This is Part II of John Truit’s story. Read Part I here.
‘The Story of Tonight’
The plan was in place for what was sure to be a busy and exciting night. Nothing short of a strategy inspired by General Washington would allow me to go into Center City, attend an almost three-hour public event, and make it back home to Delaware County without hearing the score of the Eagles game so I could watch it myself.
My wife and I had been eagerly anticipating our shot to see Hamilton since we snagged tickets back in July. It was at that point I realized it fell on the same night as the Birds on Thursday Night Football.
Strategy for avoiding Eagles chatter included choosing a parking garage close to the Forrest Theatre for a quick exit. On the way in we called an audible, as traffic and a broken light at the foot of the Platt Bridge conspired to make us later than anticipated for our dinner reservation, setting the whole evening back on its heels.
We parked closer to the restaurant, and apologized to our (more punctual) friends. After finishing our meal, we all quickly made our way to the theater. It wasn’t exactly traversing the Delaware River on Christmas Night, but we had to dodge a ton of construction equipment, traffic and crowds of fans heading to sports bars as we crossed Walnut Street.
We made it to our seats as the lights went down, with literally seconds to spare.
‘The Room Where It Happens’
Regardless of your feelings about history or theater, this show lives up to its reputation. Taking the story of the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury and turning it into a rich tale that incorporates a soundtrack that includes rap, pop, R&B, and traditional Broadway numbers is nothing short of incredible.
I was enthralled enough by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s impressive and mostly historically accurate spectacle to forget about the tight quarters of the Forrest, the cost of the “themed” drinks at intermission, and yes, even at one point the Eagles.
The only reminder of the pivotal game were the 30-plus text messages showing up on my silenced phone — which would receive nary a glance until after I’d seen the game back at home.
As the cast took its final bow, my mind immediately switched to making it home without knowing so much as who received the opening kickoff. I needed to avoid all football-related conversation. Luckily, with everyone talking about what they had just witnessed, it wasn’t that difficult. I maneuvered to avoid the teen three rows behind me with the Carson Wentz jersey on, and we made it to the street without any mention of football.
‘It’s Quiet Uptown’
The all-clear was still not mine, as we exited right onto Quince St., the home of Moriarty’s Irish Pub. The TVs at the classic beer and wings destination were showing the game, and one of them was staring me right in the face.
My battalion was able to warn me, and shepherded me back toward Walnut. I shielded my eyes and cursed the fact that we were now farther from our car.
We must’ve passed at least half a dozen other bars showing the game, and as I kept my head down, I noticed something disturbing. There were no cheers, just an eerie silence. After dodging a person saying the words “two-point conversion,” and a garage attendant with the game blaring from his phone, we got to our car and began driving. As we did, we passed other bars that did not look crowded. We even saw people wearing jerseys strolling out into the street. Not good.
I’m embarrassed to say I immediately thought the worst — that the Eagles were being blown out in Green Bay and were about to fall to 1-3 on the season. I anticipated spending the next couple hours losing sleep to watch a loss.
‘What’d I Miss’
I called ahead to my parents, who were watching the kids, and they followed our predetermined plan of turning off the TV before I walked in the door.
My father and mother graciously offered to listen to the rest of the game as they drove home despite my protests that they stay to finish while I went somewhere else. As we said our goodbyes, I fought the urge to analyze their expressions, tone, and gaze to decipher the plight of our team.
We started our game watching at 11:30 p.m. The next two hours (thanks to fast-forward) brought with it nonstop emotions, a rollercoaster ranging from elation to anger and back again.
The outcome was in doubt until the final seconds, with the Eagles sealing the victory on Aaron Rodgers’ first interception of the season. Their record stood even at 2-2.
Was it the Continental Army defeating the British to birth the nation? No. But an injured Eagles team had overcome the odds to beat the undefeated Packers in Green Bay on a short week, and I had overcome the odds of not being able to watch it without spoilers and still got to go to Hamilton. It was another good night in Philadelphia.