Archive for October, 2012

A Little Town with a Big Heart

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Sports

This morning, my hometown lost another member of the Roller family. When I heard about Kelly’s passing, I started to reminisce about all the great times I had in the small town I grew up in. Unless you grew up there or followed high school football and basketball very closely, you probably never heard of Steelton, PA. Steelton, (aka the Little Town with a Big Heart) is a blue collar, steel mill town where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everyone’s business. You have different sections of the town. Cottage Hill which is where the football field is and is/was predominately white. The East Side and Cole Crest which is where most the black people lived and then there’s where I grew up, Second Street where people of all colors and races lived. Even though the town was racially divided, when it came to our high school sports teams, we were all one. Football and basketball is basically all we had in Steelton. You think Philly fans are crazy, you should have attended a football/basketball game in Steelton a few years ago. We had the reputation of being the worst high school sports fans around but hey, we didn’t care, we loved our Steel High Rollers. I think the only person in the town that didn’t follow high school sports was my grandfather. I had the pleasure of being a cheerleader in Steelton from the time I was 8 years old until I graduated high school. To help you understand how crazy we were about our high school sports, I remember back in the early 80’s, Steel High was playing Cumberland Valley up on Cottage Hill in a very big football game. There were over 10,000 fans in the stadium. During the game, we noticed smoke in the sky and it wasn’t the smoke you see from miles away, it was really close. The call came into the fire department that the most well-known bar in Steelton, The Barrel Inn was on fire. The firemen did not leave the field right away because they did not want to miss the game. Now if this was any other time, the whole town would have been on Swatara Street watching the bar burn down. That’s just the stuff we did. We followed our teams all over the state. I remember 10-15 buses full of fans going to playoff games in places like Shamokin and Reading. When I told my bosses I was leaving early from work, they knew why. It was time to go home, get my Roller gear on and head to the game. Let me explain something to you before I get into this next part. Our high school was very small. I think when I graduated in 1986 there were 94 kids in my senior class. We probably had about 500 kids in the whole school. Because of how small the school was, they should have been playing in PIAA Single A. No, not the Rollers, they played in AAAA with the big boys. This is what made 1992 so special. In 1992, Steel High won their first PIAA Quad A State Championship in basketball. The games then were held in the old Hersheypark Arena. By the time our game started, there were over 20,000 fans in the arena. Most Steel High fans. People were coming from all over the country to be at this game. I remember I taped it and watched it later and the crowd was so loud they had the cameras in the arena rocking. I need you to understand how big this state championship was. We partied in Steelton after that game like you couldn’t even imagine. Let me paint this picture for you. On every corner you had a bar and a church so we made sure we hit every damn bar up and down Front St. People were driving around beeping their horns and hanging out windows; the fire trucks and police escorted the team bus through town and everyone was lined up on the streets like we were at the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. Hell, the sportscasters who were responsible for covering the events were in the bars with us partying and doing their reports. It was awesome! All in all we won in 1992, 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2008. The 2008 championship was special because not only did they win in basketball but the won the state championship in football. I think Steel High was one of 3 teams to ever do that in the state with 2 of those 3 teams being in the same year. (The other one was Terrell Pryor’s Jeanette football/basketball teams) I was excited because my daughter had the pleasure of cheering for the 2005 and 2008 basketball teams and the 2008 and 2009 state championship football teams. That is something I never had the opportunity to do because my teams sucked. I have been away from Steelton for three years now and I remember my first year in Philly, I went back home to a basketball game. Nothing changed. Everyone sitting in their same seats, doing the Roller clap. Clap clap, clap clap! Can’t tell you how many high schools in the area tried stealing that from us. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away from Steelton or how far away you live, you are and will always be a Roller for life.

 

RIP Kelly Pettigrew, you will be missed.

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Just Play and Shut Up!

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Sports

Last night, I totally blew a fuse and went off on one of our very own Eagles players.  Now I know that I have a reputation of tweeting to them and saying how I feel about how they played or didn’t play in a game and I know that I have been blocked by some of these players that cannot take criticism but damn sure love when they are being praised.  It’s not that I’m trying to be cute or entertain people, I get frustrated with this team like thousands of other Eagles fans and I just want them to know how I feel.  Let me make something clear to all that did not read my tweet this morning.  I would never, ever tweet or saying anything to anyone in a player’s family because of how they played.  Family is and always will be off limits for me.   It’s a shame that some of these players don’t feel the same.   Here is the tweet that set me off last night.  “I hope @MichelleObama teaches Mr. Obama about that anti bullying information @MittRomeny is a true gentlemen”. When I read Jason Babin’s tweet, I was done.  How the hell would he feel if I tweeted his wife and told her that her husband sucks or if I saw her at a game and went up to her and told her that her husband needs to get a damn sack and start playing football?  I’ll tell you how he’d feel, he’d be ready to kill me or any person that would try something like that.  There was then a second tweet put out by Mr. Babin in response to one of his followers.  “Why are people going ham on @jasonbabin” Babin’s response, “Just the Democrats lol.”   Really Babin?

It is because of tweets like this and so many others from Eagles players over the last two years that have made this team so unlikeable.  My friend Kevin said it best.  He stopped following these players on twitter because it made it hard for him to like them.  He went on to say that most of these athletes are so out of touch with the fans and forget what it is like to be a fan themselves.  I’ve seen tweets from players talking crap about fans.  I saw an interview with a player basically saying that they only play for themselves and their organization so no one else matters.  My response to him got me blocked and I am fine with that.  These players seem to forget that if it wasn’t for us fans buying the merchandise and selling out their stadium every Sunday, most of them would be flipping burgers at McDonalds because they’re not smart enough to do anything else.   I have an idea for all of you, just go out there play and shut the hell up!

These spoiled, rich, out of touch players have done something that I never thought was possible in the over 35 years I’ve been a fan, bring me to the point that I don’t care one way or the other if the Eagles win or lose anymore.    That breaks my heart.  I wish I would have followed suite and unfollowed these players last year but I didn’t and now I see what idiots some of them really are.

PS.  Jason Babin, I hope the Eagles win the SB in the next 4 years Obama is in office so I can see your hypocritical ass up there shaking his hand and smiling in his face.

5:18

Posted: October 15, 2012 in Sports

I didn’t get to see much of the Eagles game yesterday because of where I work in the stadium but I did get to see the last 5:18 of the game.  5:18 is a number that is going to be stuck in my head for a long time.  As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to play that number today and every day until the Eagles win another game.  Why is this number so significant to me and other Eagles fans, well it’s because with 5:18 left in regulation, the Eagles had a 10 point lead against the Detroit Lions and there was no way in hell they could blow the game right, right?  Wrong!

I stood in Head House Plaza with hundreds of other Eagles fans jumping up and down, high fiving other fans and just yelling my head off after Jeremy (won’t unblock me from Twitter) Maclin scored on a 70 yard td pass from Mike Vick.  We are going into the bye week with a 4-2 record.  Look out Atlanta, here we come in 2 weeks!  Everyone was so excited and you know, happy Eagles fans are something you always want to see.  Nothing like having to say “have a good night and drive safe” to Eagles fans after a loss.  I’ll get back to that in a minute.  Let me just break down the 4th qtr of the game for you.  13:30 Alex Henery kicks a 49yd fg to put the Eagles up 16-6.  There’s the first 10 pt lead.  With 10:30 left, Matthew Stafford aka Corky Thatcher runs the ball in for a 1 yd td and cuts the lead to 16-13.  Here’s where it starts getting interesting.  With 5:18 left (there’s that number) Eagles answer back with a td pass from Vick to Maclin.  This game is over!  With 3:32 left, the Lions score another td which makes it a 3 pt game again.  The Eagles’ offense got the ball back and couldn’t even manage to run the clock down at all.  This lead to the Lions kicking the tieing fg to send the game into overtime. 

Ok I don’t need to tell you what happened in overtime, you already know.  I stood in Head House Plaza, staring at the big screen just laughing.  It’s like you know they are going to lose but what you don’t know is how they are going to blow it this time.  I felt like I was watching the 2011 season all over again.  Do you remember all those happy fans I was talking about earlier, well they are not too happy anymore.  Cuss words flying everywhere, “Fire Andy” coming from all directions, “I’m not coming to see this sorry ass team anymore, I’m done” and now you want me to tell these people to have a good night and come again?  Do you know how hard it is to do this when you are one of them and you are just as upset as they are?  Do you know how many times I got cussed at yesterday for having a smile on my face and telling these people to have a good day?  It is the worst feeling in the world and I am angry at this football team for putting me in that position.  (See what I did there)

Ok back to the game and what my problem is.  Even though Mike Vick has not played well this season, this loss lays on the shoulders of the defense.  You cannot on two occasions, blow a 10 point lead and think you’re going to win the game.  I am tired of hearing the excuse that the defense is tired because they have to play so many minutes.  IF YOU WANT TO CONSIDER YOURSELF A GOOD DEFENSE LIKE WE’VE HEARD FROM SO MANY OF THESE PLAYERS THEN HOW ABOUT YOU GO OUT THERE AND CLOSE OUT A DAMN GAME!!!  Let me give you another number, 139.  It has been 139 pass attempts since the Eagles have had a sack.  Where the hell are Trent Cole and Jason Babin?  Babin seems to think he is this great player but for real, I think he needs to stop believing his own hype.  As for Cole, I cannot believe that he had 0 tackles yesterday.  ZERO!  You are playing against Matthew Stafford, who, (don’t get me wrong), is a good qb but has had a rough season so far.  How can you not get to him!   There is no damn reason the last 3 qb’s you play should have clean uniforms.  I know our qb never does. 

I will say this about the offense though.  There is a big problem when your receivers do not get YAC. It seems like every time one of them catches the ball, they go right down.  This cannot continue to happen.  They have got to find a way to get more yardage after the catch.  I’m sick of seeing them go down in the fetal position like they’re afraid of getting hit.

There is so much more I can say but I’m too lazy to write about them.  Just know that I am tired of thinking “this is the year” with this team and it always turns out to be a repeat of the year before.  Oh I have one more thing to leave you with.  We should feel lucky that they are 3-3 right now because in all reality, this team should be 0-6.