruitless, because I’ve heard your arguments.  They sound a lot like mine used to.  And no one could have told me differently either.   So I’m not going to try.   Bottom line…  the guy is done.  Shanahan is terrified to let him throw the ball.   It couldn’t have been clearer of they’d said so in skywriting during the game.

Do you know what ELSE I saw that day?  Philadelphia fans being classy upon introduction of McNabb and welcoming back the best quarterback since Bednarik, to play for our city.   When he came out for his opening drive they booed.  But not at introduction.  In fact, I believe he got a standing ovation that lasted more than a couple minutes.   He would have enjoyed his time here a lot more had he taken two minutes to understand the fans here.  We’ve had other players take the time.  And to this day they love us.  Westbrook, Dawkins, Ike Reese, Hugh Douglas… they all bothered to get to know us and they love us.  He never bothered.  He never took the time.  He had a chip on his shoulder the whole time he was here.  He wasn’t booed at the draft ELEVEN YEARS AGO…  the CHOICE was.  People wanted Ricky Williams.  That’s who it seemed like they were taking, that’s who we’d all been lead to believe they were taking.  People were EXCITED about it and a big group of Ricky Williams fans went up to the draft and when they announced that it was Donovan that crew was shocked and dismayed and they booed.  They booed the CHOICE, not the MAN.  And that’s something he never bothered to understand and he kept his panties in a bunch over it for the entire 11 years.   We didn’t like him because he didn’t even pretend to like us.   Not because he couldn’t play.  That’s only been the reason the last few years.  We wanted to love him.  He did great things while he was here.  No one denies that.  But he didn’t care about us.  He didn’t respect us.  And therefore… the feeling was mutual. 

Hamlet’s Mistress