Today I want to talk to you about the Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. I know sports are silly, but the Eagles bring me joy. I’ll probably have another post about money and sports, but what I want to focus on today is happiness and joy. And money, because this is a blog about finances. Let’s ask the obvious question: How much does happiness cost?
Because the Eagles bring me joy, and I pride myself on being a frugal guy, and frugality is the key to financial independence, let’s see what I spend on it.
I have an Eagles flag that flies outside my front door all year round. I happen to live far away from Philadelphia, so I’m one of the few people in my neighborhood that flies one. But I’m not the only one. When I walk by their houses and see their Eagles flags, I smile.
I also have two Eagles Jerseys my mom has given me over the years for Christmas. The first was Nick Foles’, which she gave me years ago during his amazing record breaking 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions season. My mom and I loved Nick Foles that year, mostly because he was a really good guy, but also because he was the Eagle’s awesome quarterback. But it was a blip year, and he was soon traded away, and I was really bummed.
The quarterback of now and the future is Carson Wentz, who we love, and this Christmas she bought me a Wentz Jersey. Ironically, right after she bought it, he was injured. And who happened to be his backup? Nick Foles, who the Eagles had acquired last off-season. So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been wearing my Nick Foles Jersey. And every time I put it on, I think of my mom.
I also have an Eagles t-shirt and bumper sticker my wife has given me over the years. And when I put on that shirt, or every time I see the Eagles logo on the back of my car, I think about how my wife, who grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, loves me and my Eagles fandom.
And that’s about it. I don’t have satellite or cable TV, NFL Sunday ticket, or anything like that. I don’t have any other paraphernalia. I would like a Super Bowl LII hat. Mostly I listen to the radio broadcast live over the internet, and later watch the highlight packages online for free. When I want to watch the game live, I’ll go to a bar. Maybe I’ll order a grilled cheese, a beer and a diet coke. It ends up being, after tip, about $5 to $10. Over a year it’s still way less than a TV package at home.
But for the big games, I watch streaming on my tablet. I’m paying for internet anyway, and I own my tablet anyway. It amazes me, but they’ll show me these games for free, especially the playoffs. On Super Bowl Sunday, I watched the game lying on my couch at home next to my wife. It was fantastic. During the game I text and message and check Facebook with my friends and family all over the world, sharing highlights and all the oohs and awes.
And that’s how the Eagles bring me joy. It’s a shared experience. The Eagles bring me joy because I am sharing their joy. I love them, and I love the people who love them. I love the city I’m from, and the friends and family I miss. But I also love the random fellow Eagles fans I meet, even hundreds of miles away from Philadelphia.
One of my favorite experiences over the last few weeks was our door bell ringing. The Amazon delivery guy was right at the door. Usually he just leaves the package at the door and drives off without a greeting. Not that day. That day he wanted to shake my hand because he too was an Eagles fan. He had seen my flag and was excited about what could happen next. We clasped hands, shouted “Fly Eagles Fly”, and he told me about how he has family back in Philly too. It was shared joy. And that was before they one the Super Bowl! I look forward to seeing him again next time he delivers a package.
The funny thing is, in that moment, with that otherwise stranger? I loved him. I know I loved him because I shared joy with him. I was happy for him and he was happy for me, and we together were happy for the Eagles and the people of Philadelphia.
That unbridled sharing of joy costs practically nothing. I know players and the team makes a ton of money, and there is lots of advertising involved. In fact almost the only TV ads I ever see all year are during sporting events. But those ads are for someone else. I’m not buying that stuff, whatever it is. I can ignore it. Ad breaks are a time to check Facebook and Messenger and connect with family and friends, again sharing joy.
I know that my joy from the Eagles comes from my love for them, my family and friends, and the random fellow fans I meet. Our love connects us and brings us happiness. And that’s why I invest time and energy in what would otherwise be a silly sport. Because it is a way of expressing love. And Love is the life of a person and the source of all happiness. And love is free.
As Jesus said, “That your joy may be full… love one another.”
Fly Eagles Fly!