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:
Left 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:
Ann and Bob are long time New York Giants (booooo!) season holders and they know how to conduct a tailgating party:
The guys next to us were big time tailgaters too. They set up a big flag pole at the side fo their car…
…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:
I couldn’t pass up the chance to get my photo with Hooter too:
…when we finally entered the stadium, the band was configured as an owl’s head on the field:
Kevin took Tim under his wing and taught him some of the ins and outs of football:
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:
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:
By 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:
Colleen grew up in Fredericksburg, VA. And so did Temple football player Delano Green…
Toward the end of the game, Tim watched a TV show about big ships at sea while Colleen did some coloring:
By the way, this was also Ken Griffey, Jr.’s 40th birthday. Happy Birthday, Griff!