TU Fans: Fair-weather or all-weather?

For someone who hates to get up early, the thing I missed most about the 2020 was getting up at 5:30 or so a half-dozen times a year and making my way to Lincoln Financial Field by no later than 8 or 9.

I’ve been doing that for the better part of 40 years now and to suspend that routine seemed strange.

It was strange.

No one was happier to see the tailgate expand from seven to seven (or more) thousand than the late Dan Glammer, who passed away at the tender age of 46 shortly after seeing the Owls play in the Eagle Bank Bowl.

I thought about that when someone accused me of being a “fair-weather fan” because of this post last week.

I remember tailgating near the end of one season where the Owls went 0-11 under Bobby Wallace and the pre-game tailgate at Lot K included Ted DeLapp, Rick Gabe, Nittany Owl, a guy named Fred, the late Dan Glammer, Lazygote and me.

We looked around the lot not five hours before the game but more like five minutes and we were it. That was it on that rainy pre-game against Miami (Ohio). Seven guys. Maybe more in the Jetro Lot a couple of blocks away where the late Wes Sornisky was holding court with a few ex-Temple players.

Now it’s grown exponentially but those days were never to be forgotten. The pre-game talk that day was that we were going to hire a coach to bring us to the Promised Land. One guy mentioned Rick Neuheisel. Fred brought up Frank Solich. One guy mentioned John Latina.

None of us have ever heard of Al Golden at that point.

It turned out he was the right choice.

We all came back every week during a 20-game losing streak because we knew that, under a good coach, Temple football–despite paltry facilities in those days–could thrive.

It turned out we were right. Because largely of Al Golden, Temple went from being laughed at to being respected and he was the coach the Owls needed at that time.

My point then, as it is now, is that once we came out of the Dark Ages, we should have a minimal expectation of never returning to them. Everyone there nodded in agreement. Temple football should never have zero, 1 or 2-win seasons again.

Those fans there that day were the all-weather fans, not the fair-weathered ones. None of us expected Temple to win the championship every year, but winning seasons (or at least non-losing ones) should be the standard going forward.

A 1-6 season opened some eyes, even though a lot of us got up just before noon on days we were used to getting up at 5:30. Some blamed COVID, but I thought that excuse was too easy. COVID didn’t cause four kickoffs to go out of bounds (two in a row). COVID didn’t cause a pandemic of fair catches. COVID didn’t cause the Owls to throw a pass short of the goal line on a critical two-point conversion at Navy when they had a 6-6 receiver covered by a 5-10 corner in the back of the end zone.

The standard remains and that’s why 2021 is important to keeping whatever fan base Temple football has left or even have a chance at expanding it.

Friday: Dynamic and Dependable

21 thoughts on “TU Fans: Fair-weather or all-weather?

  1. I was probably there. Either in Jetro with Wes or under 95 because of the rain. In those days when they lost so much, there was more drinking. Also I was younger.

    • We are were. You probably got up a lot earlier than me since you were coming from D.C. Ted still has a photo. A couple of guys and a complete empty Lot K. One or two cars in the background. No students. Hard to believe where we were considering to where we are now. As late as 2019 it was thousands. Hate to see an uninspiring staff take us back to the empty Lot K days.

  2. Mike, you are so right that this year is critical to keeping a fan base. Last year was tough to swallow. It was not covid, which was a factor later into the season, but the game planning and in particular that opening loss to Navy when we were supposedly the superior team. Getting pushed around and the play calling on both sides of the ball. I was not there, but I could read the disappointment from Harry and Paul in the radio broadcast. This lead to players we felt were the heart of the program leaving. This is my greatest concern. I know you wrote about this, but having a coaching staff that does not game plan around the talent they have worries me. I hope this year can be the reverse of last year for the program’s sake. Otherwise, my season ticket investment will be a challenge to renewal. Go Owls!

    • Don, I started to have a queasy feeling about this staff sitting in front of you when the players on the sideline were laughing and joking in the early fourth quarter of a 55-13 loss and nobody said anything to them. This would not have happened under Rhule, Golden, Arians or Hardin. It wasn’t the 55-13 that got me to walk out of the stadium. It was that.

      • Mike, you and I saw that, and you mentioned it before me. I was feeling how embarrassing it must have been for the team. Then seeing the laughing and chatting along the bench, totally dis- engaged from the game was such a disappointment. The point you make that this would never happen under Golden and Rhule is accurate. I recall Al’s first season. It was not pretty. We were undermanned. But, those players bought into Al’s vision and mission. That dedication to the Temple program is teetering right now. The loss of several foundational players indicates that there is something missing. Is it the coaching, or is it the players? Where is Al? We might be facing another rebuild. Ugh.

      • For all of his faults as a gameday coach, I would take Al back in a heartbeat. He would restore the Temple TUFF and pride in the program and win in the neighborhood of 8-9 games a year. We might never win another championship but we’d probably never have another losing season and that’s a trade I would make.

  3. 4,900 miles and the Owls better win

  4. I remember that game well Mike. Most of us long time die-hards really believed deep down in our soul that our Owls could compete and be competitive with the right commitment and support from the administration….. and the revival did happen. I’m not so sure about our administration at the present time. We seem like a rudderless ghost ship adrift in the ocean. The search for a President and AD has been in progress for close to a year. I know Covid has affected the University in many ways, and fiscal issues must be addressed but……..

    I bought season tickets again(40 years+) and will travel up to the LINC and make 3/4 home games in addition to the USF road game. hope Carey and staff can motivate his guys. Go Owls!

    • Yes, Fred. Met you on the night the Owls got kicked out of the Big East. Amazing job Al Golden did, although I think Frank Solich would have been OK as well. Al was probably better because of his East Coast recruiting contacts.

  5. No politics zone.

    • Except when it comes to Stadium-Gate!

    • And by the way, a real journalist would confront the administration and ask why it has decided to back such a divisive organization as BLM and what effect has it had on its fan base.

  6. Never thought you’d be part of cancel culture Mike. What I wrote was apropos of the article and ticket sales. TU brought politics into it and I know numerous people who have canceled tickets because of TU’s actions in supporting BLM.. Sorry you are afraid of debating legitimate issues. C ya Mike.

    • John B, America is what’s divided, BLM didn’t make it that way, they’re simply trying to create some level of equality for all and Temple did the right thing. Doesn’t say much for TU fans if that’s actually the main reason they won’t buy tickets. Sorry Mike, but I’m not afraid of debating it and it had to be said (since, once again, somebody else started it).

      Now, to stick to the subject, except for living in Ohio and not able to get to games (if I lived in the Philly area I would), I don’t contribute because I feel that TU is not doing a very good job within the athletic program hiring coaches, the whole OCS issue, dropping sports and just in general seemingly satisfied with mediocrity. I used to contribute but anymore, and getting older, I’m just tired of it and feel Temple really could be doing better, if they tried. Sorry about that too.

      • Politics on this site is a Pandora’s Box. There’s enough of it on Facebook. I’ll debate politics on facebook, not here. Otherwise, it’s a back-and-forth that will never end. Rather debate the fourth-down dump pass at Navy than politics here.

  7. Politics – politics. Mike I promise to strictly limit my political postings here.
    Once earlier you did allow it from me, you let it pass so thanks.
    But I will ,as you say, focus on the G-D Temple FB program. Hell even going to games in loosing seasons 20-25 years ago was still an OK thing, the game can be good. Back in Big East ‘daze ‘ we saw lots of great players, mostly on the OTHER SIDE, but what the heck.

    Note, I am in line the Belli factor but this IS a TUFB site, so I will be sure to conform to simple rules, here.
    And so, Mr. J Belli, I am in line with your thinking.
    And so what, no one cares what I think.

    I just may re-up the season Tixx for 2 after all, just buying the cheapest end zones, and sit most anywhere, Geeze what a cheap SOB I am becoming.

    Wanna be sure they let us in, you know….

  8. This post was never about why fans renew or don’t renew season tickets. It was about who is a “fair-weathered fair” and who isn’t. It was more about how losing (not anything else) is unacceptable after years and years of winning. I don’t see how the uni’s BLM philosophy even came up in this context. If I was writing about season tickets, it might be germaine. It isn’t in this specific case.

  9. A side Note, and my oh my, Temple Basketball is also on the down-slide.
    Listened to most 2nd half of yesterday’s (final) BB Game, vs another not so good team and Temple still lost.
    Not impressed so far with their Coach, A McK. Are you ?
    That’s the way it dribbles.

    A few years ago we attended several seasons of the fun by watching Round Ball tournament down in AC old convention hall for the A10 .
    Low attendance down in AC was a bummer too.
    It was that good fun, loved all those Pep Bands dueling along with the games.
    TU BB should beg to get back into that league.

    • When Temple looked to replace Don Casey, it got a proven national championship coach in John Chaney. It probably should have conducted a national search instead of putting all eggs in the McKie basket.

  10. Anyway, I hope to see you again at football games , Mike !!!
    It ALWAYS made me smile when you could recall my old HS Pennridge and coach Wayne Helman, way back, yes way back.
    I was a child of the old BuxMont league, and you knew all about them !!!!
    BTW Pennridge alum Ridick is now a NFL asset too.

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