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.
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