My dad had a thing for baseball. He was classic in that way. A beer, some sizzling sun, and the irreplaceable calm of an afternoon baseball game was his perfect day.
He got that from his father.
A love for baseball was a generational love passed down from father to son, from Pop-pop, to my dad, to my brother. One day Seamus will trade his bat for season tickets in left field with his toddler son, and the cycle will continue.
So when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, it was a win that the O’Hara men felt deep within their roots. My father celebrated with his passion, and his father’s passion, and all of the passionate men before him.
When the weather got colder, it was tradition for the boys to turn their hats to jerseys and cracker jacks to crab fries.
Football was, perhaps, the love affair of all O’Hara men.
Baseball was calming. Golf was social. But football – football was exhilarating in incomparable, unexplainable ways.
Seamus used to suit up on Friday nights under the lights and play out the age-old American dream.
My father stood in the bleachers with the other proud dads and talked Eagles, talked offense and defense, talked special teams, talked championships, talked defeat. Football was an obsession, a consuming, fact-based, weekend-long obsession.
In the mornings, when my dad left late enough to drive me to school, he turned the radio to Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow. He laughed at their jokes and studied their analysis. He cursed at the naysayers who called in. He waited and waited for the sports analysts to deliver some hope to our city.
Now it’s 2018, a decade after Philadelphia’s last victory, and the Eagles have done it.
My father sat in the cold for them, the rain, the snow. He flew across the country to watch a game with his son in California. He crushed beer cans and paced the living room. Weekends were planned delicately around the team schedule.
On Christmas, we went to Mass, and brunch, and then bundled up for a trip to the city to watch another Eagles win.
And through all of this, my father remained committed to his dream of seeing an Eagles championship win.
My father remained committed to his father’s dream of seeing an Eagles championship win.
On Super Bowl Sunday, my father watched alone in his basement – Pop-pop to his left, Uncle Joe to his right. His guests made no sound, offered no living-room-coaching, took no drinks from the fridge, no food from the grill. They were merely a presence felt by those aware of the decades of patience surrounding this family tradition.
When I called my father seconds after the Eagles were announced the Super Bowl LII champions, he said, “This is the best day of my life,” and very quickly after he said, “this would have been the best day of my dad’s life.”
What a blessing it is to have heard the joy in my father’s voice when he said that. What a blessing it is to celebrate together.
E – A – G – L – E – S EAGLES!