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I distinctly remember the moment I became a football fan. It was 1969, I was 8 years old, and I was watching the soon-to-be infamous Super Bowl III. For those too young to remember, the New York Jets, representing the unincorporated AFL as serious underdogs, shocked the sporting world by defeating the Colts 16–7 in a nail-biter. How could you not love the sport after witnessing such a dramatic upset? While that game was a great introduction to football, the early ‘70s weren’t exactly the greatest for Eagles fans. After Norm Snead got traded to the Vikings, we had to put up with a string of inexperienced and underperforming quarterbacks until Ron Jaworski came on in 1976. My philosophy has always been to stick with your home team no matter what, but watching the Eagles go from the bottom of the league to the dominant force in the NFC over the next four years was an incredible experience, and one that solidified my status as a Philly fan for life. FOOTBALL AND FAMILY RINGING IN THE HOLIDAY SEASON “Between football, food, and family, Thanksgiving was by far my favorite holiday. Bonding with my relatives over great food and great games are some of my fondest memories.” Football was popular with our whole family, no matter who was playing. You couldn’t get too distracted by the game, however. Like me, my aunt was always a dog lover. If you weren’t paying attention, you might end up with a snout where there used to be a slice of turkey. We were always a small family, which made these gatherings more relaxed. But if the Eagles happened to be playing that year, things would get boisterous! Between football, food, and family, Thanksgiving was by far my favorite holiday. Bonding with my relatives over great food and great games are some of my fondest memories.
Of course, these days my family has become even smaller. Most of my relatives have passed on, and Thanksgiving dinner is now attended by my wife, our daughter, and our oversized cockapoo, Marley. It may not be the largest feast, but having the chance to slow down, share a nice meal, and enjoy each other’s company is what the holiday is really all about.
In some ways, Marley provides a lot of perspective. He’s an older dog, about 9 or 10, that we rescued from a shelter. While he had a rough early life and suffers from severe epilepsy, he’s just about the most laid-back, easygoing dog I’ve ever met. No matter what challenges life has thrown at him, he’s just as content as ever to lick you to death before settling into his favorite spot on the couch. Marley’s a wise dog who has taught me a lot about what it means to be grateful for what you have. I have half a mind to let him start writing our newsletter! –Paul H. Young
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