An Afternoon With The Temple “Golden” Owls (11/21/09)

Let’s take a quick break from the off-season historical updates and get in late-November game update.  No, we didn’t find a baseball game to attend.  But I thought it would be fun to change the pace for one entry and do a college football game update.

I grew up in Seattle and am a Pac-10 college football fan.  In 1999, I started law school at Temple University, which is historically better known as a basketball school thanks to the legendary John Chaney.  In fact, during my time at Temple, I never attended a single football game…I’m not sure if anyone else did either.  We were pathetic.  But four years ago something changed.

In 2006, Temple hired Al Golden, Jr. as its new head football coach.  At the time, I didn’t know a thing about Golden.  But I soon learned that he is second cousin to my father-in-law, Kevin Gill.  Specifically, my wife’s grandma, Regina (Ryan) Gill, was first cousins with Al Golden, Sr.  So I decided I better start supporting both my university and my family.  Tim and I have attended to 2-4 games per season since 2007.

And “Cousin Al” has worked miracles at Temple.  A little background, in 2005, the Owls were 0-11.  They haven’t made a bowl game since 1979.  And I think their last winning season was 1990.  They were kicked out of the Big East due to low attendance — “low” is actually putting it nicely.  Their attendance was and still is pathetic.  So they spent a season as an independent and then joined the MAC 2 years ago.

They have improved each year under Cousin Al.  In 2006, they were 1-11.  In 2007, they were 4-8 (4-4 MAC).  In 2008, they improved again to 5-7 (4-4 MAC).  They could have won as many as 8 last season but finished poorly in 3 games, including one loss on a hail mary pass by Buffalo.

Enter 2009.  The Owls started out 0-2 against Villanova and Penn State.  Since then, they had won 8 consecutive games entering this week.  They were leading the MAC East at a perfect 5-0.  They are bowl eligible and could finish as good as 10-2.  Plus, they could make it to the MAC championship game.

Simply put, Al Golden was a great hire for Temple.

My father-in-law and some others have wanted to see Cousin Al and his “Golden” Owls.  So, we decided to go as a group on November 21, which is also my lovely wife’s birthday.  This would be Tim’s first time “tailgating” before a sporting event.  The opponet:  the Kent State Golden Flashes.

Coming from Pennsyvlania, New Jersey and Virginia, we met up in the parking lot at Lincoln Financial Field.  Yep, the Owls play at the Eagles’ stadium.  Here was our group:

8 - Tailgaters.JPGLeft to right:  Kimberly (Colleen’s sister), Kate (our neice), Bob (Colleen’s Dad’s uncle and Al Golden Sr.’s first cousin), Ann (Bob’s wife), Colleen, Me, Tim, Kevin (Kimberly’s husband), and Kevin (Colleen’s Dad).  Tim is giving a big frown in this picture because he just stepped on an unopened bag of potatoe chips, bounced off of it and fell to the pavement.  You know you’re light on your feet when you can step on a bag of potatoe chips without popping the seal!

By the way, you may remember Kevin, Ann and Bob from Tim’s first Mariners game.

Here was our tailgating location:

9 - linc outside panaramic.jpg

Ann and Bob are long time New York Giants (booooo!) season holders and they know how to conduct a tailgating party:

4 - the veteran tailgaters.JPGI told them that their wine and cheese was bringing class to South Philadelphia, but their Giants table cloth might stir up some confrontation (it didn’t).

The guys next to us were big time tailgaters too.  They set up a big flag pole at the side fo their car…

2 - flags.JPG

…featuring a Temple flag, Irish flag, and Papal flag.  The guy said they put the Pope’s flag up because another tailgating regular also flies a Temple and Irish flag.  Anyway, those guys were cool.  They let us use their soft temple football, a soccer net and soccer ball, and sidewalk chalk.

I came prepared with baseball equipment:

1 - tailgate baseball.JPGWhen some cheerleaders passed by, I asked if they’d send the Temple Owl, Hooter, by to get pictures with the kids.  About 10 minutes later, Hooter arrived:

5 - here comes Hooter.JPGI think this was Kate’s first sporting event and first mascot interaction.  She couldn’t take her eyes off Hooter long enough to look at the camera:

6 - Hooter Tim and Kate.JPGWhile we were calling “Kate, Kate, look at the camera,” Tim was poking Hooter’s face and calling out, “Look at his beak!  Look at his beak!”

I couldn’t pass up the chance to get my photo with Hooter too:

7 - Todd and Hooter.JPGUncle Bob got in on the sidewalk chalk action…

10 - bob has fun with chalk.jpg…and showed some family support:

11 - golden for pres.jpgWe all played some football with our neighbor’s ball:

12 - tailgate football and cheerleaders.jpgSome other nearby tailgaters had a nice Owl painting on display:

13 - owl on duty.jpgThe marching band kept marching back-and-forth and then they formed a semi-circle and started playing some tunes…

14 - temple band panaramic.jpg.

…when we finally entered the stadium, the band was configured as an owl’s head on the field:

15 - owl band.jpgSoon they reformed into a human tunnel so the team could charge to the field:

16 - here come the owls.jpgWe were in a suite for the game, and this was our view of the field:

17 - suite panaramic.jpgThe football action was exciting in the first half:

18 - action shots no. 1.jpgIn that top right photo, the Owls receiver missed that pass for a touchdown.  But we still came away with some points.

Kevin took Tim under his wing and taught him some of the ins and outs of football:

19 - under poppy's wing.jpgTim spent some time spelling people’s names on a piece of paper…

20 - what are your letters.jpg…just before this picture, Tim walked up and said, “Bob, what are your letters?”

The first half was too close for comfort.  In fact, Kent State led for much of the first half.  And when things went right for Temple, they still didn’t go all-that-right.  Like after Temple’s lone TD of the first half, Kent State blocked the PAT kick:

20a - blocked PAT.jpgAt half-time, we trailed 10-9.

Then, we toured around the stadium a bit.  “The Linc” is a great place.  But Football stadiums are no where as cool and wonderful as baseball stadiums.  We did find this excellent view of Citizens Bank Park and the Philadelphia skyline from the field level concourse at the NW corner of the stadium:

21 - citz and city from linc panaramic.jpgDuring half time, Tim tried to “throw” some field goals:

22 - throwing a field goal.jpgThen we got some group shots by the field:

23 - kevin bob and ann.jpgAnd another:

24 - cooks and ryans.jpgBy the way, you might notice that Kevin, Kimberly and Kate are not in these pictures.  They ended up having to leave before the game even started.  You see, Kate’s brother Gill was napping in one of the cars during the tailgating.  He wasn’t feeling too hot and they decided they better take him home rather than make him sit through the game.  So we were a party of six during the game.

Here is a panaramic view I took of the field from the endzone concourse:

25 - endzone panaramic.jpgBack in the suite, I took this shot of the Temple Owl on the scoreboard:

26 - owl attack on big screen.jpgAnd we got some more random shots of us watching the game:

27 - suite time.jpgThe Owls turned it on in the second half.  Here are some more random action shots…

28 - action shots no. 2.jpg…and in the inset photo is our buddy Hooter standing on the sideline.

Colleen grew up in Fredericksburg, VA.  And so did Temple football player Delano Green…

29 - delano green 52 yard punt return for TD.jpg…here he is breaking a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown.  A couple minutes later, he took a hand off on a reverse and broke it for a 50-yard touchdown run.

Toward the end of the game, Tim watched a TV show about big ships at sea while Colleen did some coloring:

30 - extracurricular activities.jpgToward the very end of the game, I got this excellent shot of my beautiful little family.

31 - tim and the birthday girl.jpgAnd then it was over.  Temple won 47-13 and then went and shook their oppenents hands:

32 - shaking hands.jpgNINE WINS IN A ROW!  Go Owls!  Hoot!  Hoot!

33 - thank you owls.jpg

By the way, this was also Ken Griffey, Jr.’s 40th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Griff!


One comment

  1. mattpeas

    not very often you see a baseball game at a football tailgate. when i was growing up watching my Mountaineers in the 1990s Temple was a staple in the big east, but mostly hung around the basement of the league. However, Rich Rodriguez’s first year at wvu in 2001 i do believe the owls got the better of us and took us down.

    its a shame more people dont get out to see those games. maybe its because it such a huge stadium but it would be nice to see college football flourish in philly

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