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Why I hope the Eagles soar tonight – Edmonton Sun – Feb. 4


Google maps says it’s 2,400 miles plus a half a cup of coffee from Edmonton to Philadelphia.

The City of Brotherly Love will be alive Sunday: the smell of fried onions drifting up Broad Street, down the Deleware River all the way into picturesque Chestnut Hill as tens of thousands of Philly Cheesesteaks sizzle on grills.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles are in Minneapolis for the biggest football game in the universe against the New England Patriots.

The Sun’s sports pages will give you an in-depth look at the teams and the game, which should be a great one. As of mid-Saturday afternoon the Pats were favoured by 4.5 points.

I’m an Eagles fan and, for me, it’s personal.

My father and I made 18 trips from Edmonton to Philadelphia in the 1960’s to underground treatment for my cerebral palsy.

Those journeys gave us a glimpse, and more importantly, and understanding of the people and culture of life in eastern United States. A blue-collar town with rich American history: it is, after all, the home of the Liberty Bell. It does have a crack in it. Dad and I made sure we found it.

We were treated very well by cab drivers, hotel staff and airport employees – some of whom we were on a first name basis. Many of them are gone now, but the next generation after them, and even the one after that, are the people who make Philadelphia what it is today.

If you’ve been around Edmonton for the past 30 years, you know the special and treasured feeling of a city winning a professional championship. The Edmonton Eskimos, the Oilers and the Edmonton Trappers gave us good reason to have an extra step in our stride and that extra ounce of energy in our voice.

I often wonder if, when we really think about it, if we realized at the time how special those times were … as a city. We’ve been reminded in recent years with the Eskimos winning the Grey Cup in 2015. And, of course, the magical run of the Oilers last spring when they reached Game 7 of Round 2 in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The city was vibrant, wasn’t it? But … nothing compares – and general managers, coaches and players will agree – to the first one.

Perhaps, then, that’s what makes the excitement of the potential of the Eagles winning Sunday’s Super Bowl. They’ve never have enjoyed being princes of the National Football League.
If they are victorious, Philadelphia will celebrate like never before.

In Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup final, Philadelphia Flyer coach wrote “Win together today and we walk together forever” in the Flyer dressing room deep in the bowels of The Spectrum. The Flyers beat the Boston Bruins – a connection with New England. And the Spectrum, demolished in 2009  was on Broad Street. Now, on Broad Street, Lincoln Financial Field stands, home of the Eagles.

Championships are celebrated and shared by admirers … a few blocks, or a few thousand miles apart.


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