Category Archives: Slice of Life

A ‘Super’ Sentiment

tampa-bay

By GORDON GLANTZ

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — By the time many of you read this, the Super Bowl between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will have already been played.

Nonetheless, I want to get my pre-kickoff state of mind on the record, should I lose my mind as a result of the game, which I would not be surprised will be a good one (we’ll see if I’m right about that).

For the record, I would only be disturbed if a zebra came out and crapped on the field (i.e. an official altered the outcome, either way, with a bad call).  That aside. I’m not going to lose any sleep over the outcome.

That means none. As in zero.

I’ve been deprived so many beauty winks over the past nearly five decades of being a Philadelphia sports fan — and such an ardent devotee of the Eagles, in particular, to the extreme point where I really don’t even enjoy the games anymore — that I would have looked more like Brad Pitt and less like, well, me if I had been more into making model airplanes on autumn Sundays instead.

Ask me who I think will win today, and I will run in through my personal processor and come out with a New England triumph to the tune of 41-35 (give or take a few points).

I’d like to be right, but I have been known to be wrong on some rare occasions. It would uphold my status as someone who knows something about the sport beyond an excuse to drink and belch and play meaningless taproom pools to stay interested.

But I’d also like to be right for another reason. I know it means I should — and could — be burned at the stake the next time I venture out for a cheese steak, but that’s how I feel.

The reason: I would rather see the Patriots win.

That’s right, I said it.

I can hear the chorus now: B-B-But Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan is a local boy.

Yeah, I know. Don’t care.

He is not from Northeast Philly, let alone an alum of Northeast High. He is not from my adopted home ‘hood of Central Montgomery County and did not play for one the schools I covered in my long sports-journalism career.

And he did stay home and play college ball at Temple, instead going to Boston College.

Ryan is from Exton and played scholastically at Penn Charter (eye roll … like that is a common occurrence … second eye roll … for normal kids paying their own way).

May as well be from Mars and have played on Neptune before going to Jupiter for college ball.

Next, you’ll say: B-B-But it will be someone different, another team winning for a change.

Keep talking, and then keep walking.

Not gonna work here in Gordonville.

If the Falcons win today, they will be something like the eighth team (no, I’m not looking it up to verify!) — just since Jeffrey Lurie has owned the Eagles — to win their franchise’s first Super Bowl while we wait in line.

In many cases, these are rent-a-franchises without histories dating back to the earliest days of pro football.

Talking about Tampa Bay and Carolina.

One more for the winner’s circle?

Screw that.

And don’t try to get political, saying our newly elected dictator’s favorite team is the Patriots.

Sports is the one place where politics and other things that divide us are usually put to the side.

And given the rise of anti-Semitic acts since a certain someone was elected on what I see as an arcane technicality (the electoral college), it would be a strong message — for those who dare to comprehend it — to witness said “president” hanging with Patriots’ Jewish owner Robert Kraft.

Yes, the Falcons have a Jewish owner, too, in Arthur Blank.

The fact is that there probably more Jewish owners in the NFL than there are Jewish players.

And yet, two of those players — Julian Edelman and Nate Ebner — are  not only rostered with the Patriots, but are pretty good. Edelman is the favorite target of Tom Brady and Ebner is an All-Pro special teams guy.

A win will make the Patriots the top dynasty of the league’s Super Bowl era and Tom Brady the Super Bowl quarterback with the most wins (which may get him to retire). Sports doesn’t have enough dynasties anymore, so that’s fine.

I’ve seen them celebrate before, including beating the Eagles in my presence. I am numb to that pain.

A new team? A “somebody else for a change” team? Can’t stomach the idea.

Let it be us, or no one at all.

That’s about enough to give me a rooting interest, and while having me still sleep like a baby — and dreaming that recurring dream of the Eagles winning it all — this Sunday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olympic Shakedown

Handshake

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — In a perfect world, the now-completed 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio should have been a rallying point in Casa de Glantz.

No more fighting for the remote when it is time to decide between “The Bachelor” or a sporting event. No more zoning out when an obscure topic comes up at the dinner table.

With Sofia now 9, these were to be the first Olympics when she really could fully comprehend what was happening up there on our new 60-inch screen.

And even though I’ve gained the smarts to work the Smart TV, I figured Netflix would have to take a break for the Olympics.

But something happened on the road to Rio (yes, I’m aware of the movie by that name).

HBO’s “Real Sports” kept it “real” and shed light on the dark underbelly that is the whole Olympic syndrome we buy into every two years (Winter Olympics come two years after the summer these days, so that we stay nice and inundated with the concept of good will through sport).

Exposing the exploitation tactics of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Real Sports confirmed a semi-quelled inkling that sports journalism may now be the standard-bearer of the once great fourth estate.

And it turned me off, just about completely, to any interest in the Rio games, while serving as a stark reminder that an event designed to make the world seem perfect is a delusion.

But then I had to consider my 9-year-old ultra-precocious daughter, Sofia, who was going into the Games buoyed by a Lifetime movie on Gabby Douglas she had seen on Netflix after a long détente over what to watch once the Smart TV riddle rhymed.

She was deeply interested, and asking a lot of questions. When it comes to all things sports, whether I know or not, I’m the Answer Man around here.

As it was, the two most televised sports in the first week were gymnastics and swimming. Sofia, inbound for fourth grade, has been taking gymnastics since the summer after Kindergarten and has been taking more serious 1-on-1 swimming lessons this summer.

She was doing her own “routines” in front to the TV, and pretending to swim back and forth. It was too cute, and too reminiscent of what I used to do – often in full costume – when I watched sports. (Confession: I still watch the Eagles in a jersey and hold a now half-deflated football as a comfort toy.)

So I put all disgust from the “Real Sports” segment on the shelf and watched with her, even when Mommy and Nana slithered away from the scene.

This is what we Dads do.

Sofia was cheering for Douglas, after seeing the aforementioned movie, but I reminded my half-Jewish daughter that she needed to hold a warm thought for team captain Aly Raisman. We also cheered for Michael Phelps to make history, were amazed by Katie Ledecky and couldn’t understand how and why Sweden would be formidable in swimming when the other more “winter” countries (Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Finland, etc.) were struggling to get on the radar in any event.

It brought back memories of my first real Olympics experience: the Munich Games of 1972.

I was 7, and my whole world was sports. I remember watching from the couch for much of Mark Spitz’s exploits. I also remember being on “vacation” in Washington, D.C. for the end of the Games, and trying to understand – as much as I could at that age – what was going on when the Israeli athletes were taken hostage and murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

At the time, I thought the subsequent theft of the basketball gold medal from the U.S. men’s basketball team was more egregious, but I soon came to learn that it paled in comparison. It came full-circle when I read a Doug Collins interview stating that what had happened to the Israelis pretty much dampened the spirits of the team and that they “just wanted to go home” as much as play that gold medal game against the former Soviet Union.

Olympic officials tried to separate sports from politics, but they were proven – just as Hitler’s Berlin Games of 1936 and the black power salute of Tommie Smith and John Carlos on a Mexico City medal stand in 1968 or the mass boycott of the Moscow Games of 1980 did – to be impossibly intertwined.

That’s the one aspect of the modern Olympic Games in which the spirit of the ancient Greek Olympiad cannot be recaptured. In those days of yore, with the likes of Plato and Socrates among the honored spectators, there was a mandatory cessation of regional hostilities to allow for safe passage of soldiers to travel and be able to compete.

How and why could that have been the case in a supposedly less-evolved time in history? Maybe because the ancient Olympics also had a spiritual side.

They believed the Gods were watching.

These Gods probably looked away in disgust sometime between the full-time modern revival in Athens in 1896 and the stripping of Jim Thorpe’s 1912 gold medals in 1913.

Although smoke-and-mirror productions – like the grandiose opening ceremony in Rio –  can put a proverbial bandage on a gunshot wound, the internal bleeding had already begun behind the scenes.

And it was clear there was no cessation of regional hostilities to allow safe passage – even to the opening extravaganza.

That night in Rio, members of the Lebanese delegation refused to share a bus with the Israeli team.

And so it began.

And continued.

A female representing Saudia Arabia, which has a poor record on women’s rights, withdrew from the judo competition rather than risk having to compete in the second round against an Israeli, Gili Cohen. (If the Saudi didn’t want to compete, her name doesn’t deserve to be mentioned.)

On the men’s side, in judo, Israel’s Or Sasson was graced in competition by Egypt’s Islam El-Shehaby. After Sasson scored what is the sport’s version of a knockout (or pin), Sasson’s fervent attempt at a handshake was rebuffed. While the crowd jeered, the referee ordered Shehaby to take the customary bow and eventually got a feeble nod.

The action was a post-script in most places. Given the volatile nature of the Middle East, who wants to take sides, right? Decried in the Israeli press and met with passing disgust in the U.S., excuses were initially made by officials (the IOC has a history of anti-Semitism going back to Hitler’s games).

In a delayed move, El Shehaby was sent home by his own country – likely to a hero’s welcome, which he will need to avoid the shame of losing to a Jew.

And make no mistake about it, this is what this all about.

Recognition, and treatment of the Palestinians, are just easy excuses. It is the same reason Israel has a harder time qualifying for the World Cup in soccer or the Olympics in basketball. Instead of competing against nations from its own region, it has to compete against European nations because neighboring countries refuse to compete.

Meanwhile, the “Real Sports” report delved into safety in Rio. During the games, there have been incidents, up to and including U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte and teammates half-concocted their story about being held up at gunpoint (it was kinda sorta true, but not really, and yet another controversy that got a ridiculous amount of mainstream media coverage while Louisiana literally floated away).

According to Associated Press, these other incidents include the following:

  • An Olympic security officer was fatally shot after he and two others got lost near a slum near the airport.
  • A pair of Australian rowing coaches were robbed at knifepoint Friday in Ipanema. A day later, also in Ipanema, Portugal’s education minister was robbed at knifepoint.
  • Stray bullets have twice flown into the Olympic sports complex in Deodoro.
  • Two windows were shattered on a bus carrying journalists (local official say rocks, but those on the bus think bullets).
  • Bomb squads have set off several controlled explosions after finding unattended items such as the backpack near the basketball arena. Detonations also have happened near the finish line of a cycling race and of a Copacabana Palace hotel.

While all these actions pale in comparison to what happened in Munich, just think of the mileage – the positive international press – that would be generated if the animosity was dropped, like when there was a cessation in battle in the ancient games, if something as simple as a shared bus ride and a handshake and man-hug occurred.

We know that would play well in, say, the UK or Canada or Australia or the Netherlands. But it would be seen as a national disgrace in places like Lebanon and Saudi Araba and, yes, Egypt (treaty or not).

How do I explain all of this to Sofia, when she is watching with the same wide eyes I once had?

I want to tell her all, and one day I will, but Olympic moments – like the so-called 1980 Miracle on Ice (I personally don’t think it was quite the miracle it was made out to be) – should be coveted before her innocence is lost.

For now, I suppose I’ll keep it simple.

And do what we Dads sometimes have to do.

I’ll lie.

I’ll say the Gods are watching.

Long Walk Home

MacLeish

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

Been giving a lot of thought lately to what it means to grow old.

Being on the north side of 50, if only by a year, will do that to a guy.

More or less, I still love – or at least like, or am bemused by – the same music and television shows from my youth (while picking up some strays along the road of life).

I am still given to bouts of unabashed to immaturity, often manifested by practical jokes with Sofia serving as my assistant.

And that little girl, sometimes 9 going on 19 and sometimes 9 going on 19 months, keeps me young in so many ways.

Yeah, there are the physical reminders – less hair up top and more girth in the gut.

And I am mastering the art of small talk. I can do the wave and nod thing and the final plunge of discussing the weather and traffic patterns.

But I think we age as we lose drip on our youth.

Listening to Bruce Springsteen 24/7 won’t halt that that inevitability.

No one gets out of here alive.

We lose our grandparents, our parents, our aunts and uncles and we age with each loss.

By the time we lose our friends, well, you don’t need a calendar to tell you how old you are.

Rick MacLeish was not a personal friend of mine. I met the man twice. Once, I wait in long line at car dealership – Matt Slapp Something or Other (I think Chevrolet, but don’t hold me to that) in the Northeast – but they hustled us all through the line pretty quickly.

My heart pounded as I approached. He quietly asked my name and I stammered with a response. He proceeded to spell it incorrectly – G-O-R-D-E-N – which is actually amazing, considering the number of people named Gordon, like Gordon Lightfoot, from his native Canada.

Because of the length of the line, my impatient stepfather told me he would be back to pick me up. Because of the precision of the movement of the line, he was nowhere to be found when I was done. So, I did what any stupid 9-year-old would do.

I walked home.

By the time I got there, the late autumn chill had taken its toll and my mother put me in a warm a tub. I didn’t quite understand my stepfather’s panic when he got back to Matt Slapp, but I can only imagine how I would feel – actually I can’t – if the same thing happened with Sofia if she were waiting in line for an autograph from Becky G (her second-favorite teen idol behind Sabrina Carpenter).

When he saw me in the tub, he couldn’t get too mad. I was home. And, really, he should have waited and he knew it.

But this was 1974. Parents didn’t see child abductors lurking on every corner. We played, out of view, until dark.

My favorite sport to play was street hockey, pretending to be like guys like Rick MacLeish.

All was forgotten and I went to bed happy, despite any panic I caused. I had interfaced with my second-favorite Flyer – Bobby Clarke was like Secretariat pulling away from Sham in the Belmont Stakes – and I had his autograph (I had Clarke’s too, but it was not from a personal encounter).

The second meeting with MacLeish was a bit different. I was acting in a professional manner as working member of the press at the Philadelphia Sports Writer’s dinner in Cherry Hill. I walked out of the press room to look for Tommy Lasorda (I worked for the Norristown paper, and we were required to write about Lasorda whenever he passed gas) and almost collided with someone around my own size.

He politely said “excuse me” and timidly stepped aside. His face, like any of the Broad Street Bullies, was unmistakable.

“Rick MacLeish,” I pronounced, much more confident than when I was nine, introducing myself as he shifted his beer to his left hand and shook mine.

We spoke for about five minutes, tops, during which I did most of the talking in a quiet corner where there were so many other Philadelphia sports icons walking around that no one would have even noticed.  I told him he was my second-favorite Flyer, about the Matt Slapp incident and how I spent hours in my garage trying to replicate the quickness and power of his surreal wrist shot.

I also told MacLeish that whenever my father manage to get tickets for a game – no easy task in that time frame –  he always scored a goal, and that I even saw a hat trick or two.

He quipped that he would have gotten me season tickets if he had known.

We also talked about the goal he scored against the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, which held up for the duration in a 1-0 win. He explained that the deflection was not an accident. He explained that he and Andre “Moose” Dupont tirelessly worked on it in practice. Dupont would shoot it about an inch off the ice and he would deflect it. By the time the situation arose in the game, it was like second nature. For the first time in a game situation, it worked.

He joked that the other power-play point men, Bill Barber and Tom Bladon, shot too hard to spend time on it with them but that “Moose shot it nice and slow, but accurately, and could only get it as high as around the ankles anyway.”

I saw Lasorda – actually, I heard him, too – from the corner of my eye. I was promised five minutes to do a power interview, so I had to excuse myself. MacLeish shook my hand again (hockey players were always gentlemen) and blended back into the crowd from which he came.

I spotted him again, alone in a corner of the VIP area, and thought about resuming the conversation. But I had a story to write, and wanted it out of the way before the dinner, and I didn’t want the man to think I was some sort of a stalker.

So, those are my Rick MacLeish stories. It might be a sign of age, but neither is ever told that often.

From time to time, I would run into someone from overnight camp or somewhere else in my youth, and they would luckily remember me more for my wrist shot than by buck teeth and Jewfro.

My response would be that “I got it from watching MacLeish.”

And I starting watching MacLeish again.

Part of staying young, I suppose, has been some small semblance of computer literacy. The Flyers’ first of two cups is recalled most by the final series, with Clarke winning Game 2 in overtime and MacLeish’s tally in Game 6 that goalie Bernie Parent would preserve, but they got there by edging past a New Rangers team in seven games that was probably better than Boston.

I found Game 7 of the Ranger series on You Tube and what immediately struck me was how dominant MacLeish was in that decisive contest.

And after he passed away this past week at age 66, I watched it again. The whole thing.

It made me feel young.

It made me feel old.

Most of all, it made me feel he was worth that long walk home.

 

 

 

One For My Baby

People ask why I don’t write a song about Sofia. The answer is that it is complicated. In many ways, I have, but not really. Not directly. Not until now.Bunnypie My lyrics are generally not about one particular person or experience. Additionally, they tend to be from the dark side of my brain – an outlet for my angst and negativity and quest for justice. Sofia represents the polar opposite, a light so blinding that I can’t help but smile in spite of the darkness. That said, long-time readers of my former employer are well-aware that she was a consistent topic in my Sunday columns — so much so that she was probably the most well-known toddler in Central Montgomery County. Sofia just turned 9, going on 19, meaning she is no toddler anymore. They have been the best 9 years of my life and, with me penning lyrics on a nearly daily basis, this is reflected in many songs in an ancillary way. In this song, though, it is more direct. As I patiently wait on the music to be written (hint, partner), let me know what you think.

Song for Sofia (Promise I Will Keep)

I got a bum thumb

From sharpening your pencils

Spend my Father’s Days

At your dance recitals

But what else would I do?

Where else would I be?

No one means more than you

This is what you’ve done to me

 

We’ll play catch

Till one lands in your glove

Keep getting pets

So you can share all your love

You are my promise

A promise I will keep

A light in the darkness

That is what you are to me

 

Drive you to school

Send you off to your world

Watching you grow

Still Daddy’s little girl

What else would I do?

What else could I be?

I do it all for you

You are the world to me

 

You are my promise

A promise I will keep

A light in the darkness

That’s what you are to me

Wanna Fly Like An Eagle

Me at Super Bowl

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — I was never big believer in the “no news is good news” adage. In my life experience, “no news” means I’m probably in the “pay him no mind” file of “the man.”

In this case, “the man” is Eagles head honcho Jeffery Lurie.

During a press conference a few month backs, Lurie threw out a bit of a hand grenade to keep the Howie Roseman haters from advancing. He did this by stating a third person would be added to the team’s player personnel mix.

The antennae shot out of my head like a pop tart from a toaster.

When you have been on the planet for 50 years, you develop a pretty good sense of self. There are certain things I know was not put on earth to do.

Among them, for example, would be building my own house with my own hands or trying to “sing” the songs I write.

Flip side, though, are the things I was put on earth to do. Among them was to be a doting daddy to a little girl, be a caring pet owner and someone who – when boxed into a corner – can write his way out of a paper bag.

Another would be something in football, preferably as a beat writer or a player personnel person.

You can only take my word for it – and I like to think my word is my calling card – that if the Eagles had followed my advice over the years, whether in the draft or free agency, they would have been considerably better off than they ended up being.

Maybe, just maybe, we’d have a Super Bowl banner hanging at The Linc alongside all those bittersweet NFC East championship flags.

Armed with this knowledge, I had my people talk to Lurie’s people to set up an interview.

Nothing back. Not a word.

Guess it’s not happening.

And at this rate, one has to wonder if the hire – no matter who it is – is going to happen as free agency commences and draft preparation kicks into high gear.

So, instead, I feel free to take my case to you – the few and proud members of my adoring public.

You can decide if you’d rather have me – or some oft-concussed ex-player or some recycled guy with a long record of mediocrity – as part of the brain trust.

We’ll start with the current state of the Birds, as they lead us through yet another period of transition in the wake of Chip Kelly being vetted as a false messiah before the completion of three full seasons, and then to the path I point them toward if Mr. Lurie’s people would just return my people’s phone calls.

First and foremost, if Roseman wasn’t fully vindicated – after being labeled as a “non-football guy” – by Kelly’s public flogging, he should be close to there after the offseason he has had so far.

Roseman, though, seems to be at his best when there is a new coach – like Kelly in his first year coming from the college ranks and now Doug Pederson as a long-time assistant (and head coach at the high school level) – not feeling comfortable enough to impose his “football guy” will upon him.

The hurdle here will be the same. To maintain a cohesive relationship between the personnel people and their staff of scouts and the head coach and his coaches, a voice of reason will be needed.

I know Lurie loves models, and if he had the grace to give me a formal interview, I would point to the old Princeton offense – before the days of the shot clock – of Pete Carril.

If that seemed to get mileage, I would double-down with the “be quick but don’t hurry” approach – proven effective not only to sports, but to business and life in general – of UCLA legend John Wooden.

It would be more than just words, though, as the mistake in the past – and I can point to instances, obvious and otherwise – where “being quick” was working and “hurrying” screwed it up. Related to that would be times when short-term thinking skewed long-term vision.

Hip-checking Roseman out of the way after two seasons when the players he was supplying Kelly won 20 regular-season games and a division title after a rock-bottom ending to the Andy Reid era – when the lack of long-term thinking that it had run its course a few seasons earlier set the organization back – is an example.

Roseman should be allowed to do his thing, and I would make it clear that I would not be looking to interfere.

What is Roseman’s thing? Setting the team well to move forward, with salary cap space, at a critical time like we are now entering.

He already has targeted, and extended, the right players to build around. Quarterback Sam Bradford, on a team-friendly deal, garnered most of the headlines. However, don’t forget tackle Lane Johnson and tight end Zach Ertz or defensive end Vinnie Curry and fellow pass-rusher Brandon Graham, who will likely move to defensive end in the new-look 4-3 scheme of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Roseman also kept safety Malcolm Jenkins, who played in the Pro Bowl as an alternate, in the nest with a new contract.

Now comes the scary part: How to fill out the rest of the roster with an estimate 17 million with which to work?

This is where I would come in, not as an expert, but as a coordinator and courier between all involved.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll give my opinion, which would pretty much be to move on from the other unsigned free agents and get back the Day 2 draft pick – the one that the “football guy” threw away like an ice cream wrapper on the beach in Ocean City – by trading down from No. 13 in the draft (unless a top-10 talent falls) – to somewhere before pick 20.

But I would understand that my two cents might not even buy lunch.

Roseman’s record here has been more, well, inconsistent. It is where the Princeton-style cohesion between the personnel people and scouts and coaches needs to be tightened up.

If they need a point guard, I could do it.

And it was where they need to be mindful and not getting caught in the trap of hurrying when be quick and decisive will maintain long-term vision over short-term fixes.

If they need someone handy with quotes from the Book of Wooden, I could do it. I can also be the friend in the room that Roseman may have lacked before.

Sure, it’s easy to rip Roseman to shreds for some draft flops – like first-rounders Danny Watkins, an uninspired college tackle turned guard who is now in his native Canada working as a firefighter, and linebacker Marcus Smith, who lingers on the roster after showing some semblance of a pulse last season in the one game after Kelly was gone.

The way I see it, as an outsider trying very hard to read between the lines for my Eagles’-loving lifetime, was that Roseman was less responsible for the pick of Watkins (it was Roseman’s first year in the draft war room and Reid had long-since had final say there, and it was his call to let offensive line coach Howard Mudd hand-pick a player as a gift for coming out of retirement to join the staff), but is more to blame for Smith.

To what degree it was his call, we’ll never know. He has fallen on his sword for both.

And if that is considered fair, then he needs to be lauded for drafting Johnson and Ertz and Jason Kelce in the fifth round and trading a cutting-block rookie free agent running back, David Fluellen, for a rookie kicker who made the Pro Bowl in Cody Parkey.

And the drafts in the Kelly era has so many mediocre players from Oregon, or other PAC-12 schools, that it is hard to keep a straight face and say that it was all Roseman. Maybe he had final say, but his fault was trying to magnanimous and defer more to Kelly and his assistants than to the scouts who study this stuff all year.

I have always had my doubts that Roseman is actually breaking down film of college prospects or currently NFL free agents.

If he is, he needs to stop.

I wouldn’t be doing that, either, if hired.

Let’s target the best scouts we can and let them do their jobs. Take that information and form a plan of attack, whether it is for the draft/free agency or how to do with what remains on the roster.

He has strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps, as another “non-football” guy – unless Friday afternoon rough-touch games against the same group of African-American kids (it was not as horrible, though filled with trash talk, than it sounds) counts as playing experience – we can speak the same language and fill gaps.

I have dealt with coaches, especially football coaches, my whole life. If Howie turns them off, maybe I won’t. I could carry and deliver that mail to the main office.

And I would do it quickly, without hurrying.

This column also appeared at http://www.phillyphanatics.com

A Team Philly Deserves

Temple Logo

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — It has taken five decades on this planet to get to this point, but I have learned the hard way that the best course of action following an emotive moment is to sleep on it.

And, fortunately, the late hour of the dramatic – and seemingly tragic – ending to Temple’s 24-20 loss to Notre Dame was a walk of the dog away from bed time.

I hit the hay still wondering what could have been.

What if safety Will Hayes had been in better position to either intercept, or defend, what proved to be the winning touchdown pass?

What if Temple quarterback P.J.Walker had put a little more on the ball and hit a streaking John Christopher for what could have been a reply that would have put Temple back on top, 27-24, with little time left for the Irish to reply.

When I woke up Sunday morning to walk the dog again, I was armed with an extra hour of sleep and a lot of perspective.

Will Hayes and John Christopher? These are guys who would have never even been recruited by Notre Dame. They probably wouldn’t have looked too closely at Walker, either, just based on his size (6-foo-1, 200 pounds).

We are talking about players who, if they went to Notre Dame and walked on, would be Rudy Ruettigers.

I could extend that to the likes of Temple’s stars, like running back Jahad Thomas and linebacker Tyler Matakevich, neither of which were seriously recruited by any other Division I programs.

While I could go on and on – as I tend to do with the irksome Eagles on the day after a narrow loss – but I’m not going to go play by play, and blow by blow, and try to resurrect a road map to a victory that should have been.

Temple gave it everything it had, leaving nothing on the field. The Owls came up short, in the final analysis, because Notre Dame simply had too many playmakers to deal with on both sides of the ball.

The defense came up with two turnovers in the red zone, so it may have been asking too much to expect a third break — the kind either the defense or the special-teams unit regularly creates — that would give the offense a short field to set up a score.

It didn’t happen, but something magical did happen.

In a city where all four sports teams are scuffling, at best, we have — in the now — the personification of Rocky Balboa.

A statue was built in honor of that fictional character, so one could hope the city — not just “Temple people” — remains in the corner of a program on the rise.

Temple proved it belonged on the same field with any team in the country, and the real test will be 5-10 years from now, when we learn if the 2015 season was the start of a special run or a sort of leap year.

If Coach Matt Rhule stays put, and says no to offers that are sure to come his way, we should be good to go.

And that’s the real story, the real game within a game, here.

While I’m not one for hype and build-up, and rarely even watch pre-game shows, this game was Temple’s moment.

You could say – at least it’s what I’m saying – is that the moment was bigger than the event itself.

The Owls may not have wanted to hear it, but they entered a packed and partisan house at Lincoln Financial Field already winners.

When Temple and Notre Dame agreed to play some games a few years back, it was out of mutual convenience.

It gave Temple a chance to sell more tickets to a home game, and some exposure to attract the two- and three-star recruits away from the likes of Rutgers and Pitt and Maryland. For Notre Dame, well, it was a guaranteed win and a chance to give four- and five-star recruits buried on the depth chart some of playing time they were promised

Who would have ever expected this? Honestly, not me. For one, we have the disparity in the types of players on the program’s recruiting radars – they were seemingly locked into two different worlds.

Notre Dame gears up for a national title. Temple’s more modest goals as a mid-major is to be bowl eligible more often than not.

Undefeated and ranked at No. 21, Temple did not play in shock or in awe of a team ranked No. 9, with its only loss coming in the down-to-the-wire contest in the eye of a literal hurricane to a Clemson team that some think might be the best in the nation when it all shakes out.

Yes, a win would have been huge, but a loss was not so bad.

Call it a superficial wound.

While I’m not a bigger believer in moral victories, let’s call it for what it is – a moral victory.

I wore my Temple gear in anticipation Saturday night, and I wore it for a different reason Sunday.

The morning after a 24-20 loss, I was proud to be an Owl (Class of 1988).

This column also appeared at http://www.phillyphanatics.com

No Treats For These Tricksters

Teen Trick2

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE – What you do in your own hometown is your own business. If you want to contribute to the moral decay of our culture, I can’t stop you.

Here in Gordonville, though, there will be a zero tolerance for Halloween 2015 – which also happens to be Halloween 8.0 for Sofia (for the record, she couldn’t decide between between a witch or a Native American girl, so she is going to be a Native American witch).

While other Temple alums were celebrating like it was VE Day when it was announced that the unbeaten Owls would be facing traditional power Notre Dame at 8 p.m., as the featured game of the week, I felt a little piece of myself die inside.

And when I explained it to Sofia, she gave me those eyes – and you dads with daughters know what I’m talking about – and asked me, “but aren’t I more important than a football game, daddy?”

And for emphasis, she reminded about DVR.

Not the same, though. I mean, navigating our development and taking candy – half of which she’ll have to toss because of her peanut allergy anyway – while knowing the game is going on is just going to eat away at me faster than Chris Christie devouring a meatball sandwich.

My best bet is get her to move fast – and we moved pretty fast last year, so much so that my mother fell on her butt (scary at the time but funny now) trying to keep pace – and then turn the reins over the better half while I make it home for kickoff.

The issue, of course, is the home front. We usually leave candy out with a “Help Yourself” sign while taking Sofia around, and then we do it in person once one of us – and it will be this year – gets “tired.”

By 8 p.m. the rush should be pretty much over.

But it won’t be.

And then we have the criminal element — the ones who will get the door slammed in the faces if they ring the bell.

You know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about teens – usually boys – who are too goofy to be invited to any age-appropriate co-ed parties and who ruin what is intended for the little ones.

Some look old enough to be driving house to house, and it wouldn’t be surprising to learn they are (a moving violation in Gordonville). They violate other Gordonville ordinance by barely wearing anything resembling a costume, and barely muttering a proper “trick or treat.”

You extend the basket of candy. Instead of taking two or three items, they scoop up a dozen (as if that’s going to help their skin conditions clear up).

Then, they leave without a thank you.

It’s not my fault these I-Don’t-Wanna-Grow-Up kids don’t have a life. Go get one on your own time. Leave me out of it.

I blame the parents!

The Gordonville PD has let it slide in the past, but not this year.

Not when Temple is playing one of the biggest games in program history.