Pro Party

Img_0894 The best thing, Jimmy Whalen said afterward, was the win. He would have traded it all -- the 40 or 50 people in his house, the two ex-Eagles and two ex-Cowboys who watched the game with him, the 20 cold cases of Miller Lite and full spread of bbq chicken and ribs and wings - for an Eagles victory.

But he didn't have to.

He got to hang with Seth Joyner and Keith Byars, Tony Dorsett and Jay Novacek and watch five lead changes and one tie, capped off with an end-zone interception and 102-yard touchdown by Lito Sheppard, sealing sweet victory over the division-rival Cowboys.

And he got to start the afternoon off by making Tony Dorsett wipe his feet on a T. O. jersey set out by the front door.

"Couldn't have been better," said Whalen, 28, by phone from his Laguna Beach, Calif, house as the guests were clearing out. He'd made the winning $11,101 bid on eBay for the company of the four pro ballplayers - part of a promotion by Miller Lite that benefits the V Foundation, the cancer-research organization named for former NC State coach Jim Valvano. He'd read about the auction on Blinq and got his boss to put up the money.

Whalen is a Northeast Philly boy, out of Holy Ghost Prep, the son of a retired Philadelphia Fire Department chief, who joined his son for the big game Sunday. So did a Philly cousin, stateside on leave, after seven months in Iraq. All Eagles fans. Even though he lives in California, Whalen's still been to two Eagles games this year, and has plans for more. "I'm pretty die-hard," he says. He had his whole house done up in green, black and white Sunday, which are not the typical colors for Laguna Beach.

He wound up in Southern California on a whim. After college at American U, he did a road trip with friends and found Laguna Beach pleasant enough to keep his interest for a while. A next door neighbor was starting a computer company. Whalen was asked if he wanted a job in sales. Next came business school at USC.

The company, Arbitech, and Whalen are doing well enough that he lives in a glass and concrete house with his girlfriend and a view of the Pacific and three big screen TVs, which were in full demand Sunday as his house filled with friends, colleagues, beer people and ball players.

The ex-Cowboys warmed up first, Whalen said. Dorsett, a Hall of Famer and former Heisman Trophy winner who led Pitt to the national championship in 1976, seemed to Whalen as if he had spent his life at such functions.

Novacek, a five-time Pro  Bowler at tight end, tipped his ballcap when meeting the ladies and struck Whalen as the sort you'd like to spend all your Sundays watching games with.

Byars, the all-around back and former Pro Bowl selection, "is the nicest guy in the world," Whalen said. Joyner, the 13-year linebacker and 1991 Defensive Player of the Year, took longer to come to life.

Whalen said he made a point of sitting next to Joyner, trying to make his guest comfortable. "He definitely livened up at the end," Whalen said. "They were giving commentary and it was very critical of the Eagles' running game. They said they needed to run the ball to be effective."

When the Eagles passed on third and short early in the fourth quarter, the ex-Birds couldn't understand it. And when Michael Lewis, on the final drive, interfered with Cowboy receiver Terry Glenn, the former Eagles fell silent. They didn't need to say anything. They erupted seconds later, when Sheppard picked off Dallas QB Drew Bledsoe's pass in the endzone, and ran it all the way back for a touchdown.

That was about the time Tony Dorsett tackled the eight-foot inflatable Eagles player Whalen had positioned in the living room.

"I couldn't have written the script any better," said Whalen, an LA guy who still bleeds green.

Anthony Preziosi
Posted 10/08/2006 09:42:05 PM

And all for only 11 grand. Gee, what a bargain. I'd love to have that kind of disposable income, boss or no boss. That's the kind of wretched excess that makes those of us near the bottom resent those near the top. It seems so senseless to me, charity or not. You can say "it's for a good cause", but what is the cause, really? Is it for the V Foundation, or the glory of sitting with some ex football players for 4 hours? Some people struggle to earn $11,000 in a year, while others throw it away on an afternoon of sports. The world is an imperfect place.

Posted 10/08/2006 10:18:49 PM

That guy owes me a beer.. or a flat screen TV or something.

Posted 10/08/2006 11:36:22 PM

And they didn't even sound you out there to do the story....jeez.

Will Teullive
Posted 10/09/2006 12:22:55 AM

For the eleven grand the guy should have at least been allowed to steady QB a halftime two on two game out on the beach. The Birds could have used Byars on that 4th and inches call

Posted 10/09/2006 12:52:23 AM

hey, tony... relax, pal. this guy having cash don't hurt either of us. if our biggest problem is some folks are doing TOO well... then party on, man.

Posted 10/09/2006 08:49:50 AM

great story! and you're right, the best part was the eagles win!!

Tacony Lou
Posted 10/09/2006 09:50:08 AM

I'm with Anthony. The guy started life first and goal on the one yard line, is able to move to one of the most expensive places on earth "on a whim" because it was "pleasant enough to keep his interest for a while," and now, as a filthy rich twenty-something and feeling charitable, gets his boss to put up the money for a donation in exchange for his getting snockered with retired ballplayers and the opportunity to touch their Super Bowl rings -- well, at least Dorsett and Novacek's, because the other two guys never won one with the Iggles. If this guy really wanted to light up a kid's life, maybe he could donate a set of his tickets for one of those games he plans to attend. He'd save on the coast of a transcontinental flight and some family wouldn't have to blow their monthly grocery budget just to see a football game.

Posted 10/09/2006 10:37:52 AM

Some of you need to lighten up. The kid is a Philly boy, son of a firefighter (so you know he didn't inherit his money), and was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of a good company. Good for him. If he wants to spend some cash on having a good time, so be it. And the best part is, a great charity gets some more money to pursue its good deeds.

Posted 10/09/2006 11:45:48 AM

All you whiners need to get off your ass and start making something of your lives before you criticize others. It is people like this that drive our economy and create jobs for you slouches. Thank you Arbitech for creating jobs and increasing our GDP so that these whining people aren't on the unemployment list.

Posted 10/09/2006 11:53:19 AM

Darrow- I concur! Sure the party sounded great, but the benefits to the Jimmy V Foundation are even greater! If anyone else is interested in donating some coin- go for it!

Posted 10/09/2006 12:29:17 PM

Wow. Speechless on the remarks. I guess it boils down to this... No matter what your age, you can either enjoy a Sunday afternoon, watching a game, surrounded by your friends - or you can spend your Sunday afternoon, alone, ciphering what your majority complaint will be on Monday morning. How in the name of sane presence can you question this guy's philanthropy as an excuse to have an enjoyable experience? I, for one, am very grateful that he decided to make California his home. He's a person of great respect and humility, a great friend that has also found success in his pursuits. That is something that we should no less wish upon everyone. And I wasn't there on Sunday. But maybe some of you should focus on the personal faults that make you angry to see someone who's worked hard having a good time, all the while doing something that will benefit others - others who are most grateful for the help and caring that he has demonstrated.

Chris Chart
Posted 10/09/2006 12:36:33 PM

Hi, So I am reading the article and all the posted Comments and I would like to know where Tacony Lou gets the idea: "The guy started life first and goal on the one yard line, is able to move to one of the most expensive places on earth". Yeah you want to know how he afforded it, Living with me and three other friends of ours renting a house together in Laguna while he waited tables and all of us busted our Ass's making ends meet. I have know Jimmy since the Day he moved out here to California, and he came from almost nothing to get where he is, and he got here through school and hard work. Getting Snookered? If that means giving money to Charity and having four really nice guys show up at your house and take the time away from their friends and family for a great charity well you need your head examined. Many thanks to the Jimmy V Foundation for setting up a great event. Yeah, it was worth every penny and more. Joyner, Byars, Dorsett, Novacek are great guys and took the time to talk to everyone. They were especially cool To Jimmy's Cousin that just got back from Iraq. Those guys have Class, could not have been nicer.

william m groake
Posted 10/09/2006 12:43:01 PM

The hell with those old timers,,,,,,,,i want to have breakfast with Butkus.

Posted 10/09/2006 12:44:16 PM

i used to work with inner-city kids in philly. they are amazing kids and i'm sure would jump at a chance like this. to get to spend an afternoon with people like these 4. yeah, maybe whalen could've done something differently, but maybe he will inspire someone to do something in philly. maybe for those who can't go to games. however, i'm not gonna blame the guy. honestly, if i'd had the money, i would've done it. because the jimmyV organization is a great one and deserves to be supported this way. oh, and way to go eagles!

Posted 10/09/2006 01:15:53 PM

Everyone is missing one important point...It wasn't his money. His boss put the money up, so stop knocking the kid. It would have been the same thing if you or I got our companies to put us up the money.

Posted 10/09/2006 01:25:18 PM

are you people so dissatisfied with your own lives and where you are in life that you have to spend time knocking someone else's good fortune? can't you be happy for the guy?

Johnny Drama
Posted 10/09/2006 01:25:53 PM

Jimmy "Gordon Gecko" Whalen is a very humble man with a clear understanding of where his roots are and what he had to accomplish to get to where he is today. Tacony Lou is simply a hater who cannot figure out why he can't be like Jimmy. Because people like Tacony spend all their time finding excuses why everybody around them is successful and they aren't. Try not being such a hater and start making your mark in this world, Tacony. Then and only then will people actually take what you say seriously. By the way, Chris Chart is Jimmy Whalen's Cabana Boy.

Posted 10/09/2006 01:52:45 PM

i bid $11,001.00 for that miller lite auction. i am a true eagles fan and that party deserved to be in philadelphia not in california. the guy couldn't afford it.he had to get his boss the pay. the game was in philly, the party should have been in philly.

Posted 10/09/2006 03:24:23 PM

Lighten up Francis. Jimmy could afford it, he just happens to work at a great company with a great boss. Bottom line, if you wanted it, I am sure you could have dug into your pockets for the couple of extra hondos that it would have cost. Sour grapes from someone who has warning track power

Posted 10/09/2006 03:45:00 PM

Jimmy, you're doing a great job! Now drop and gimme 20.

Posted 10/09/2006 03:56:07 PM

I was the one that got "snockered", once again courtesy of the Arbitech money machine. YAY Money! Thanks, buddy.

Posted 10/09/2006 05:12:32 PM

And another thing. Is that a packers jersey his pop is wearing? just wondering loike.

Posted 10/09/2006 06:21:17 PM

no he is clearly wearing a throwback kearse jersey. maybe you should all meet jimmy before you start judging him on what he spends money on. So what if he wants to have a good time?

Posted 10/09/2006 08:06:18 PM


Rita W.
Posted 10/09/2006 08:13:24 PM

Well, Anthony and Tacony Lou, maybe you should learn how to be as generous as Jimmy. I probably know him better than anyone else and know just how good a person he is. I'm his mother and know how hard he has worked to get where he is. I'm sure the child he supports in Central America would not agree with you. He is generous to his family, friends and charities and he deserves to be able to play as hard as he works. Love ya Jimmy!

Posted 10/19/2006 04:54:23 PM

I know Jimmy too, all I have to say is GO BEARS!!!

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