Angry Eagles Fans Lacking Awareness of What True Tragedy Looks Like

By: Glen Jessie

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 7.58.17 PM

The Philadelphia Eagles defense was on the field for over 40 minutes today. They braved injuries to inside linebackers Kiko Alonso and Demeco Ryans and still managed to keep the bleeding to a minimum, even forcing two turnovers. Midway through the fourth quarter, they forced their second turnover after newly-signed cornerback Byron Maxwell shook a ball lose that was picked up by safety Malcolm Jenkins. It looked like a possible turning point.

Then, the literal next play, a snap from center Jason Kelce that quarterback Sam Bradford was not ready for resulted in an immediate turnover, bringing the defense back onto the field.

Fans both at the stadium and at home were furious. They had finally reached a breaking point. Screaming, cursing, crying, and fighting. The fan base was not silent as much as it was festering with a palpable anger:

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 7.30.47 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 7.30.25 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 7.55.37 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 7.29.50 PM

The feelings of anger, sadness, and despair were definitely there. But is it fair for Eagles fans, or any sports fans, to feel that way?

Ask somebody who has dealt with real sadness. Ask a middle-aged mother who got a phone call on September 11, 2001 informing her that her college-graduate son passed away on his second day of work at the World Trade Center.

Ask the parents of a child of who passed away from autism after a negative reaction to a smallpox vaccination.

Ask a father who just told his children that his wife, who was having an affair, had just moved out of their family home.

Any Eagles fans who think of their sorrows as legitimate owes an apology to the aforementioned people. Is it just Eagles fans? No. But it is mostly Eagles fans.

People are given a pass in today’s society every day for slipping up and thinking of sports as more than just recreation. When a real tragedy strikes, fans are momentarily hit with the sobering reality that sports are ultimately insignificant. Then, with time, it recedes. Things go back to the status quo, and sports fans use terms like sadness, anger and even depression in casual conversation.

It is time for a reality check.

Next time you think that Sam Bradford’s 23-37, 1 TD 2 INT, 65.6 passer rating  performance is “sad”, think about a mother giving birth to a stillborn child. Holding a cold, lifeless baby in her arms for the first, and last, time. That’s actually sad.

Next time you feel “depressed” about the injuries to our strongest inside linebackers, perhaps our deepest position going into the season, think about an adult trying to make their way through the world with real clinical depression.

Next time you’re “angry” over the early results of Chip Kelly’s first offseason with the keys to this franchise, think about a father of two who walks in on his cheating wife, catching her in the passion of intercourse with a younger, better looking man. He immediately realizes that it’s over. He immediately realizes that it’s been over for quite some time. That’s a person who has the right to be angry.

And next time you feel “concern” over a disastrous 0-2 start, finally remember that sports are just games. Then apologize for your ignorance.