Bleeding green while crying tears of joy

By Shannon Reardon

Super Bowl LII

Being an Eagles fan isn’t a choice, it’s a right of passage that is transferred down through our bloodlines, and the bond that holds the city of Philadelphia together.

Part of the Philadelphia Eagles spirit comes from the preseason hope that “this will be our year,” though it never is.

Except for this year.

This year started the same as all those that preceded it, overly excitable fans filling the lower level of Lincoln Financial Field on two hot August days to watch the full team participate in Training Camp.

After Training Camp, fans had to wait until week three for the Birds to play at home against the New York Giants.

Just like every other home game for the season, the parking lots were filled with the smell of charcoal grilled hot dogs, the echoes of E-A-G-L-E-S chants from various tailgates, and the colors green, black, and white as far as the eye could see by 9 a.m.

I tailgate with a group that is unlike any other. They call themselves “4th and Jawn,” a weekly podcast group that report solely on the Eagles.

We do things the same as everyone else, drinking and talking about football, with the added bonus of beer bong baptisms for newcomers or anyone who is looking to drink in the name of Carson Wentz, Howie Roseman, and Doug Pederson.

As the season progressed this year, the usual feeling of disappointment never reached us.

Sure, we suffered some devastating player losses with Darren Sprouls, Jason Peters, Carson Wentz, and other key players, but the “next man up” mentality carried us through the season.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I did not think that post season was even in the cards for us. I pictured us as having eight wins at best.

But this was our year.

It was a year filled with excitement, then tears, trepidation, and, finally, tears of joy.

Watching the Super Bowl, I was again so sure that the Eagles were bound to lose, but I was there along for the ride.

Man, was I wrong.

Nick Foles stepped up to the plate, the eyes of the country on him, knowing he was our second string quarterback, and he gave The Patriots the Philly Special: he sent Tom Brady home ringless.

Things in our house erupted, my stepdad couldn’t control his excitment as he kept yelling, “What?”

I sat just staring in disbelief.

Did we really just win the Super Bowl?

It took 52 Super Bowls for The Eagles to win a Championship. They finally brought the Lombardi Trophy home to Philly, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I’ve never been more proud of a group of men, and for our city, who desperately needed a win to show the true tenacious spirit of Philadelphians.

Contact Shannon Reardon at communitarian@mail.dccc. edu

Nothing to fear but… myself?

By Andrew Henry

I am a black man. Yet sometimes I notice myself walking more towards the edge of the sidewalk when another black man walks by.

Why am I afraid of members of my own race?

In addition to the media’s demonizing portrayal of black men, I experienced something when I was younger that made a lasting impact.

I grew up in Chester, Pa, a city known for its vicious murder rate. According to the news most people doing the killings were black. I was terrified of the city I lived in.

In the third grade my mother had an old “friend” move in with us. That year I got into trouble at school. The teacher said that I hit her. My word didn’t really matter at that point.

To teach me a lesson about being “big and bad” my mother’s friend took me on a ride deeper into Chester.

We pulled up to a house where two young black boys were tossing a football back and forth. My mother’s friend told me to get out of the car and go hang out with them. See how tough I was against a couple of Chester kids.

Without knowing anything about their family lives, their names, or any anything else, I thought they were “tough” because they were black and from Chester.

I cried, and screamed, and begged for him to take me home. That may have been the very moment that plunged me into the deep-rooted fear of my own people that still resonates within me, even today.

Fortunately, in high school, I was invited to join a group called the Black Students Union.

Suddenly, I was fully immersed into my own culture that for so long seemed distant from me.

I became president by my senior year. I gained a level of confidence speaking to and interacting with people of color. BSU saved me from myself.

Albert Einstein wrote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Black people are not thugs or monsters, but if America continues to label us as such, how can we think that we can be anything but?

Contact Andrew Henry at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

‘Do you speak African?’

By Comfort Queh

If I could receive a dollar for every time I’ve been approached with the question, “Do you speak African?” my college education would be paid off, with dollars left to splurge however I choose.

Being from a different country, it’s clear to say that topics regarding my nationality are usually the first question people ask me when they hear my thick accent.

The conversation usually starts with, “What part of Africa are you from?” When I respond, “West Africa, Liberia to be specific,” the question that usually follows is, “Do you speak African?”

Somehow this question always tenses me up inside. I want to respond, “No idiot, do you speak American?”

But I take a deep breath, relax, and respond, “No, African is not a language.”

In most cases, when I reply to this question, people usually respond with light laughter and are taken aback, almost as if they are ashamed and recognize the ignorance of the question.

Clearly, we can agree that such a question is ignorant, but it’s still being asked. So, this is for all those individuals that have ever asked the question, and for those who may be thinking of asking it, please allow me to educate you on Africa, so you no longer make the mistake of asking, “Do you speak African?”

Africans are people who are native to or inhabitants of the continent of Africa. So, lesson one: Africa is a continent, the second-largest to be specific. I’m sure I was taught that in school, so were you.

Second lesson: Africa has many countries, each with its own language. In fact, Africa is estimated to have about 1,000 to 2,000 languages, according to the Harvard Department of African and African-American Studies. The languages that Africans speak are extremely diverse and broken into four categories based on their family and the part of the country they are from.

Niger-Congo refers to languages spoken in Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa. Niger-Congo is also the largest out of the four families of languages. The next large group of language is Afro-Asiatic, which includes the Northern region of Africa.

The third group is Nilo-Saharan which includes the Eastern and North Eastern regions of Africa. The last and the least spoken language group is Khoisan, which is mostly found in Southern Africa. This is said to be the oldest language of all.

Now brace yourself for the most important lesson: Some, if not most, Africans speak English. Although my English may not be considered as polished as the English spoken in America, I was still able to communicate with Americans when I moved here.

In Monrovia, Liberia, the country that I’m from, the main language that we speak is English. Some people are surprised when I share this information because they are expecting some other exotic or cultural language. So in an effort to not dash their hopes, I also share with them that depending on which tribe an individual comes from, the dialect may differ.

Listen, I know theoretically, “There are no stupid questions,” but clearly stupidity is a behavior that shows a lack of good judgment.

The good news is you are able to change your behavior. That will include remembering that African is not a language. If you are still confused about this, just remember you’re only two fingers away from your cell-phone to search “Do you speak African?”

It’s better to be embarrassed by Google than to be embarrassed in front of ME.

Contact Comfort Queh at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Not #MeToo

By Shannon Reardon

When the news first broke that Harvey Weinstein had allegedly sexually assaulted many of Hollywood’s leading ladies, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted out, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

Shortly thereafter the trending topic on all social media was #metoo, where women told their stories about being sexually harassed.

With each story I saw posted by family, friends, and colleagues, I would be able to produce a mirroring story.

But I am of the minority that doesn’t care to see these men resigning from their positions in the spotlight.

For the last decade, I have immersed myself into the culture of rock music, while learning and writing about the lives of each of my favorite musicians.

I’ve read and seen images in autobiographies, including hair metal forerunners Mötley Crüe, depicting the ways that their female fans were used and then cast aside. It was common knowledge there were different women, in different cities, every night throwing themselves at band members, crew members, or anyone that would have them.

Naturally, band members would often exploit these situations because they felt they could get away with it. Because, after all, it was silently condoned by the industry.

This is not to say that I am disregarding the actions of the men and women who were actively living by the motto, “sex, drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” nor am I saying that all women who have been used and abused by musicians deserve what happened to them; however, I can’ t help but wonder why some women, who have recently accused politicians and news media giants, couldn’t have avoided the situations they found themselves in.

Being raised by a single mother, the importance of being able to defend myself in situations where I felt uncomfortable was a concept that was drilled into me. The idea that these women had no way of knowing what an invitation to a hotel room actually meant baffles me.

In the case of The Today Show host Matt Lauer inviting a woman to his hotel room during his coverage of the 2014 Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics, how did she not know what was going to happen?

Or the women who have filed multiple grievances against their abusers, who harassed or assaulted them more than once. After an instance of abuse occurs, there should never be another opportunity to become a repeat offender.

I understand some women feel that they are trapped in these situations though, fearing that they will lose their careers if they don’t comply with what their abusers want. But having the ability to hold another person’s career over her head to make her bend to your will is never okay. No one should have to sacrifice their morals to maintain a job.

As more and more celebrities are revealed as having sexually harassed or abused someone, I think it’s time that we sit and reflect as a society on how to better protect ourselves from potential abusers and to also limit any further accounts by educating ourselves on the potential for abuse and ways to prevent it.

Contact Shannon Reardon at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu 

Eagles will soar in the playoffs

By David Schwartz

eagles1
Philadelphia Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery catches a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Charger defense in the first quarter on Oct. 1 in Carson, Ca. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Eagles fans usually have high expectations for Philadelphia’s beloved football team before each season. Prior to this season, expectations were not high enough.

After finishing the 2016 season with a record of 7-9, the Eagles are currently flying high with a 10-1 record, which was captivated by a 37-9 blowout win over the division rival Dallas Cowboys Nov. 19 and a 31-3 abomination over the Chicago Bears Nov. 26. The Eagles have a five game lead over the Cowboys in the NFC East Division now that Dallas is 5-6.

One of the highlights of this current Eagles’ season has been the play of second -year quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz.

So far, he has accumulated a 60 percent completion percentage, 2,657 passing yards, and 28 touchdown passes. Wentz also ran for 253 yards on the ground.

The success of Wentz’s season is due to the amazing effort by his receiving corps, led by tight end Zach Ertz (55 catches, 639 receiving yards, seven touchdowns), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (43 catches, 619 receiving yards, seven touchdowns), and wide receiver Nelson Agholor (33 catches, 458 receiving yards, six touchdowns).

LeGarrette Blount has been the top rusher so far for the Eagles as he’s ran for 658 yards on 137 carries and two touchdowns.

The running game looks to get even better since acquiring former Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi in a trade on Oct. 31. Ajayi scored his first touchdown for the Eagles on a 46-yard run in their 51-23 blowout win against the Denver Broncos Nov. 5.

As much as the Eagles offense has excelled, the defense has been just as good since allowing an average of only 17.4 points throughout their first 11 games.

Their pass rush has been the anchor of their defensive scheme led by defensive tackler Fletcher Cox (15 tackles, 5.5 sacks) and defensive ends Brandon Graham (34 tackles, seven sacks) and Vinny Curry (32 tackles, three sacks).

Safety Malcolm Jenkins (53 tackles, one sack, two interceptions) has been a tremendous leader for the Eagles’ secondary and cornerbacks Jalen Mills (51 tackles, three interceptions), and Patrick Robinson (35 tackles, three interceptions) have filled the voids at that position while Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones have been recovering from injuries.

Darby played against the Cowboys for the first time since dislocating his ankle in the season opener against the Washington Redskins, which included an interception in the first half.

With fives games left to go in the regular season, it’s safe to say that the Eagles are going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, but how far can they go?

To reach the Super Bowl, the Eagles are going to have to play against some pretty good teams in the NFC. The Minnesota Vikings (9-2), New Orleans Saints (8-3), and Los Angeles Rams (8-3) all lead their respective divisions, along with the Carolina Panthers (8- 3), the Atlanta Falcons (7-4), and the Seattle Seahawks (7-4) battling it out for the two wild card spots.

Due to most of the division leaders not having much playoff experience, the Eagles should win the NFC and advance to the Super Bowl.

Prior to the season, my Super Bowl matchup prediction was the Seahawks facing the New England Patriots. That all changed Nov. 9 when Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles against the Arizona Cardinals.

Safety Kam Chancellor was also announced out for the rest of the season due to a neck injury a week after the Cardinals game.

Throughout the last few seasons, the Seahawks have been one of the best teams in the NFL due to their amazing secondary featuring Sherman and safeties Chancellor and Earl Thomas to make up “The Legion of Boom.”

Before Sherman and Chancellor got hurt, the Seahawks were the only team that I believed to be in the way of the Eagles reaching the Super Bowl. Wentz and the rest of the Birds have a huge opportunity to dethrone Seattle and represent the NFC, but can the Eagles actually win the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history?

They certainly have a shot.

There are two teams in the AFC that can win the Super Bowl: the Patriots (9-2) and Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2).

The Steelers have one of the best offenses in the NFL with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, and wide receiver Antonio Brown.

The Patriots, with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, should still be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. This famous head coach-quarterback duo have won five championships together, including last year’s victory against the Falcons.

The Eagles have all of the tools to make a run and win it all, but due to a surplus of experience in New England, my prediction currently stands with the Patriots.

Whatever happens in this season’s playoffs should take nothing away from what the Eagles have been doing so far this season. Wentz has been phenomenal and is a NFL superstar in the making.

He’s a winner, but he’s young. At the age of 24, Wentz will have his first playoff experience and it’s going to be exciting to see if he can handle the pressure in playoff games.

Mark your calendars for Feb. 4th.

Contact David Schwartz at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu