WRTI 90.1's Gregg Whiteside: My Memories of The Eagles Go Way Back!
The Philadelphia Eagles, my childhood team, last went to the Super Bowl in 2005—just months after my arrival in Philadelphia, after twenty years in New York City. My timing was amazing; four years later the Phillies would win the World Series.
It was a long route I took back to the Delaware Valley. Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, my love of sports from a very early age came through my father, who was a fine athlete. I loved and played all sports myself, and, in the years I lived in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, attended many Rugby League and cricket matches at South Sydney Oval, cheering for my local team, South Sydney.
Those were some of the best moments of my life: just a boy, his father, and their "Iggles."
My memories of the Eagles’ 1960 Championship are cloudy. I was still a bit too young, and my interest began to peak in the middle of the '60s, just in time to suffer with the team through a dismal decade.
Nevertheless, I talked my Dad into season tickets at Franklin Field, in the open end of the horseshoe, with memories of those biting winds as fresh as the blown snow digging into my cheeks. I’m sure this was sheer misery for Dad, but those were some of the best moments of my life: just a boy, his father, and their “Iggles.”
I’ll always have 1966, when the Birds beat the league-best Dallas Cowboys on two touchdown returns by Timmy Brown. The gifted running back, and kickoff and punt returner, ran both kicks right toward our end zone, and sealed the 24-23 win. These were the Tom Landry-led ‘Boys, quarterbacked by Don Meredith, and 60,658 Eagles fans, on a frigid November afternoon, went wild.
By the time the Eagles were again on the upswing, with the hiring of Dick Vermeil in 1976, I was gone. There was Australia, the Far East, and travels with my wife Hyon around the globe – living and working in places most people only read about.
By the time we settled in Manhattan, I was in the land of Giants, Jets, Mets, and Yankees – and I had a young son who would coax his Dad to get tickets for the ball games there.
I know that Dean will remember those moments for the rest of his life, just as I did. Now the Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, Dean never lost his love of sports either; classical music and sports—like father, like son. (You can read about Dean here.)
Classical music and sports...like father, like son.
And now here I am in Philadelphia, after making a very big circle, back where it all started for this kid from Wilmington, re-connected with the sports teams he loved, never really left, and with the Eagles on the cusp of a Super Bowl Championship.
How could I have ever known that I would be here, in the middle of it all, imagining how pleased Dad would be.