After the jump is my most memorable story involving the Eagles. Despite what some may say or think about it, it is 100% true and I will absolutely never forget it. I had actually typed up this story a few years ago so I am simply pasting it in here as opposed to we-writing or editing it. Therefore, I apologize in advance for any "fluff" in the story, but it's a decent read nonetheless. I am also anxious to read everyone's experiences as I am sure there will be some good ones. Enjoy!
Wish for the Eagles
We were struck with awe when we entered the enormous dome. The structure itself was one thing, but the size of the people who occupied it was another. I was witnessing a Philadelphia Eagles practice session. Chris and I went unnoticed at first. Footballs continued to fly every which way as the huge athletes vigorously trained right before our eyes. This was sure to be an experience that I would not soon forget. Before I say more, I should mention how this opportunity came about.
We were in third grade at the time. Chris was a recovering cancer patient so he was able to make a wish at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The one thing he wanted most was to visit an Eagles practice session with his family and one friend. When he was granted this wish, Chris called me and said "Hey, I get to go meet the Eagles and they’re letting me bring a friend, want to come with me?"
"Are you for real?" I responded. "Yeah we’re going to go some day this week during school." "Yeah I will come! Let me go tell my mom."
After I got off the phone with Chris I told my mom and she was more than happy to say yes. I could not wait to accompany him on that trip to Philadelphia. Now, let me get back to the story. Can you imagine what a 300 pound person looks like in the eyes of an eight year old boy? I was a spider monkey compared to these King Kong-like creatures in shoulder pads. As we walked further out onto the turf we were spotted by a few of the giant green gorillas. They stopped what they were doing and came over to greet us. Hershel Walker, Randall Cunningham, Fred Barnett, Reggie White, and Head Coach Rich Kotite were the first to welcome us. Hershel Walker’s neck was as wide as a tree trunk; it was thicker than my waist. Reggie White, however, was the largest of them all by far. His weight just about quadrupled mine and Chris’s combined and he was twice my height. Having these massive creatures towering over me was a new and interesting experience, but I was not frightened, not even the least bit.
In order to be on the same level as Chris and I, the players knelt down when they talked to us. They spoke to us in calm, caring voices. They questioned us on school, friends, and sports; we were not shy to answer. It is amazing how simple it was to hold a conversation with complete strangers, especially when they are about 20 years older than you are. A few minutes later, a reporter from Action News walked through the door.
The reporter began interviewing Chris and his family on camera. Chris first talked about how much he loved the Eagles, but it was what he said next that has stuck in my mind since that day. "I am so happy to be here, but I hope I don’t miss anything new we learn in school today." That brought smiles to the faces of everyone around him. The reporter then wanted to film me and Chris throwing the football around with Hershel Walker. The footage from the day was compiled into a story that appeared on the six o’clock news later that night. That segment was both Chris’s and my five minutes of fame.
Fred Barnett, Chris, Chris’s brother Brian, and I engaged in a two-on-two football game. Fred and I were on one team, Chris and Brian on the other. Fred played on his knees to make it an even contest. The game was fun, but I received true happiness when I noticed the look on Chris’s face. Tears are brought to my eyes as I recall the exuberance in my friend. He was ecstatic, enjoying everything and everyone around him. I never saw him happier. It was his day and he was having the time of his life.
Unfortunately, the cancer came back when we were in ninth grade and Chris passed away. Since I cannot create new memories with Chris, I must reflect on the old ones. As much as the day I met the Philadelphia Eagles brings back wonderful memories of meeting my football heroes; it is also mixed with sadness over the loss of my childhood friend. I will never forget that day and the image of Chris’s smiling face will always be in my heart.