Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Upon further review…

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

Hindsight is a very convenient tool to have when justifying ill-resulting decisions.

However, it always seems to arrive too late.

As a writer and alleged sport prognosticator, a completed year means an opportunity to look back at my words and evaluate how my insights came to fruition.

Or, often times, how they crashed and burned.

It reminds me of those NFL commercials that used to be on come playoff time, showing fans’ ardent thoughts on the what would certainly lie ahead for the season to come. This year’s version might include tidbits such as:

- A couple of beefy New Yorkers in a dive bar, commenting on how last season was “just the beginning” for the Jets and the best is yet to come.

- And sure, the Patriots look good, but 16-0? Fuhgetaboutit.

- Suburban Atlanta neighbors chatting about how Michael Vick is “poised for a career year.”

- Or, of course, several patrons chowing down on a cheesesteak in South Philly, delighting in the season that lies ahead and how this is the year that T.O. finally drags the Cowboys into oblivion.

None of that sounded outlandish about six months ago. But, ah, hindsight.

Looking back on past columns, I’ve had a few gems myself. For example, this acknowledgement of Brett Favre:

- Speaking of pain, it’s starting to become painful watching him extend his brilliant career, in apparent denial of his obviously deteriorating skills. The three-time MVP seems to find more cornerbacks open than his own receivers. It’s okay, Brett. Let it go… let it go…

Oops. I also happened to pick the Ravens to win the Super Bowl, which became more and more painful to acknowledge as the weeks went by. However, I was also one of the few who picked the Bucs to win the division – much less the playoffs – so there are, in fact, moments of success in my soothsaying.

Then again, there are times when you want to believe – really want to – only to keep letting logic get in the way. Like this:

Truth #5: The Phillies, as per contemporary tradition, will fall just short of the playoffs this year - and this time, Pat Gillick is most to blame.

On paper, it made sense to believe that. Lack of quality pitching. No bench. Sketchy at best clutch hitting for most of the season (until about August, when they awoke from hybernation).

But the great thing about sports are the times when we can throw the numbers out the window, deem history irrelevant and let the results happen on the field, common sense be damned.

None of this – or anything which occurred in 2007 – has seemingly made Philadelphia any closer to celebrating a long overdue championship. But the fact that we can’t accurately predict what may happen on the field in the days and weeks and months ahead gives us the strength that we need to keep watching, and keep hoping.

And perhaps a year from now, we’ll have our own NFL playoff-type commercials, featuring a few drunken Delaware Valleyans, crying in their scrapple and Yueng-Lings, fresh off a too little, too late run by the Eagles, a lacking offseason by the Phillies and the Sixers and Flyers both toiling in the land of mediocrity.

One exclaims to the other, “I don’t know, youse guys. Maybe this town really is cursed. Maybe we never will get to see another parade on Broad Street.”

And we’ll all have a chuckle because the scene will finally be ironic.

(Yes, if only foresight was as accurate as hindsight.)

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