Mark Tulin is a baseball fan from Philadelphia, PA. He has four books of poetry and one short story collection, available on Amazon.
What Really Happened in Philadelphia?
Perhaps, the most controversial day in Eagles football history was when the fans threw snowballs at Santa Claus in 1968. The Eagles were winning by a score against the Vikings at the half. They would eventually lose the game.
There were several versions of that day.
One story has it that the Eagles were coming off two wins after losing eleven straight, and the fans were angry because they blew their chance at getting O.J. Simpson in the draft by not having the worst record in the NFL. Therefore, snowballs were a way that the fans showed their displeasure.
Another version was a drunken fan went up to Santa and threw a snowball at him and said, “You’re not getting anything for Christmas.”
I tend to like my version the best. It sheds a more favorable light on Eagles fans, whose reputation has greatly suffered since that day. My version is full of poetic license, some factual errors, and a lot of humor tossed in.
Poem: Snowballs at Santa
It was 1968.
The frozen tundra of Franklin Field.
John Facenda was doing play-by-play.
The snow came down in crystal pigskins
as if the football Gods were angry.
The Eagles were losing at halftime.
Down by wasted dreams and hopes.
The fans booed and cursed,
filling their bellies with cheesesteaks
and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
In blizzard conditions, we waited for one redeeming play—
Santa’s appearance at halftime.
Instead, an imposter, a skinny raggedy fool
wearing a baggy Santa outfit,
pockets full of empty bottles of Jack Daniels.
That was the ultimate infraction
as evidenced by a collective Eagles groan.
An unsportsmanlike conduct, an ejection from the game.
Give him fifteen! Yelled a man from the bleachers
only to land on the deaf ears of the men in stripes.
They let the Christmas parade carry on.
A drunken Santa rode in the truck,
giving ineffectual ho-ho-ho’s and waves,
no beard or white hair,
no elves or reindeer;
only an empty bag of cheer.
I rolled some snow into a tightly packed ball,
along with countless other fans.
This is for the spirit of Kris Kringle, I yelled
and heaved the snowball onto the blurry
white-out of Christmas.
© 2019 Mark Tulin