In January, the days are short and the nights are long. The howling, northwest winds are chilly and the wind chill makes it even chillier. The ground is hard and the air is dry. In sum, there is nothing inviting about January. Most want to remain inside but they still play football outside. At least some do. And some go on to win in January. Only some.
The comfort January brings to football teams who win is in cold contrast to the weather, as the poem by Helen Hunt Jackson unfolds:
O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire
The streams than under ice. June could not hire.
Her roses to forego the strength they learn
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire
In vain to build.
O Heart, when Love’s sun goes
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease,
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,
The winter is the winter’s own release.
January by Helen Hunt Jackson
Football in January is akin to basketball in June; only a few teams are privileged enough to make it to the postseason, and fewer still advance in the playoffs. And this year, that would be my Eagles. Philly played a gritty, gutsy game and eked out a win when no one game them a chance. To win in January is to summon every ounce of effort and every drop of determination because wins in January don’t come easy.
So here’s to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles on their first playoff win since 2008. Hopefully, there’s more to come.