Two years ago today, on a cold Saturday night in Long Island, after coming back from dinner, my date and I went to visit friends in the neighborhood. What we, nor anyone else in the house at the time knew, was that outside an ice storm had started, one that was not forecast to take place. As we said goodbye, my date stepped out, slipped, and grabbed the railing, avoiding injury. I stepped out, my feet slipped forward and I fell straight back, the back of my head hitting the concrete. Bleeding like I had never bled before, my friends called an ambulance and I was transported to the local hospital.
When all was said and done, I ended up with 5 staples and a nasty concussion. As I often say to people who never had a concussion, you know what a concussion is, but you don’t understand a concussion till you’ve had a concussion. Besides causing symptoms like blurred vision and headaches-I actually had a constant headache for the first 3 weeks-it wreaks havoc on your mental and emotional status.
Fast forward, by May 1st feeling much better, I declared myself mostly recovered. The one thing I was not able to do however was write. Every time I tried, my mind darted all over the place. While I feared I might have lost the ability to do what I enjoy most, I rationalized it by saying to myself, if this is the worst to come from this, I’m a lucky guy. As fortune would have it, by July I was writing again and could then say that I had completely recovered.
Many people go through incidents much worse than this one, but nevertheless I find it important to share. And here is why. When I was in the hospital the Emergency Room Dr. looked at my head and said “Good Job!” When I replied, “Why? Is it not that bad?”, she replied, “No. Good job that you’re here. Many people here don’t need to be. You do need to be here.” Later when the CT Scan returned showing no major damage the same Dr. told me that she was relieved to see the results of the scan because she was not sure I would be OK until that point. What that told me, combined with the slight recollection I have of the impact of the fall, is that had I fallen just a little bit harder or maybe at a different angle, I would either have had long term or permanent damage or even worse, it would have taken my life. So as I sit here 2 years later, now living in South Florida where the only ice I see is in the bottom of my Scotch glass, and feeling healthier than I have for many years, the gratitude I have to God for allowing me to be where I am today needs to be shared with as many people as possible.
This is why I am sharing this today. Because I can now look back at 2 years ago and recognize how fortunate I am.
As Super Bowl LVII approaches, I find it worth mentioning that when the game begins I will be watching for and cheering on the one and only team that has not let me down over the past 26 plus years. That team is the Philadelphia Eagles.
I lived in New York from July 1985 till January 2022. On October 27, 1986 the New York Mets won the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Now that you know where my baseball loyalties lie, you may or may not know that the Mets have not won the World Series since that day. So we can check the Mets off as a team that has come through for me.
Next, we have the Philadelphia Flyers. Having lived in Philly between the 1969 and 1976, I can confidently say that if you were a fan of Ice Hockey during the 2 straight years the Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975 you are a Flyers fan for life. But with no Stanley Cup victory since, it might as well be called a life sentence.
I am a New York Knicks fan. No need to elaborate there.
I lived in London from 1976- 1980 at which time I picked Tottenham Hotspur as my team. I didn’t pick Chelsea, a team that has won the Premier League 5 times in the 21st century. I also didn’t pick Arsenal, a team that has won the league 3 times since the late 90s and is on track to win it again this year. No. The London team I chose to support is Tottenham Hotspur, arguably the most consistently mediocre team in the Premier League, and certainly less successful than the other 2 London teams I just referenced. In fact, the last time they won the championship was 1961, when I wasn’t born yet and the Premier League was yet to be formed. Thanks a lot Spurs.
And finally, as a fan of international Soccer, and the son of Dutch parents, I have had the pleasure of cheering on The Netherlands men soccer team, widely referred as the best team to never win the World Cup. While their victories to get to those finals brough me some joy, ultimately, they too let me down in the game that mattered most.
So that brings me to the Philadelphia Eagles. When the Eagles beat the New England Patriots and Tom Brady 5 years ago, they became the first team since 1986 to give me a championship to celebrate. Since then, while all the other teams I root for have been back to their old tricks, the Eagles have rebuilt to the point of being considered the better of the 2 teams to play in Super Bowl LVII. Although I am perfectly aware that the Kansas City Chief and Patrick Mahomes, coached by former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid are no joke, just getting to this point is something that brings me and many other fans of the team great joy. I expect victory tomorrow, and will not be happy if we lose, but regardless of the result, they’ve done more for me than any other team I’ve invested time in supporting.
So I finish this self-indulgent, somewhat narcissistic piece with just 3 words.