We are living days right now that not so long ago only the most optimistic of us could have possibly imagined.
The Super Bowl. The Eagles won the Super Bowl. It’s been well-established in recent weeks, but it feels no less fun to type or pleasurable to read as time passes. Meanwhile, the Flyers are hockey’s best team since early December. The Sixers have cooled this week, but still flash immense potential as they occasionally stumble along a winding road that should end with the team’s first playoff appearance in six seasons.
To this point, 2018 has been a year about celebrating our sports present and projecting the possibilities of a wildly promising future that could, if things break right, yield multiple parades along Broad Street on the strength of several hall of fame careers. Optimistic? Sure. But it’s not so unreasonable to have such a sanguine outlook. (I know that word is going to go over the heads of the “thick ropes” crowd in our comments section, so go ahead—look it up. I’ll wait.) As we presently continue to revel in the moment, now comes the news that on the first Saturday in August we will have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to celebrate and honor our sports past.
This is just a suggestion, but you might want to clear your calendars for Saturday, August 4. That’s when former Eagles Terrell Owens and Brian Dawkins will both be formally enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. As both players address a crowd sure to be filled with fans rocking midnight green who will exultantly and continuously belt out “E-A-G-L-E-S” chants, some 417 miles away the Phillies will induct the late Roy Halladay and former general manager and team president Pat Gillick onto the team’s Wall of Fame. Talk about running the full range of human emotions.
Halladay, of course, died last November when he lost control of his plane and crashed over the Gulf of Mexico. Although his stint of dominance with the Phillies was brief, it was spectacular. He was the author of a 2010 perfect game and postseason no-hitter, and his notorious work ethic instantly endeared him to a typically tough and skeptical fan base. It was a no-brainer that the team waived their customary fan voting process, instead opting to make Halladay only the fourth such player to be inducted without it. Halladay’s wife, Brandy, issued the following statement through the team:
Braden, Ryan and I are so honored to have Roy remembered in this way. He will be in great company with other Phillies legends who are on the Wall of Fame. The decision made by the Phillies to induct Roy without a fan vote makes it even more meaningful. I look forward to fans and the community coming out to celebrate this special occasion with us.
She’s right–it will absolutely be a special night and it will be one that resets the big picture and brings things into focus. As we witness a current group of local talented athletes in the formative years of building what may eventually become distinguished legacies, the events will give us reason to pause and reflect on the remarkable legacies of some of our former brightest stars. It’s one more reason celebrate what, to this point, has been this city’s finest sports year.