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A Walk Down Memory Lane
A Walk Down Memory Lane
I saw the movie "Invincible" today. It is the story of Vince Papali, who in 1976 earned a spot on the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles, following an open tryout. The Eagles had just come off a terrible season (only 3 wins), and had hired the Dick Vermiel as head coach (he had led UCLA to a win in the Rose Bowl over Ohio State and the legendary Woody Hayes). The movie was quite good, and focused on the time period from the open tryout, through training camp and the first 2 games of the regular season (the Eagles lost all 6 pre-season games and the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, but won the second regular season game against the Giants - in which Papali played a significant role in the win). If you liked any of the other sports movies that have come out of the Disney Studios (Remember the Titans, Glory Road, Miracle, etc.), you will probably like this one.
Now I grew up just outside of Philadelphia, in King of Prussia, Pa. I graduated high school in 1976, and was starting college in Virginia that fall. Hence, I was out of town during the time period when this was hot sports news in Philadelphia and do not recall hearing about at the time. But there were many scenes of familiar places in the movie (such as the now gone Veteran's Stadium), and references to one of my neighbors from growing up, former Eagle Tommy McDonald. Hearing his name brought back several fond memories from my childhood. One of those memories is particularly funny, involving an incident between the McDonalds' full size, lovable poodle and my younger brother (who was maybe 7 or 8 at the time, and I was about 9 or 10). Our house was on a street that ran along the crest of a hill. The McDonalds lived on the opposite side of the block, two houses down from ours (the back yards of the houses on the 2 streets abutted each other. It was winter, and a group of us were cutting through the back yards to one of our neighbor's house, when my brother slipped and fell into the McDonalds' back yard. Their dog was loose in the yard, and he was as big as my little brother. The dog though he had found a new playmate and started chasing my brother around in a circle. He got a hold of my brother's pants and in the process, before any of us could come to the rescue, pulled my brother's pants down (you remember those old Coppertone ads? - it was something like that). By that time, a large audience had accumulated on the hillside (about a dozen people), who were all laughing hysterically at the site (although the dog was big, he was very gentle and my brother was never in any real harm). Although he was frightened and embarrassed at the time, even my brother laughs at the memory of this event.
Funny how a reference to a name or place can bring back memories of events from so long ago.