Ya know… as much of a football fan as I tell everyone that I’m not, I had an overwhelming sense of pride yesterday watching the parade on TV. I didn’t attend in person because I was working, but to see that many loyal fans show their support to a group of hardworking people was a very heartwarming and emotional thing to watch. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people gathered to show celebrate, and for something that has truly been a long time coming, it was incredible to watch. God bless them all, too… it was a balmy 28 degrees F in Philadelphia, and I know that no matter what kind of coat you’re wearing… below freezing is just COLD.
As I was talking to my manager this morning, we were chatting about the email his son’s school sent out, advising that any students that wish to attend the parade may do so, as school will be cancelled and made up one day next month. I actually found that a lot of surrounding schools, including the school district I live in excused absences for anyone wishing to go to philly. At first, my inner Scrooge thought, “yeah, great idea. Keep the kids home from school. Who needs education?”. After putting my strict and sometimes rigid knee-jerk reactions aside, I thought about it. This is such an important lesson for people to learn, attending this parade. It seems trite, but let me tell you. It really isn’t. Here are a few things to reconsider about ditching work and school to attend the Eagles parade.
#1 – You’re spending time with friends and family
No sports fan ever ventures into any arena alone, and this is for good reason. When you support a team, you’re supporting a cause – a movement, if you will. You’re spending time with important people, placing value on an important time. By carving out time to celebrate with your friends, you’re also memorializing time spent with them doing something you love. Live a little, go throw a beer up to Doug Pederson as he rides by on that bus with his team, and laugh with your friends.
#2 – You’re showing your loyalty to what you love
For those of us who could’ve attended and given up a vacation day, that’s fine… and more than likely, we won’t notice. Philadelphia (much like any other team) has a lot of hard-working, blue collar folks that waited their whole lives to see something like this, and went without a day’s pay just to live their dream of celebrating a Superbowl win with the Eagles. While some may treat a parade surrounding football as a first-world fantasy commodity, it is so much bigger than that to the fans. Your team will always be there, and if you stay with them through thick and thin, a win is that much more satisfying.
#3 – You’re opening yourself up to more love
This one is sort of mushy when you think of your typical Philadelphia sports fan, but let’s be honest. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t so happy to see that many people gathered around for one purpose. Everyone (the media) loves to portray the Philly fans at large as this wild, sometimes un-classy, rowdy group of people. I’m not saying that’s NOT a little bit true here and there, but it’s derived from passion, and it does go beyond just us over here in Philly. People were absolutely overjoyed to be there – rarely will you see another large public display of appreciation outside of something like the Eagles parade. Go YouTube Jason Kelce’s speech from yesterday – if you can get over his Mummer outfit and really listen to his cries for unity, it was a tale about a group of people that ‘wanted it more’. When you love the game, your tribe, your city, your ANYTHING, there’s so much more love. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
And on that note…. Allow me to give you something that will warm your heart…. and your stomach. It is SPAAHHCY.
Spicy Cajun Stir-Fry with Andouille, Veggies and Rice (Gluten-Free)
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
- 1 package (5 sausages) of andouille chicken sausage
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/3 inch slices
- 1 cup of eggplant, sliced into bite size pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- Cajun seasoning, to taste
For the Cajun seasoning (with lots left over for later!)
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 5 tsp paprika
- 4 -5 tablespoons seasoning salt
- In a small sauce pot, cook your rice per directions. (The rice I like only takes 20 minutes to cook, but if your brown rice takes a while, be sure to plan ahead, giving yourself about 10-15 minutes for the rest of your food to cook!)
- In a small bowl or jar, mix together your Cajun spices. I like to recycle my old glass spice containers, and you can totally store this spice mix in one as your normally would. Set aside.
- While your rice cooks, slice your andouille into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. Place in a skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute until starting to brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes.
- Once your sausage has started to caramelize, add your peppers, eggplant and zucchini. Season with 1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning mix to start. Turn the heat to medium high, stirring occasionally. Add a tsp more olive oil, as needed. Continue to cook until veggies start to brown and are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- Check your rice – fluff with a fork and remove lid to allow to dry a bit. Add more seasoning to taste, and cook for another 3-4 minutes to brown the dish.
- Serve, and enjoy.