To be an Eagles fan, you have to be able to handle the greatest of highs and the lowest of lows.
You have to expect to spend as much time cheering outside of Lincoln Financial Field, or before that at Veterans Stadium, in the dead of winter not being able to feel your toes and feel great about it, as you spend in your living room threatening to throw hot wings at your television in frustration.
So it only makes sense that I first fell in love with the Eagles at the most crushing defeat in my memory.
On January 19th, 2003, National Championship Game was played for the first time in Philadelphia since 1981. It was before this frantic crowd of 66,713 that the Eagles fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I was sitting in the same 50-yard-line seats that my grandfather had held throughout my childhood. I was wearing the same Eagles MAB Paint-sponsored Eagles hat that I always wore for luck. And yet, after the first and only Eagles touchdown of the day by runningback Deuce Staley, I finally felt what it was like to be an Eagles fan.
Disappointment and euphoria.
The next year, in a brand-new stadium, the Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl. I watched the game at 3 a.m. from a home in France while I was studying abroad in college. I cried at the end.
Four years later, with an injury-riddled runningback and a sidelined quarterback, the Eagles came back and once again made a playoff appearance.
To cover the Eagles is to get to write about the unexpected. To interview fans cheering for the Poker faced and overweight head coach. To be taken aback by new blitzes and Hail Mary plays.
Diehard fans of any sport often compare their affection to their team as an addiction; they are hooked on the adrenaline rush of the victory. When a team consistently surprises you, even when they have been counted out, the drug is all the more potent and impossible to kick.
I’ve learned to put on my lucky charms, hunker down on the couch, and enjoy the highs every touchdown.