LOS ANGELES – Andy Reid was inducted into the John Marshall High School hall of fame on Friday, June 15, 2012. For more information about Andy Reid’s experience during his return to his alma mater, read Jeff McLane’s article on philly.com.
The following post will describe my experience meeting Andy Reid at John Marshall High School’s hall of fame ceremony. I have included pictures and a video clip of his speech.
After following the Eagles for about 14 years, I finally met Andy Reid at the age of 25. I was told about the hall of fame ceremony by a friend, and was also told that Andy Reid would possibly be in attendance. I knew Andy Reid is a Marshall alumnus, but it was hard to believe that he would actually come back for the ceremony. I thought my friend had probably bought into the rumors that the high school students had been spreading about Andy Reid returning to Marshall.
Despite my uncertainty about the event, I decided to buy a ticket just in case Andy Reid showed up. Even if he did show up, I was not expecting to meet him or get his autograph. I was expecting him to arrive right before his induction, and leave as soon as he gave his speech.
The day of the hall of fame ceremony had finally arrived and I was trying to keep an even keel. I did not want to have unrealistic expectations that would not be fulfilled and I did not want to lose hope in the possibility of meeting Andy Reid.
I was draped in my most sentimental valued Eagles’ attire, my Donovan McNabb midnight green jersey. Donovan McNabb’s style of play was eye candy for an eleven year old kid who had never seen anyone play the quarterback position like McNabb. His dual threat of being able to throw the ball and scramble to gain yards on the ground, as he avoided the rush, quickly made me a fan of his and the Eagles. As I have gotten older, I have learned more about the game and have become a fan of the organization as a whole, not just one player. So, taking my Donovan McNabb jersey over my Michael Vick jersey made perfect sense to me because it showed my roots as an Eagles’ fan, and having my favorite coach sign my favorite player’s jersey would be an honor.
As I arrived to John MarshallHigh School, I noticed a camera crew, but no sight of Andy Reid. I walked into the school to find people congregated around the snack table provided to the people attending the ceremony. Still, no sight of Andy. Although a friend told me that Andy Reid was walking around campus, I still doubted Andy Reid’s attendance until I spoke to one of the MarshallHigh School football players. As my girlfriend was buying a hot dog to support the football team, the kid noticed I was wearing an Eagle’s jersey and said, "I know you’re ready to meet Andy Reid!" I nodded and asked, "Is he really here?" The kid quickly pulled out his cell phone, "Yeah! I took a picture with him! I’m a Cowboys’ fan, but it was cool taking a picture with him." Really? A kid who does not really care about meeting Andy Reid had already met him, and he’s a Cowboys’ fan…lame! At that point, I was on a mission. If this kid met Andy Reid, then I was certainly going give my best effort to meet him.
I thought I saw Andy Reid a couple of times before the ceremony started as my eyes continually played tricks on me every time I saw a big man wearing a suit. To my surprise, I did not have to make much of an effort at all to meet Andy Reid. My friend, who had just arrived about 15 minutes after I did, called my girlfriend and I over with a big smile on her face saying, "Guys! Let’s go to the front! This guy from the Eagles wants to take a picture of us!"
As my body floated towards the auditorium entrance, I did not know whether the Eagles representative wanted to take a picture of us because we were wearing Eagles’ gear or if he wanted to take a picture of us with Andy Reid. I soon found out from a couple of very nice Eagles’ representatives that Andy Reid was on his way and would be arriving in five minutes. At this point, I was very nervous and my heart was pounding. The Eagles’ representatives were asking us questions like, "Why are you guys Eagles fans? How long have you been Eagles’ fans? How do you watch the games?" In retrospect, I have eloquent answers for those questions, but I was so nervous and excited at the time that I failed to give my best responses to their questions. Sorry!
The Eagles’ representatives asked the school police officer to move his car just a bit so Andy Reid could park right up front. As soon as the officer moved his car, Andy Reid pulled up with his entourage. His entourage got off the car and he soon followed. Andy Reid smiled when looked over at the only Eagles’ fans in attendance eagerly waiting to meet him. Andy Reid started walking towards us when the Eagles’ representative pointed in our direction. Reid looked like a Football God as he made his way towards us with the rays of the sun behind him as if he was descending from Football Heaven.
He walked up to our Eagles’ fan club and warmly greeted us with a "hello," a handshake, and a smile. I was the last one he greeted and my girlfriend quickly asked if I could take a picture with him, so we took pictures. There were about ten cameras, regular cameras and cell phone cameras included, not to mention Andy Reid’s personal camera used by his wife, Tammy Reid. We stood posing for pictures for what felt like two minutes. As we stood there, Andy cracked a joke. He said, "Wow, it looks as if the paparazzi are following us." I responded, "Yeah, it does." Reid then hit me with the punch line, "Well, we are in Hollywood!" I chuckled in response, "Haha, yes we are, haha." We then took a group picture, and then my friend took a picture with Andy Reid.
While one of my friends took a picture with Andy Reid, I searched for a sharpie in my pockets. I asked Andy if he would sign my McNabb jersey and he gladly signed my jersey and quickly turned around to sign my friend’s Westbrook jersey. Then, the Eagles’ representatives told him he had to do an interview, so we thanked him for taking pictures with us and told him it was an honor to meet him. Before he left for his interview, Andy shook my friend’s hand and hugged my girlfriend and her sister. He shook my hand, and then we both went in for the hug. I think he had a feeling I was the biggest Eagles’ fan there, so maybe that’s why he went for the hug. I don’t really know. Then I just thanked him again and told him it was an honor meeting him.
The ceremony began and a long list of John Marshall High School Alumni were inducted into the school's hall of fame, include NFL Hall of Famer Mike Haynes:
Then, it was finally Andy Reid’s turn. My friend recorded Andy Reid’s speech, and I took pictures of the slide show that was shown during his induction.
After the ceremony, I shook Reid’s hand and wished him look this year!
Although I did not have a chance to speak to him, after briefly meeting Reid, I can say that he seems very nice and humble. He took so many pictures with so many people and seemed to be having a good time doing it. I have never met any of my idols growing up, until I met Andy Reid. It was a great experience. I hope to see him and the rest of the Eagles in Arizona when they take on the Cardinals this year. I have a great feeling about this year! E-A-G-L-E-S...EAGLES!!!!