Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super anxiety

Well, the day is finally here.

Super Bowl Sunday, and my favorite NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles, making only their third Super Bowl appearance in 52 years, go against the nearly legendary, nearly mystical aweness of the New England Patriots.

This will be the Pats' eighth Super Bowl in 17 years. A true dynasty. Truer, even, than the Dallas Wannabe a Dynasty (five Super Bowl championships) or the actual Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty (six championships).

The Eagles, a team I've followed since 1964, have zero championships.

So I woke up a few minutes ago a bit agitated. I mean, it's 6:30 in the morning and I've already yelled at the cat. My wife is still in bed, under the covers, and may not make an appearance until Monday. Very wise of her. Kickoff is still 11 hours away and I'm pacing through the house, my anxiety and insecurities on my sleeve.

Usually, we have my good friend Donnie Roberts over to watch the game. We've done this for at least 10 consecutive years now. Kim makes her famous five-bean chili and a sinfully rich chocolate mousse for dessert and Donnie brings a six-pack of assorted craft beers, and we have a great time.

But this year, Donnie feels my pain, somehow peering into my anxiety and knowing why he didn't get the invitation this time. He said he understood.

"I know your favorite team is in the Super Bowl," he said after I finally made an impossibly late offer for him to come over. "I just figured you'd lock the door, lower the blinds and keep to yourself. I was the same way when my team, the the Redskins (three championships, by the way), were in the Super Bowl. That was in 1991.

"I know what you're going through."

Kim and I took him his chili and dessert yesterday. You gotta keep your friends close, even when you need to keep them away.

We were also invited by our porch party friends to go on a winery run today with the promise that we'd be back by game time, but I turned that down, too. Hey, it's my misery. I can do what I want with it.

I tried to reverse the funk when Kim and I had a cheese steak for lunch yesterday. It was okay, but the bread wasn't quite right. Nobody in the south gets the bread right. It's usually too crusty. You need bread from the Amorosa Bakery in Philly to make the correct cheese steak. It has an unique Philly taste and it holds the sandwich together like no other bread can. It's culinary magic.

I don't have any Eagles paraphernalia to wear (I don't think my Phillies cap counts, but wearing it might be my go-to option as a last resort). There's some soft-spread Philadelphia brand cream cheese in the refrigerator, but I honestly don't know what to do with that. War paint, perhaps?

But here we are. Prior to the start of the season the Eagles were predicted to finish 8-8, so at 13-3 the team has far exceeded expectations. I figure the game could go in several different ways: a blowout by the Patriots; a last-second comeback by the Patriots, or an impossible Eagles victory as the result of some fluke play that nobody saw coming.

I'm counting on the Eagles defense to carry this game. We'll see. Eagles 24, Patriots 21.

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