The cousins – happily together pregame.

The agony of defeat. That’s what we all experienced after the Eagles narrowly lost the Super Bowl. The family gathered at Bryan’s apartment that evening eager with anticipation of a sure victory. After all, Bryan’s apartment had been the scene of a monumental first win for the Eagles five years ago. The good vibes would continue, or so we all thought.

A week before Bryan’s party, he told me what he wanted to have for food and beverage that night. Of course, we brought the lion’s share of the party fare. Bryan and his roommate would supply the wings and soft pretzels as well as a clean apartment (or so I hoped!). We arrived early, laden with Bryan’s requests – veggies and dip, fruit and dip (I was happy he chose at least a few healthy alternatives!), taco dip, cheese and crackers, sloppy joes, drinks and brownies with green sprinkles, of course.

The apartment was decorated with every piece of Eagles gear Bryan owned. Pom poms, pendants, Eagles-bedecked snowman and Santa, flags large and small, towels, pillows and coverlets festooned the small space. He was so excited when we arrived. Hurriedly, Bryan jumped in to arrange the food, plasticware , Eagles napkins and plates artistically on the enlarged dining room table. The guests arrived a few minutes later and began chowing down as the National Anthem and other patriotic offerings were sung. Bryan stopped what he was doing, totally immersed in the pageantry as he sang along and saluted the proceedings.

A very exciting, close game followed. Halftime brought the second half of the meal and Bryan sashaying into the room with attitude, imitating the performer, Rhianna. He said her hair in the advertisement running during the first half of the game looked like Cindy Loo Hoo (from The Grinch). You know, he’s got a point!

The tension in the room, broken by the halftime respite, could have been cut with a knife during the second half of the game. At one point, Bryan and I couldn’t just sit and watch. We got up and started cleaning up the massive spread on the table. We needed to keep busy in order to survive the intensity.

And, of course, you know the disappointing end result – the Eagles lost that close game. When the final field goal was kicked, we knew it was over. Bryan went into his bedroom, stripped the Eagles jersey from his back and flung it to the floor in disgust with anger over the near miss. I really felt for him. He lives for his Birds and revels in each and every game.

It will be hard for him to have to wait a whole year for the possibility of another rare opportunity to head to the Super Bowl for his team. But, hope springs eternal. The jersey on the floor will be washed and put away until August. We’ll get updates on the Eagles draft picks and other newsy bits from Bryan. And, of course, he will handwrite all the family the Eagles playing schedule for our refrigerators once it’s published in the summer.

Another season is over. The hope of a winning season this fall is in the wind already. It’s what helps the long winter months pass more quickly than normal for all of us. And, in the face of uncertainty, there’s nothing wrong with hope.

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