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From Kazakhstan to South Philly: Eagles fans share their favorite memories of watching the Birds

Staff Reports, STAFF REPORTS

Updated: Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 10:50 AM

Philly.com readers shared their favorite Eagles memories.

They say that Philadelphia bleeds green, that the city’s love for the Eagles is so deeply embedded in our culture that it’s the lifeblood of our town. That’s true.

The Glassell family's brush with fame in the Inquirer. user-submitted
Sheila Ballen donned her Eagles hat in frigid Kazakhstan. User-contributed
Gianna DeMedio's father tailgating "like a champ, cigar in hand" before an Eagles game. User-contributed
Paul Breen and friends. User-contributed
Dan Shuptar tweeted at Carson Wentz after encountering him on the street. User-contributed
John Page and his sons pose at an Eagles game. User-contributed
Jonathan Bell and his friend, posing in Bell's homemade t-shirts. User-contributed
Patrice Werner's dad at the last game played at Veterans Stadium. user-contributed
Photo Gallery: From Kazakhstan to South Philly: Eagles fans share their favorite memories of watching the Birds

But it’s also true that bleeding-green Eagles fans are everywhere. When we asked readers to send in their favorite memories of being Eagles fans over the years, we got responses from Philadelphians, of course, but also from fans who live all over the country, and some who live all across the globe.

One thing every story has in common: No matter where the memories come from, each story tells us about how being an Eagles fan means something more than just the love of the game. Bleeding green brings people together, no matter what happens on the field.

The Glassell family's brush with fame in the Inquirer.

It was Sunday Nov. 25, 1990, Veterans Stadium. As Buddy Ryan said, it was the kind of win you really dream about. Philadelphia scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns within 22 seconds. We were part of that ecstatic hometown crowd who watched the Eagles put an end to the Giants’ unbeaten streak.

The next day, I get a call at work: Go get a paper! Check out the sports section.

Ha! We made the Philadelphia Inquirer! Brian made copies for everyone. He even autographed one for my brother, the Giants fan. Regardless of where my sister and Brian lived, this newspaper clipping followed them. It still hangs on their garage refrigerator today.

This great season has been bittersweet for our family. A very important part of us is missing. Brian’s battle with cancer ended in 2015. He was 59. But as his son and daughter reminded us during the NFC championship game: Brian is here, for every single snap, every tackle, and every score. He’s waiting with us all for that trophy to finally belong to Philly. — Kathleen Glassell, Oldsmar, Fla.

Sheila Ballen donned her Eagles hat in frigid Kazakhstan.

The year was 2005 and I had waited 25 years. The Eagles in the Super Bowl! That was as incomprehensible to me then as it is today. There was only one problem.

In 2005, I was living in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and I did not get Fox Sports; no satellite company in Kazakhstan carried it and no bars were going to show it. After many frustrating calls in rudimentary Kazakh, I learned that the only people who had access to Fox Sports were State Department employees and the military.

I placed a call to the Marine guardhouse at the U.S. Embassy and asked them if they would be showing it. They said no, but the Marine said that his boss, the head of the U.S. Marine detachment in Almaty, would be having a Super Bowl party at his house. I was put through immediately and after he heard my dilemma, I received an invitation to his party. I said, “Perfect, I’ll bring cheesesteaks!”

Promptly at 5:30 a.m., as I was trudging through the dark and snowy Almaty streets lugging cheesesteak fixings, I kept wondering: If one holds a Super Bowl parade with only one participant, is it still a parade? Sadly, I did not get to answer that question in 2005, but I did get to watch the game with the few, the proud, the Marines. — Sheila Ballen, Philadelphia

Gianna DeMedio's father tailgating "like a champ, cigar in hand" before an Eagles game.

My father was a huge Eagles fan and is the reason why I bleed green. He was an overly superstitious fan: making us change seats and jerseys, praying before games, offering up the dollars minted in Philadelphia to church on game days.

We lost him to a sudden heart attack last year, and the season began in a very bleak way for me. I couldn’t watch the games. I shuddered when I saw people in Eagles gear. But as the season went on and the team succeeded, I couldn’t ignore the game anymore.

I see it as no coincidence that the year that my father is in heaven with a direct line to God is the year that the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl! Gary DeMedio is on it! He would not rest until he saw his team make it to the big game, I’m sure. — Gianna DeMedio, Philadelphia

Paul Breen and friends.

Seven grade-school friends and I, all from St. Martha’s in the Far Northeast, witnessed Sam Bradford and the Birds knock off Tom Brady and the Patriots, 35-28, at Foxboro. It was Brady’s first home regular-season loss in three years. — Paul Breen Jr., Philadelphia

Dan Shuptar tweeted at Carson Wentz after encountering him on the street.

I am the fan who told Carson Wentz he “is the [expletive] man,” a moment referenced by the Inquirer’s “How Wentz thrives in the Philadelphia fishbowl” story. It happened as my wife and I were leaving our wedding venue, near Broad and Pine, where we were doing some preparations.

We were joined by my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. As we walked north on 15th Street, I noticed a guy with a ginger beard, hat, and sweatshirt, almost a block away. Soon, I knew it was Wentz.

As we got closer, Wentz and I made eye contact. Without breaking stride I yelled, “Carson, you’re the [expletive] man! We love you! Go get ‘em this year!”

My relatives were baffled and appalled that I would curse at a stranger. But overwhelmed by joy, I broke into an E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES! chant and pumped my fist. I take pride that he told a reporter that he thought it was the whole street. It was just me. — Dan Shuptar, Philadelphia

John Page and his sons pose at an Eagles game.

I moved to Northern California in 1997, when my sons were 5 and 7. It was 2000 when they started asking me about the 49ers. I was mortified. No way I could allow my sons not to grow up as Eagles fans.

Beginning that year, every Sunday at 10 a.m., I would take the boys to a long-since-closed sports bar to watch the Eagles games. Coming off another dreadful season in 1999, there were only a handful of us Eagles fans in that bar, but as the season progressed and Donovan McNabb started to show he was the right draft pick, the fan base at the bar grew.

As the season continued we were moved from the small room at the back of the bar with the 20-inch TV to the medium room with a Sony Trinitron. By the end of the season, we had the big room with the projection screen.

We went to that bar for years until it sold to a national chain. This Super Bowl Sunday l am going to a party hosted by a guy I met at that bar, in the small back room watching the Eagles. My sons are still avid Eagles fans and the Eagles are a great source of bonding for us. The attached pictures us when the Eagles visited Candlestick in 2005. If I recall, the Eagles crushed the 49ers. — John Page, Sacramento, Calif.

Jonathan Bell and his friend, posing in Bell's homemade t-shirts.

I was at the Linc in January 2004 for Freddie Mitchell’s unbelievable 26-yard, fourth-down catch, but it was the day after that really sticks in my mind. I was in my car, on my way to work, still in clouds over that play when I was struck by an idea.

Once at my desk, I looked up 4thand26.com and saw it was available. I snapped it up and threw an image of a shirt that said “4th and 26 – Are You [expletive] Kidding Me!” along with a shopping cart.

Later that week, I received a call from someone purporting to be Freddie Mitchell’s attorney. He claimed that Freddie wanted the domain and was willing to buy it. I knew the play would only be truly legendary if they could beat Carolina the following week, so I asked for tickets to the Super Bowl in exchange for the website if that happened. I never heard from Freddie again. If anyone sees him, tell him to give me a call. He can have the site now. Jonathan Bell, Maple Glen

Patrice Werner's dad at the last game played at Veterans Stadium.

In 1964, when my brother and I were just kids, my father, Joseph Saggiomo, was fortunate to get Eagles tickets. In the last years at Franklin Field, he took us to the Eagles games, where we sat on those old bleachers, learned all about football, and drank the best hot chocolate. Dad couldn’t wait for Veterans Stadium to be built; he even went to the open house. For the entire life of the Vet, Dad faithfully kept his Eagles season tickets. When Lincoln Financial Field was built, we followed our Eagles there, too. We sat through many lean years, but Dad remained a true, loyal fan. He liked arriving at the games early to see the Eagles go through their drills, but we never, ever left early – regardless of the score or the weather. Through all those football seasons, you name an iconic Eagles play or player, victory or defeat, we saw it. Sadly, my Dad passed away in 2011, but he left us with a love for the game and a passion for our home team. As the NFC championship game against Minnesota was ending, how I wished that Dad was there beside me in his seat at the Linc. Maybe somehow, in some way, he was. — Patrice H. Werner, Lafayette Hill

When a Phillies tailgate turns into an Eagles celebration

On Oct. 26, 2008, my friends and I were driving to the sports complex for Game 4 of the World Series. We were listening to the Eagles-vs.-Falcons game on the radio and as we were pulling into the lot the Eagles scored! We rolled down our windows and could hear the Linc singing “Fly, Eagles, Fly.” After the Eagles finished off the Falcons, everyone flooded to the Bank to continue the party and the Phillies won, 10-2! I couldn’t have picked a better Philadelphia sports day to be a part of! — Zachary Mayer, Shamokin

A Christmas gift to remember

Back on Christmas Day 1960 my brother Jack gave me a small wrapped box. In the box, to my surprise, was a ticket to the Eagles/Packers NFL championship game to be played the next day at Franklin Field. The Eagles won, 17-13.

My brother had season tickets in 1960 so I went with him to all the home games. The Eagles that year, under Norm Van Brocklin, only lost one home game against the Cleveland Browns, who scored over 40 points with running back Jim Brown in the opening game of the season.

Even though Jack had season tickets, at the time, you didn’t keep your seats for the championship game. Somehow, though, my brother managed to purchase two tickets for seats in the temporary stands set up on the track lanes at Franklin Field.

I remember the last play of the game when Green Bay was in a position to score and Chuck Bednarik tackled Jim Taylor and laid on him until the clock ran down. The Inquirer reported that Bednarik told Taylor, “You can get up now. The game is over.”

Great game. Great present. Great brother. — Jim Donohue, Juniata Park

Staff Reports, STAFF REPORTS

Read full story: From Kazakhstan to South Philly: Eagles fans share their favorite memories of watching the Birds

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