NFL Addiction: Step 3, Surrender

I didn’t expect to like “Jersey Boys.” I’m not much for Broadway musicals, nor am I a fan of Frankie Valli, so the prospect of two and a half hours of falsetto was frightening, as was the likelihood that I’d have “She-erry, Sherry baby” lodged in my head for six weeks (I do). But the worst thing about my potential trip to the theater: I was going to miss the Eagles game.

Nonetheless, when my mother asked me to get tickets to the Sunday matinee, I readily accepted. I considered it a test. You see, I had “made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood him” (in AA speak). This was the third rung of my 12-step program aimed at quitting my Philadelphia Eagles addiction, which was driving me mad. I had already admitted the problem and had seen a higher power at work. Now I had to give in to divine providence. As I understood him, God had a wicked sense of humor. The “Jersey Boys”/Eagles substitution was a joke, a sick joke. I felt like Abraham or Job or Rodney Dangerfield. I would suffer through “Big Girls Don’t Cry” without complaining. Eagles be damned. (Besides, the play didn’t start till 3:00. I could catch the first half.)

I don’t think I realized what a strange sense of humor “God as I understood him” had until I surrendered my will. He sent me to the theater district where I thought I would wander for 40 days and 40 nights looking for a sports bar. Instead, I was delivered unto a cheesesteak place lined with HDTVs. “God as I understood him” filled those TVs with a team that called itself the “Philadelphia Eagles.” They were like no Eagles I’d ever seen. They wore strange yellow and blue jerseys and played an unrecognizable brand of offensive football, as if guided by an unseen hand. They scored touchdowns on their first five possessions! The Eagles hadn’t scored a single touchdown in their last two games. What was this? A blue-and-yellow-clad fellow masquerading as Eagles receiver Kevin Curtis – the same Kevin Curtis that hadn’t found a yard of space all season – trotted around the field, free and alone. He had eight catches for 187 yards in the first 20 minutes, and ended with three touchdowns. The score piled up. I had two beers and a roast pork with broccoli rabe. I was intoxicated. I loved how “God as I understood him” was providing for me.

I even loved “Jersey Boys.” Of course, at that point I might have been overjoyed by “The Sorrow and the Pity,” never mind “Working my Way Back to You” (Was that song telling me to renew my commitment to the Birds?) I wasn’t sure what this all meant. I was elated by a team that didn’t look or act like the Eagles. Andy Reid didn’t even call any stupid time outs. I thought surrendering my will would clear things up, relieve my anxieties, but it has only left me anxious and confused.

Next I have to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.” Perhaps this will help. I’m sure the Eagles will return to normal. They play the Giants, and their star Brian Westbrook is, like me, questionable.

Click here to read about step 4: the moral inventory.