How My Husband Raised an Eagles Fan Born in the South

Growing up, I knew no other team than the Redskins. In fact, for a long time I thought they must play the Blueskins, the Grayskins, the Greenskins. I heard a lot of words I shouldn’t have heard and I learned to stay away from the den on Sunday afternoons. There was always a lot of screaming and cheering and the beating of hands on my dad’s old recliner.

If I had a favorite team, the Redskins was it. It was all I ever knew.

My dad walked me down the aisle only because I didn’t marry a Cowboys fan. My husband-to-be rooted for the Eagles, a true born-and-bred fan from Philly who watched the team lose its only Super Bowl appearance at that point in 1981.

When we had our son in North Carolina in 2003 and Eagles onesies started rolling in, I told my husband it was just possible our son could be a Panthers fan. I wanted to plant that seed early. I didn’t want him to get his hopes up.

Through those early years, my son changed favorite teams as often as he changed his favorite color. He liked the Buccaneers, the Titans, the Jaguars, and the Vikings. He liked nearly every team but the Eagles. He’d get excited about football on Sunday afternoons. His dad put game gear on—the same shirt and socks with holes in each foot—and pumped up spirits with “E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!” My son seemed excited about the prospect of watching football, watching TV. But ten minutes in, he climbed off the couch and found something else to do.

More than anything, my husband just wanted my son to watch football with him. “Be careful what you wish for,” I told him.

My husband told my son stories of staying up late watching Eagles football when he was a kid. He told him about crying when the Eagles lost the Super Bowl. He was in third grade at the time. He told him stories about the infamous crowd and how they were known for booing Santa one year.

It wasn’t until around second grade that my son started to pay attention to football. Each year he’d watch the games a bit longer, snuggled into his dad’s arm. Every whistle blown, every flag thrown, my son asked why. Every player down, every player on the bench, my son asked why. Every player’s name, every player’s stats, my son wanted to know how was that spelled again and where is he from? How much does he weigh? What team did he play on before this one?

I’d chuckle in the corner as my husband tried to watch the game and hear the commentators and refs.

During every halftime, every commercial if he had it his way, my son grabbed a football and asked his dad to go outside. He had to play his own version of a game.

The next morning, the first thing my son would ask was the score from the late game. In the car he’d ask me how to spell a player’s name or who I thought would make it to the playoffs. Did I know it was Ronnie Brown’s birthday? My husband had created a monster.

Over time my son began to favor the Eagles, wearing the jersey his grandparents gave him to school every Monday after they played, talking trash with the other kids about their favorite teams.

Now after school, I’m the fill-in for Dad. I can throw a pretty long spiral and it’s only taken two years to get there. My son is a pretty tough coach.

He mentioned the other day that he dreamed the Eagles won the Super Bowl. He keeps up with their stats and thinks they have a good shot at the playoffs this year. Nick Foles is doing pretty well.

He still watches every game on Sunday with his dad. He still asks a million questions. He still knows everyone’s name. Now he keeps an Eagles roster. And he still goes outside to throw the ball around with his dad during breaks. He wears his lucky Eagles jersey, shorts, socks, and underwear when they play. It’s been working, knock wood.

My husband didn’t create a monster. He created a fan. And a bond.

football

Down here, my son gets questioned a lot about why he is an Eagles fan. The answer is always “because of my dad.”

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24 Comments

Filed under Fatherhood, Uncategorized

24 responses to “How My Husband Raised an Eagles Fan Born in the South

  1. I know where your Dad is coming from. Around here (DC) you may not always be a Skins fan, but you definitely hate the Cowboys! 😉

  2. I can relate to this so much – it’s as if you were writing about my family. My older boy got into baseball in a big way last year. I didn’t specifically encourage him to root for my teams but it would be hard not to be influenced.
    Anyway, welcome your son to Eagles fandom from me.
    I wrote a post for a site that you will definitely appreciate – very related to this. Check it out: http://goodmenproject.com/families/baseball-fan-wwh/

  3. K. Eley

    Very cute. It is so sweet to see a young boy and his dad talk about and play football. My son is just getting interested in football. When he had barely opened his eyes Tuesday morning, he asked if the Panthers had won the game Monday night. I see what I’m in for. 🙂

    • I’ve never been into sports but I know more about football now than I’ve ever cared to. Before my eyes are open in the morning, my son is already talking football and rattling off players’ names at me. And how should I know what they eat before a game? Get ready.

  4. Love this! I am from New Orleans, but live in Ohio. I have created a Saints fan in my youngest. It is fun to bond over a team. I thought I would lose him to another team (not the Browns, but maybe the Steelers – lol) but he is still a Saints dudes. 🙂

  5. Heritage dictates allegiance more than geography. I grew up between two rival Florida teams, but we were UGA fans because both sides of my family grew up in Georgia. Funny how we rooted for college teams more than professional ones.

  6. Lisa

    Those damn northerners. I got one of those at my house that roots for the Patriots. Ugh.

  7. “How much do they weigh?”

    That made me laugh out loud. Is that a stat people actually know?

    • Yup. Weight, height. I think that’s something that’s common knowledge. My son also asks what they eat before and during a game. Really. The things a mother is expected to know.

  8. I’m not even a football fan, and that post moved me!

    • Thanks. I really don’t get into it either. I just can’t watch sports on TV. If I can go to a game, that’s one thing, but games on TV don’t do much for me. I like the whole atmosphere of a game. Still, if I have to choose a team to root for, I have my favorites.

  9. Hey? What’s wrong with the Cowboys? Or the Texans? LOL

    I’m with you; I’d rather watch a sports even live (rather than on TV), and if I miss it, I can always watch the highlights (painfully, or joyfully) over, and over, and over on Monday…

    Cool that you can throw with your son! I think it’s a darned useful skill to have, even if a kid doesn’t play team sports (like mine). My boys AND girls know how to throw a spiral. I honed my throwing arm and tag football skills in the streets growing up with neighbor kids — my decent “girlie” long spiral apparently impressed my husband-to-be well enough to seal the deal.

    • Your dad’s comment above is very heart-warming and a nice touch to your post! “Great parenting” tends to be passed on, I think. 🙂

    • I was waiting for a Cowboys fan to comment! Nothing is wrong with Texans! As for the Cowboys, I don’t know. Around these parts, you just learn to root for someone else, including whomever they are playing. But I think the Skins and Cowboys are big rivals there too, right? It’s not just an East Coast thing?

      • They are big rivals indeed, but I don’t follow sports at all anymore. I do still love to throw with my husband and kids. Especially in the yard or at the beach.

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