Thursday, September 27, 2012

Throwback Thursday

Thanks to Jeff Thomas for this video of a great day for Paul Palmer.

Temple football almost killed me.
I'm not talking about the last two games, either.
I'm talking about literally being dead.
Thanks to former great Temple Owl defensive back Jeffrey Thomas, this video brings back a lot of memories, some of them good, some bad.
The good part was a record-setting day by Paul Palmer who was a Heisman Trophy runner-up that year. A great day and I filed what my bosses thought was a terrific story in the Sunday papers.
Little did they know I was sick as a dog.
The bad part was going to the hospital for pneumonia the next day.
In those days, I covered Temple football for Calkins Newspapers, which are a string of papers surrounding Philadelphia, including the Bucks County Courier Times, Doylestown Intelligencer and Burlington County (N.J.) Times.
We went home and away with the team those days and, thanks to an offer from then Sports Information Director Al Shrier, I secured a seat on the football team's charter to the BYU game.
The plane's air conditioning unit failed and we sat in about a 100-degree airplane an hour before being cleared for takeoff. I knew this was a bad sign because I was beginning to catch a cold right about then.
Hopefully, the Let's Go Temple signs and cheers will be out in full force next week. 

When we landed in Utah some six hours, we deplaned and had to wait outside in 40-degree weather for an hour for our stuff.
I was wearing just a golf shirt and sweatpants. The team was in blazers.
The heat and cold combination turned out to be a double knockout punch.
For two weeks, the cold got worse, turned into pneumonia and the fluid surrounded my heart. I still blame myself for not going to the doctor earlier. When you are in your 20s, you think you are indestructible.
So I found myself in Doylestown hospital waiting for an operation.
The first call I got was from former coach Wayne Hardin wishing me well. Right after that, it was Bruce Arians. That meant a lot to me.
The doctors told my mom and dad that I was one of 5,000 people who had this condition and had to have this kind of operation. Lucky me.
Then a doctor with a thick Indian accent explained the risks of the operation.
"And in about 10 percent of the cases, this operation results in death," he said.
"What was that last word you said?" I stuttered.
"Go ahead, do it," I said.
I lived.
So that was the closest Temple football ever came to killing me. The second-closest was a 20-game losing streak and the 26-3 halftime deficit to Maryland cut about five years off my life expectancy, too.
After the way this season has gone so far, I just hope to be around in a few weeks should the Owls carry Montel Harris off the field after beating Cincy for the BE title and a trip to the Orange Bowl.
I might faint. You might faint. But, as I write this, it is still possible.
If they had to carry me out in a body bag after that, I couldn't think of a better way to go.

Tomorrow: Fast Forward Friday