Social Yoga

Ever since I moved into the city I have wanted to become more social. We have so much more going on here than in the suburbs. I’ve needed to ease myself into things. I call this process Social Yoga. It has mainly involved watching football and drinking beer with my brother, as well as a few incredible excursions.

Yoga means union. Most people think of doing postures. in that case the yoga refers to the union between body and mind. In the case of social yoga, the yoga refers to the union between the self and a social act. And just like with an exercise regimen, I planned to just start by doing little social things to make myself more comfortable with doing bigger social things.

It actually started in May. A girl in our building had a party. Usually I would shy away from such things, but I decided to pull myself together and go. That started some new friendships. Now I know a bunch of my neighbors, including a few board members. I knew I made the right choice by going.

A few days later they had a block party. There I learned that I like good beer. I didn’t drink at all before moving into the city, but everyone drinks beer in Philly, and when in Rome… This new interest has made me new friends by itself.

Shortly thereafter I learned echolocation. This incredible skill has totally helped in my social yoga, because it makes me feel more immersed in the world around me, like plugging in to something larger. I could have or would not have done some of the other things I’ve started doing if I didn’t know it. It lets me go to a new surrounding and into a new building and feel much more confident.

The summer came and we started going on the roof deck. Everyone loves the roof deck. It gives a great view of the city, and has better quality air. I also swear you get drunker up there, perhaps because of the height, but then I read that actually doesn’t happen, so perhaps it just happens as a placebo, or perhaps just because of the different setting.

Autumn came, and that means football. I used to listen to football on the radio around age twelve or so. Since then I stopped following it, and regarded it as a stupid distraction set up by the new world order to keep people focused on crap that doesn’t matter. Bread and circus. My brother likes watching it, and invited me a few times, but I never did. One day my brother texted me to come over and watch the game, or if not to at least turn it on. I tuned in and felt glad I did, because I watched the end of a close game. The Eagles lost of course, but I still enjoyed it.

It got me back into the vibe though. It made me feel like a kid again. I resolved to go to my brother’s the next weekend and did. We continued this tradition all through the season. Some friends wondered about my metamorphosis, even expressing concern, but I had a method to my madness.

I learned some things while watching football. Firstly when I say watching I really mean listening. They like the television for the video, but everyone agrees the commentators suck. You just can’t beat Merrill Reese! He has provided the voice for the Eagles since 1977, the year of my birth. Hearing his homely voice brought everything back for me. I especially enjoyed his optimistic comments during this awful season such as: “It’s still mathematically possible.” “It may be impossible for [the Eagles] NOT to turn the ball over.” and “There’s not much less we can say without losing our jobs.” Everyone felt glad I insisted on the radio despite the delay. For me Merrill made the game.

Speaking of the delay, we really wanted to resolve the issue, but in the end just dealt with it. The video comes through first, so they would see the play and possibly react, then we would all hear it. They tried to keep their reactions down for my sake. We wanted to hack together something to sync the two, but it takes a lot of effort. Why?

The answer came over and over again from several different people: “Because the NFL are dicks.” This really came home for me when I listened to the disclaimer at the end of a television broadcast. It said something to the effect that any rebroadcast is prohibited, understandable, but also any description of the game. Really? So if I told you that the Eagles lost their final game on a sad penalty I would technically violate their license. I hardly believe that of course, but it still made the point.

I had to buy NFL Audio Pass on my iPad. But it won’t stream the games on an iPHone, just a tablet. No technical reason exists for this restriction. Why? Because the NFL are dicks!

During the course of the season I attended a PANMA talk. While there I made a new friend named Christine. We stayed in touch, and it turned out that we both picked this season to begin watching again. She wrote an article about her re-initiation as well. We started texting each other during the games. She said: “Football is always better with friends.” and I agree.

We picked a terrible season to get back into the Eagles. They finished with a four and twelve record. Long-time fans told me that this would harden me. If I could last through this season it would make me a better fan. And they’ll get better draft picks next year. So here’s to 2013!

Every time the Eagles score a touchdown at home they sing the Eagles Fight Song. We all would sing it as well, irrespective of their location. In a way it felt like the best part of the game. Too bad we didn’t get to sing it very often.

Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory

Fight Eagles fight, score a touchdown one two three

Hit ‘em low, hit ‘em high, and watch our Eagles fly

Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory!

(then my favorite part)

E! A! G! L! E! S! Eagles!

I would also like to mention some commercials, since they make up part of the experience. I award the best commercial to Dietz and Watson even though I don’t eat meat. They have Momma Dietz do the commercials which adds a homely quality to them. And for the worst, hands down the award this year goes to It has an annoying song that you cannot get out of your head, no matter how you try or how many beers you drink. I figure they must have done it on purpose. I also thought it very funny that PNC Bank sponsored the broadcasts. At every break, sometimes after an awful play, they would have to say “PNC: for the achiever in you.” I could picture some guy at PNC going SHUT UP! Don’t say that now.

My social yoga continues even though the season has ended. I gave a great speech at BarCamp. On Monday I will check out Indy Hall. And my brother and I have already begun making plans to listen to baseball while drinking beer in his new rooftop pool. The future looks very bright and very social. I feel fantastic.