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I went to the White House for President Trump, not the Eagles

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The following piece is a guest contribution. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Philly2Philly staff.

 

By Thomas Hepler

 

I went to the White House for President Trump, not the Eagles

When I was invited to attend the White House celebration of the Super Bowl Champion Eagles, I was excited to go. But it had little or nothing to do with the Eagles and my 53 years as a season ticket holder. It had everything to do with Donald Trump and the opportunity afforded me.

Hell, I never even went to see the Eagles’ parade in Philadelphia and didn't spend any time watching it—save for the occasions when I walked through our family room while it was broadcast on TV. I was well past the Eagles victory by then. About an hour and a half after Philadelphia had won the Lombardi Trophy, I was beginning to think and worry about the NFL Draft and how they would defend their title—and win another one next year.

 

When the Eagles, in a very crafty plan to embarrass President Donald Trump, were thwarted by the President’s withdrawal of the invitation, I was delighted that he did so, yet disappointed that the trip was off.

Or was it?

A few minutes later, I learned there would still be an event on the South Lawn of the White House, a patriotic one with the Marine Corps Band, the U.S. Army Chorus, and a few choice words by President Trump.

My son, Philip, and I went, and were pleased that we did. The Eagles were not part of it and were never mentioned. There were a few in the audience who did talk about it, although, for the most part, they seemed chagrined by what Philadelphia’s NFL team had done.


The following day, I learned that a reporter (who I never saw) had been circulating through the audience asking people who the Eagles quarterback was. Apparently, many didn’t know. But why should they? This was NOT about the Eagles. In fact, had he interviewed people who witnessed the parade in Philadelphia, he might have gotten the same results.

Ironically, I had addressed the issue of the invitation to the White House back in February. It is contained in a piece I wrote for a creative writing course I attend each week, although the most creative part of my writing is where I choose to insert commas and where I fail to use them. Following is my rant, The scene is a weekly Weight Watchers meeting:

 

Just the other day, a friend said to me as we were getting ready for a meeting, "I guess you are more than pleased with the Eagles Super Bowl win."

 

 

I went into a dissertation on how much it meant to me, after which he asked, “How do you feel about some of the players saying they won’t go to the White House?”

 

 

 "It’s like this, how many Super Bowls have the Cowboys won?”

 

Without waiting for an answer, I held up four fingers and one thumb signifying the five the Cowboys have to their credit.

 

 

 I then asked, “How many have the Giants won?” I threw up four fingers.

 

 

 “How many have the Redskins won?” Three fingers.

 

 

“How many have the Eagles won?” And with that, I held but ONE, not the little one, not the ring finger, not the index finger, it was my middle finger— the infamous one.

 

The gesture did not go unseen by those in the immediate vicinity, and I spoke loudly enough so that it not go unnoticed. "This is how I feel about those who chose not to go to the White House."

 

The lady in charge of the meeting, who happened to have been in sight and hearing, with a lighthearted wave, retorted, “Thomas, you need to go to the principal’s office immediately.”

 

"I have experience with that," I said. Then I thought, “Tom, you are a hypocrite. If Obama were still in the White House, you’d be applauding those who chose to rebuff him.” I agreed with myself, which is not unusual, and then I continued, "I’d actually praise those who opted out when it comes to the Bushes and to Bill Clinton. Does that still make me a hypocrite?"

 

I thought a bit more, "You’d also give the finger to players and coaches who opted to ignore a visit to the White House, should they be invited by the likes of Ronald Reagan or Harry Truman, so you are a fraud."

 

 

 "GUILTY."

 

In fact, I don’t like the convention of the President inviting sports teams to the White House. Trump would satisfy me if he did not invite the Eagles. That could stifle the practice for all time, or at least possibly for the next seven years.

 

 

When did this practice begin? I looked it up using Google and the best I could come up with was, the tradition of sports teams visiting the White House dates to at least Aug. 30, 1865, when President Andrew Johnson welcomed the Brooklyn Atlantics and Washington Nationals amateur baseball clubs.

Andrew Johnson should have been impeached!

That is my story, and I’m sticking with it.



Thomas Hepler is the founder of Ourlads NFL Draft Guide. Although he retired after the 2004 NFL Draft, he still consults with the magazine on specific matters. You can read more about Ourlads in sportscaster Bill Werndl's autobiography: No Curveballs: My Greatest Sports Stories Never Told, which is available on Amazon.

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