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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Guarded Hope On A Sleepless Night

I cannot sleep. It is 5:49 a.m. and I haven't been asleep yet. I haven't slept for more than four hours at a time since Monday afternoon. I went to bed over a half hour ago, but I didn't sleep. So I got back up.

I am nervous. The Eagles are playing in the Super Bowl in three days. I am going to Jacksonville for the game. Not to the game itself, but for the game. Tickets are expensive.

I leave Los Angeles tonight on a redeye - maybe not having slept will help the flight go a little quicker - and I'm returning on Monday afternoon. Which is why I've been up all night. I have a memo due on Monday, which means it needs to be done today, which means it was written in the wee hours of the morning.

I have no idea how I will feel on the return flight on Monday. Exhausted, no doubt. But will I be satisfied? Ecstatic? Elated? Overjoyed? Depressed? Morose?

I am worried that I'm setting myself up for a big letdown, flying across the country to be closer to my team while they play a game that most experts say they will not win. Maybe if I worry, if I don't expect a win, I won't be disappointed.

But I believe that the Eagles can win on Sunday. I know they're good enough to beat the Patriots. I am positive that every player who puts on the midnight green uniform has it within them to play the perfect game. And I don't know if it will happen.

I want to walk around Florida this weekend with my Eagles hat and jersey on and see other fans with Eagles hats, shirts, jerseys - 5, 20, 36, 81, 93 - and nod to them knowingly, with that confidence that a winner has. But the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl, have only been to one - before I was born - and haven't won a championship in 44 years.

I worry that I will walk, dazed, out of a bar on Sunday night while Patriots fans enjoy the diminished celebration that comes with a third championship in four years. I hope it doesn't happen that way.

I want to cry as Donovan kneels out the final seconds of the game clock, grin as T.O. mugs for the camera while confetti rains down, exult as Andy Reid accepts the Lombardi Trophy.

I want to sing Fly, Eagles, Fly in unison with my friends, with a bar full of Eagles fans, as millions of fans sing the same song around the country.

I am so hopeful, and still so cautious in my hope.

I can't wait to go to Jacksonville.


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