Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Pumped up for the Super Bowl, and rooting for those Iggles

- Bill Rettew is a weekly columnist and Chester County resident. Like he did at East, he will be closely watching the band at halftime. The best way to contact him is at brettew@dailylocal. com.

Green is everywhere! It’s tough to miss all that Eagles gear. Even Boat House Row and the capitol in Harrisburg are lit green.

The Super Bowl pregame excitement and anticipati­on is divine. We are going to the big game!

As teenagers, we played a similar game in the backyard. We learned quickly that the ball is not round and it bounces funny.

Don’t know why, but no one ever got hurt.

In the backyard, there were no referees — zebras —and we worked out the close calls on our own. Thankfully, no whistles.

We played until the game was over. There was no time clock; somehow we all knew when enough was enough, it was too dark to see or it was time for dinner. There were no first-down chains and everybody just sorta knew where the goal line was.

We played for ourselves. There was no roaring crowd in the stands.

With the world watching, when the backyard game was close and almost over, we imagined that the difference in the Super Bowl depended on us alone.

Girls played the neighborho­od games. They grew taller and bigger faster. The girls would pull and swing us around like rag dolls when tackling.

Those girls all stopped playing tackle football when one of them became the high school’s homecoming queen. To the boys, they were just “one of the guys” but times and those girls’ perspectiv­es had changed.

We attended Henderson football games before there was an

East High School. Our parents would drop us off at the stadium with a huge bag of confetti. We’d spent the night before preparing old newspapers on a cutting board.

We didn’t need much reason to toss confetti into the air, especially when the home team scored. Now, that would be considered littering. I pity the poor soul who had to clean up.

A couple years late at the newly opened East, I attended the games as much to see my brother and sister bang drums at halftime in the Viking Marching Band as to watch the game.

Oh my, those metal bleachers were cold to sit on in the fall. Like sitting exposed on the top of a mountain, the wind often whistled through the stands and right through you.

Thanksgivi­ng was a real treat. East played Henderson at West Chester University’s Farrell Stadium for bragging rights. It was often bitter cold at the morning game, but we always had turkey, stuffing and green bean casserole to look forward to in a warm, cozy house.

Truth be told, I slept on a couch in front of the TV for most of the ’81 Super Bowl. It was a dismal Eagles performanc­e and nobody felt the need to wake me up.

Years later, we learned after a close game in 2005, that the New England Patriots had cheated. No one hitting, throwing or running in the backyard would have ever considered cheating. Winning at any cost is lame.

And then five years ago-pure magic!

I once sat in a super box and another time on the sidelines at Eagles games. It’s much better on the tube. There are no gusting winds on the couch and the food is cheaper and more plentiful.

Replays and commentary, with an announcers’ explanatio­n afterwards, are key. Of course, it is nice to be there and hear thousands roar or boo in unison.

Like I do with baseball, I enjoy listening to a football game on the radio. You can tell by the tone of Merrill’s or Mike’s voices whether the Birds are winning or losing. And when the home team scores— Wow!

A bunch of us who worked at the Valley Forge Music Fair would meet at the now-shuttered Gators for Monday Night Football. The real show was at halftime when we hooted and hollered during a weekly lingerie show. Even our female co-workers enjoyed the camaraderi­e.

Gambling has changed sports. For a buck, we used to play the pools and hope to win $10. Oh my, those many gambling ads now. With all that marketing somebody is winning big. It isn’t me. You must play to win.

Most of us don’t toss around a ball anymore. We live vicariousl­y through these super-talented, stunningly huge and very fast athletes. The games are fun to watch since the level of play is so high. The players truly are superstars doing amazing things.

Wouldn’t it instead be nice in Arizona to erase those lines, have the referees swallow their whistles and chuck that oddly shaped ball around, in the backyard, until called to dinner?

Only two teams have a shot at winning the 2023 Super Bowl. The Eagles are one of those teams. The anticipati­on is half the fun.

It’s a Philly thing. Go Birds!

 ?? COURTESY PHOTO ?? Eagles fan celebrate at The Creamery on Saturday night in Kennett Square.
COURTESY PHOTO Eagles fan celebrate at The Creamery on Saturday night in Kennett Square.
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