It’s easy to cheer for certain guys. Guys like Chris Long, who donated every regular season game check. Guys like Alshon Jeffery, who, despite not having the best year of his career, only cared about winning rather than his numbers. Guys like Carson Wentz, who doesn’t just talk the talk but backs up his faith with meaningful contributions to those who need it most. The Eagles have several players who use their platform to amaze people more off the field than on it. Everybody also loves to cheer for players who have overcome something. Everybody faces adversity, of course, but some players, especially football ones, only have so many opportunities to make a difference; to prove they belong. Days after a Super Bowl win, I can’t help but think about two players. Two players who could have given up. But they stuck with it. They believed in themselves. Even when nobody else did.
Certain things cannot be quantified. Certain things cannot be explained. People openly mocked Doug Pederson following the win against the Rams in early December. Pederson said it’s next man-up. That felt like a cliche at the time. Sure, the Eagles could replace Darren Sproles and Jordan Hicks. Even Hall of Fame LT Jason Peters, too.
But Carson Wentz? No shot.
Back in October just days after beating the Arizona Cardinals easily, the Philadelphia Eagles squared off against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. Philadelphia had lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, but entering the game against one of the better NFC teams the Eagles rode a three-game winning streak. Philadelphia won that game. Carson Wentz had two electric throws, one on third and long to Mack Hollins and another to a streaking Alshon Jeffery. The buzz began then. For a city that cares more about its football team than anything else, the dream of finally winning a Super Bowl flashed then. That feeling stuck for several more weeks. It lingered and lingered. Until.
End of the Year lists serve as a reminder of what transpired over the course of the previous 365 days. They’re fun, for sure, but they also become this agonizing exercise because in actuality there were plenty great movies released, terrific albums heard, breathtaking sports moments witnessed, and it’s basically impossible to narrow them down to an exact science. Earlier this month I listed the five movies that stuck with me the most in 2017, but this list deals with everything else. I’m talking podcast episode, album, television show and roommate (yes, roommate).
Ten Decembers ago I was a bewildered, rigid high school freshman. Football had recently ended right as basketball began. School was fine, from what I remember. I struggled in Biology and didn’t care too much for my English teacher. Lunch might have been the best part of the day, third period lunch to be exact. Seriously, we had to eat lunch before 10 a.m. Spanish class immediately followed lunch, and for people who knew me growing up you know how I stumbled with speaking in general, so Spanish was predictably a nightmare.
Following a rigorous day at the office where I covered an event at a local library attended by seven children, I hopped on 1-90 to Rochester to celebrate the end of 2016 with college roommates. Buckingham Palace, as we liked to call it, was the then home of Casandra and Rob in the pre-Ellie days. The destination took longer than expected as the snow around Syracuse tried its hardest to delay. Upon arrival that Friday night, a friend or two informed me of a magical item located several blocks away.
This year has been a banner one for movies. I ended up seeing 15 in theaters, and even though two weeks remain until 2018, I’m done with seeing new ones for this year. Visiting Rotten Tomatoes to forecast potential movie viewings remains something I do regularly. I try to avoid spoilers, and I also try to avoid assuming a movie’s going to be great based on popularity from a website. The assuming part can be difficult, however. This past week I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Disaster Artist. Both movies I thoroughly enjoyed, but neither made this highly competitive list. Five favorites feels like the most appropriate number, given the amount I saw in theaters. Going to the movies has always been one of my favorite activities since I was younger.