Sunday, October 11, 2009

The road to Vick-tory

“I was going to get Evan this cute little Eagles jersey, but now I just can’t bring myself to do it,” my wife Kara said recently.

I understood why without asking. With Michael Vick now wearing the jersey that we once would have proudly purchased to begin our son’s indoctrination into liking everything that we do, starting with professional sports and leading to politics, religion and pizza toppings, we’ve been forced to think about whether a person can be both a dog lover and an Eagle lover.

“Maybe I’ll get him a Giants jersey instead,” she said.

“That’s not funny. Don’t even joke about that,” I said.

But I understand where she’s coming from. While Kara enjoys having her postseason hopes crushed annually just as much as every other Eagles fan, she’s from Binghamton, NY, a place that cares much more about Italian food than pro football, which might mean that its priorities are pretty well squared away.

While Kara could probably give up on the Eagles without surrendering too much personal investment, I’d have to give up on a lifetime of caring more about Randall Cunningham’s gold-tipped shoelaces than my own fashion sense, which is probably why it took me two years to notice that I was the only kid in middle school still wearing tie-dye.

My hero growing up was “Arkansas Fred” Barnett, who caught that impossible 95-yard touchdown pass against the Bills in 1990 almost entirely due to the sheer strength of my adoration. The biggest villain of my childhood was head coach Rich Kotite, who committed the unspeakable sin of making the Eagles boring, a problem that I might be willing to trade for today.

When I was twelve, I waited outside the Eagles’ training camp, grabbing autographs on my dad’s old football from as many players as I could accost. The only legible signature when I got home was from Izel Jenkins, the cornerback whose nickname was “Toast” because he got burned so often. I’m not sure if that made the football worth more or less, but either way I never threw it around the front yard again. Mostly because I was in the basement playing ExciteBike on the Nintendo, but still.

These days, though, I feel guilty for trying to goad Kara into still rooting for the Eagles. If we hadn’t both said the words, “I hope nobody signs Michael Vick,” the day before the Eagles signed him, I might be able to broach the subject now without reeking of rationalization.

We both expected the boos greeting Vick’s first appearance on the field to show up on a seismometer, but it seems as though the silence has been much louder. Apparently, everyone has decided that it would be much easier to stay angry at the guy if he wasn’t so danged good at football.

“How about a Jets jersey?” Kara asked. “They look a lot like Eagles jerseys if you squint.”

Maybe that will be the compromise for now. Kara will still watch Eagles games, but not with the same level of enthusiasm. And I can’t shake the feeling that the dog is shooting us sideways glances.

But while Kara might be a lost cause for now, fortunately for me, I’m very weak-willed, the kind of person who enthusiastically embraces vegetarianism between meals. Generally, I can keep a boycott going for exactly as long as it remains convenient and cost-effective for me to do so, and taking a moral stand against the Birds sure doesn’t sound like very much fun.

But if Michael Vick pulls off any impossible plays this season, it’ll be a safe bet that it was due to something other than the sheer strength of my adoration.

You can wax Mike Todd’s nostalgia at


  1. I hate that degenerate. My dad went to the Eagles game last night and then came over right after. If it wasn't for his badass leather sweater he was wearing, I would've kicked him in the junk.

  2. They should throw him into that ring they have in Idiocracy! (Vick, not Perlson's dad).

  3. ... I also notice that the page counter at the bottom is precariously close to 100K. What does visitor #100,000 get? Something cool?

  4. I'm gonna hit refresh until I get the 100,000 visits customer award.

  5. Perlson -- Does your dad really still wear leather sweaters? Does he buy them at JC Penneys or the butcher?

    The Serge -- Dude, I'd noticed that a while ago and forgotten about it. Whoever's planning on being the 100,000th hit, please let me know so I can put a net full of balloons on your ceiling.

  6. Dude,
    Leather sweaters are make a comeback in a big bad way. Thank god my dad hasn't gotten rid of any of his clothes since 1989. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Your Minoxidil gift card is in the mail.