A sparrow and an Eagle

A few months ago my Pit Bull, Maybe, brought an injured bird into the house. Considering her formidable prey drive, I was shocked she didn’t crunch it dead in a single bite. Instead, she carried it in her mouth to the couch and tenderly deposited it there for me to deal with. I wrapped the bird loosely in a towel and brought it to the animal hospital where the vet conducted a sort of rudimentary examination right there in the lobby. The bird had a broken leg, but would recover just fine.

Michael Vick’s debut with the Eagles

This afternoon Maybe brought me another bird. Again, I was amazed the little thing was alive after what had to have been an unpleasant (albeit short) journey inside my dog’s mouth. I cupped the bird in my shirt and went outside, hoping it would fly away. It didn’t. It blinked its eyes and twitched its head. I drove to the animal hospital.

Vick protesters

When I got there, the bird was no longer breathing. The vet technicians watched me fall apart in the hospital lobby. One offered me a tissue. “I’m a crier,” I explained. “Really, I’m fine. Just emotional.” I put my sunglasses on and drove back home.

Right now, I’m watching Michael Vick‘s preseason debut with the Philadelphia Eagles – the game is streaming on the Internet. I don’t know anything about football, and my husband is still at work. The commentators are telling me what Vick is doing, but they might as well be speaking Portuguese. I don’t follow.

It’s a bizarre convenience of the modern era, but I turn to the only place I know I can find help: Twitter. I search “Vick”and the page fills with tweet after tweet, reports from people watching the same feed I am. In one window I see the game; in the other, I read the play by play in choppy, 140-character-or-less updates.

Phillynewsnow tells me Vick tossed short completion on second play. (That’s good for the Eagles, right?) BrewCrewBabe can’t wait to draft Vick in her fantasy football league. And PapaKevin proclaims: I don’t care how many dogs Micheal Vick “took care of” I’m excited to see him play tonight.

I realize I can’t sit through the whole thing, and I click out of the streaming video. It wasn’t seeing Vick throw the football or complete a pass or smile smugly on the sidelines that was so hard to watch. It wasn’t the remorseless swagger or crisp uniform. I think what I found most disconcerting was the applause he received for simply walking out onto the field. The reception fell somewhere between a redeemed man’s salute and a hero’s welcome. He hadn’t even touched the ball yet.

Today, one bird died in my arms. Another was resurrected on my computer screen. I can’t find meaning in either.

Did you watch the game? Post your reaction below.