With start of both DNC and Eagles camp, worlds collide in South Philly

Eagles training camp opens at the NovaCare Complex on the same day the Democratic National Convention begins and protesters fill up FDR Park. Gary Johnson supporters make their way along South Broad as others try to sneak a peak at the Eagles practice July 25, 2016.

The reality of regime change settled down over Broad and Pattison in South Philadelphia early Monday, and a wary anticipation filled partisans over what the fall would bring.

Also, the Democrats began their national convention, right in Wells Fargo Center.

But first things first in Packer Park, a neighborhood where the start of Eagles training camp - Monday at 8:40 a.m., just as Bernie campers were hanging their drenched comforters to dry - brought a more eye-popping than usual confluence of big shots and long shots. And mercifully, as far as neighbors were concerned, it all happened without former coach Chip Kelly blasting them out of bed with his infamously loud music.

At the Lakes, as FDR Park is known, Bernie camp met Eagles camp, with bedraggled Sanders fans walking past the intersection where police had set up tight security - but only to make sure Eagles players got through to the NovaCare Complex without any trouble.

"It's Taylor Hart!" shouted Officer Jerome Jackson to allow the defensive tackle, who had forgotten his credentials, to go through in his truck from 20th Street. "I haven't seen any politicians yet."

It was the nation's civic duty in the midst of a city's civic religion, and concern over both outcomes united the camps.

The Bernie crowd gave Hillary Clinton the same uncertain odds of victory in the coming months as the Eagles and new coach Doug Pederson.

"Whoever doesn't punt the ball down the line will be doing better," said Jonathan Richards, 39, of West Chester, who stopped to peek through the Broad Street fence into the closed Eagles practice as he walked toward the Bernie protest camp.

"Go, Eagles! Feel the Bern!" he shouted. (There was no response.)

"The Eagles will definitely do better than Hillary," said Damian Greene, 28, who came from Baltimore and camped in the park.

"The Mets could do better than she could," said Frank Robinson, 62, who was starting a Bernie chalk mural on closed Broad Street.

In this crowd, Green Party candidate Jill Stein seemed poised to have more of an impact than third-string QB Carson Wentz will this season.

Among neighbors, there was more willingness to predict the election than the success of the first season under Pederson. On WIP sports radio, they were comparing approval ratings for President Obama (good) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (not so good).

"I think Hillary's going to win," teacher Kevin Cassidy said. "The Eagles, they're a year or two away."

"Trump's going to win by a lot more than people think," said Tony Pellicane, of Chaucer Street. "The Eagles? About .500."

Never mind all the Bernie campers, said lawyer Joe Marano, neighbors are just glad to be done with Kelly and his high-volume practices. "That's how we know the difference," he said.

Pellicane had one question, though: "How come they let the Bernie people stay there when the Deadheads are told they can't?"

The Democratic convention, despite its location in the sports complex, caused little concern on nearby streets. On Shunk, cars jutted out in the usual angled anarchy, while on 10th, Cassie McCallion considered whether to put out another flag. "Do you have flags?" she asked a neighbor. She said she would steer clear of the Lakes after dark. "It's not safe," she said. "It's mobbed."

Road closures may have discouraged more Eagles fans from coming out. Jacob Guarnere, 18, was the sole person wearing an Eagles shirt near Broad and Pattison during the closed practice, amid a sea of Bernie shirts and a decided lack of Hillary shirts.

Sean Agin of Haddon Heights came to check out protesters but was drawn to football. "I think the chaos of this is interesting to watch," he said of the politics. "But the Eagles get us through the summer."

Pederson's decision to bench the young Wentz meant that he, like the Democratic convention, was mired in controversy on his first day. But he said the logistics of starting training camp at the same time as the convention went smoothly. "It's just part of it and we just roll with it."

arosenberg@phillynews.com

609-823-0453@amysrosenberg

Columnist Bob Ford contributed to this article.