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  • Reverend James Squire

The Biggest Eagles Fan Is Different. The X FActor

The Eagles biggest fan is an Episcopal priest who has a very large tattoo of an eagle on his back. It’s big enough that it looks like he could take off and fly at any moment. I know some fans have Eagles tattoos on their arms, but I think I am safe in saying that he is the only clergyman with this large symbol on his back. I hope that the team wins the Super Bowl as it will lift the spirits of the people for it is a Philly thing. I am rooting that they win for just one guy. He is a close friend who I have written about who has a serious cancer and has undergone the most rigorous therapies to treat it. Pretty soon he will learn if his treatment protocol has worked.

I subscribe to the belief that has been articulated by thought leader, Malcolm Gladwell, that you can tell everything that you need to know about a person in the first fifteen seconds of your meeting them. When I asked my Eagles fan friend to come and work with me years ago, people indicated that we were just too different. It wouldn’t work out. We were different. I always try to select people who were like Lincoln’s team of rivals, different from me but possessing something called the X factor. Yes, my friend and I were different from one another in terms of socioeconomic backgrounds and style.

Later in “our wouldn’t last long prediction” when we were working together for a decade plus, I could identity his X factor. He was passionate about things that he believed in yet open to others’ ideas. We were the odd couple of a clergy team. He was theatric in his sermons. He had memorized several of The Reverend Martin Luther King’s speeches. We worked together during some very tense times in the life of EA and never had a disagreement that couldn’t be resolved.

We see this phenomenon often when we look across a crowded room and say to ourselves what could she possibly see in him. They don’t match. I see this working with young people. Usually, the X Factor is something that one person sees in another that is not seen by others outside of the relationship. I ask the question in premarital counseling in the following way; “What, if anything, do you see in your mate that others do not see?”

The X factor is something that we are aware of in those fifteen seconds, but we may not be able to define it until later on in our relationship. I hire people to work on my house for needed repairs based on my meeting with them and what occurs in that first fifteen seconds.

This X Factor can happen to us as well. Recently, I had the windows in our home replaced. We live in an upscale neighborhood that is a polar opposite of where I was born. When the work was completed, I handed the window guy the money and said rather spontaneously, “You are America. You built this country.” I wanted to celebrate his working-class life!

His response was, “Ever since I met you, I felt there is something different about you.” As he looked around, I believe that he thought I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Vicki’s response to his statement was to ask him if he liked to read. He said that he did! She then said, “Read his memoir. You will see how he is different.”

I told the window guy the story of my days working in the steel mill to pay for college, that my father had a 6th grade education and a stroke when I was in tenth grade and that I sat down next to the owner of the steel mill at a reception after a wedding that I blessed. The owner told me his complaints about the union. I, in turn, told him about what it was like to work in the hell hole of his mill. He and I concluded with a new found respect for one another. The window guy liked that story.

The X Factor was shared experience. I was not prepared for the window guy’s response as he was leaving. He said, “You need anything done in this house, call me!”

Although my clergy colleague won’t be attending any tailgate parties, he shares that experience of the fans because it is a Philly thing. They will be wearing their Eagles’ gear but, in all likelihood, they may miss the X Factor, the passion, the only clergyman that I know with a huge Eagle tattooed on his back. He’s different in the most wonderful way. If they spent some time with him, they would know how.

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