Skol? **** ‘Em, Go Philly.

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Today would have been my grandfather’s 88th birthday. Like me, Richard Wilkins Sr. was a Philadelphia fan, four for four, and I often times look back on what that must have been like in his lifetime when judging what it’s like for me. I find it was probably frustrating. For whatever reason, we seem to keep passing our fandom down though.

Philadelphia sports were tough when my grandfather was young. It took 50 years for him to see the Phillies win a World Series, the only he’d see. The Eagles won three NFL titles, all by the time he was 30. The Sixers and Flyers added a few too. All told, Philadelphia won a title roughly every 8 years of his life.

Frankly, I’d take that ratio. I was a month old when the Sixers won in 1983, and I wouldn’t see another champion until the 2008 Phillies won. I’ve lived through four Phillies World Series, of which they won one. The Sixers have been in two NBA Finals, with the only win coming in my infancy. The Flyers have lost four Stanley Cup Finals in my life, winning none. The Eagles? This is NFC title game six. They have one win, and they lost the Super Bowl that year. Technically I’ve seen a title every 17 years. In reality? It’s been worse.

There is no tortured fanbase like the Eagles. It’s been 58 years since they won an NFL Championship. That was not a Super Bowl, as the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, and other local fanbases let us know. The die-hares spend every August calling into WIP, predicting it will be their year. They watch as it never is. Neighboring cities like Baltimore, New York, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Boston get their day. Eagles fans are left with memories of Fog Bowl, Ronde Barber, Jake Delhomme, and even SpyGate.

Tonight as this game kicks off, I sort of know the drill- how can back-up Nick Foles beat the elite Vikings defense. How can this time be different for a blue-collar fanbase that gets picked on for their strong home field advantage. This should be the fifth time I watch the Eagles lose an NFC Championship game. Ask the media. Ask Vegas. Ask the Super Bowl ads with career scrub Case Keenum already in them.

But while we’re waiting for kick off, if you’re cheering for #Skol, and you’re not from Minnesota (or a long time fan), you can go **** yourself. It’s time for this Bird Gang to get it done.

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From 8 AM Mass to MNF: Christmas Takes Years Off My Life

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Six AM on Christmas Morning. I’m 34, so I’m not jumping out of bed for gifts. I don’t have kids, so they aren’t jumping out of bed for gifts. I’m waking up though. I have to be over at the church at 8 am for mass, or I’ll “really disappoint” my 89 year old grandmother. So there I go, getting ready to face the day.

Christmas was really a frustrating affair yesterday. Up at the crack of dawn, to bed after the Philadelphia Eagles finished off an incredibly frustrating win over the Raiders. In between I listened to the insane rantings of 80 and 90 somethings, drank just enough beer to numb that noise, and didn’t get to watch my Sixers win on TV (So I streamed it on my phone as best I could, which wasn’t good enough, but what else could I do when grandma didn’t have ESPN?). I figured out my new phone well enough to work it, even if I still have a lot to learn. By the time the dust settled on the latest round of insanity with the elders, it was back to home, and as I said, the Eagles didn’t provide the kind of low-stress entertainment I had expected. They instead let the Raiders hang around all the way until the end of the 19-10 win. To say the day was long, and probably took about three years off of my life, is an understatement.

Even so, I’m grateful for the day. These elder relatives won’t be around forever, but they’ve already been around with me for over three decades. I’ve seen too many other friends lose people this holiday season to be ungrateful for what I have, even if it did drive me within an inch of death yesterday. While I might prefer Thanksgiving and New Year’s to Christmas, I still can’t say I’d trade this for anything else in the world.