When a group of guys get together like a lot of us have over the last 20 years or so of Temple tailgating, a lot of the talk invariably returns to the “good old days.”
Well, as Carly Simon once said, “these are the good old days” and the beauty of them is that all of the Temple family, old, young, middle-aged can experience the times together.
Right now, look around and savor them because those days are here and maybe it’s just a hunch but they are going to get better.
Tyler Matakevich stopped by our particular Temple tailgate yesterday and I told him he was a POS. I think he took it in the good humor it was meant to be because I still have all my teeth but it came because he said he stopped by another tailgate first. It was great to see the linebacker who is going to break Steve Conjar’s career tackle record breaking bread with Steve Conjar afterward and it could not happen to two nicer guys.
The character of Matakevich was on display for all to see not only yesterday and every game this season but more importantly earlier this week when Tyler and his teammates stopped by to say hello in an old folks’ home to a 97-year-old ex-Temple player, James Woodside, who was the last living Owl to have beaten Penn State. The visit was a beautiful thing to see and that video was much of the conversation.
“Tyler, I just wanted to say that video of you with Mr. Woodside was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen,” I said. “It brought a lot of us to the verge of tears.” After Tyler said thank you, John Belli had perhaps the best line of the day, delivered with impeccable timing.
“Tyler, that was because all of us are closer to his age than we are to yours,” Belli said.
Everybody laughed one of those hearty belly (or in this case, Belli) laughs reserved for one of those stories of old guys reliving their youth.
You can talk about the football part of yesterday, the 49-10 win and the great plays and the great job of the Temple fans all you want, but the character part of it is perhaps the reason why the football part of it is happening. This team has great senior leadership from Tyler Matakevich to Matt Ioannidis to Tavon Young and that leadership is leaving no doubt.
The talk turned to the next game, UCF.
“The best thing about Leave No Doubt is that every game is a championship game,” I told Tyler.
“Absolutely,” he said.
It is the reason why we have “the good old days” right now and the reason why we can expect more in the near future. Knowing the leadership on this team, it could not happen to a nicer group of guys.
They are taking the rest of us on one heckuva ride.
Monday: Photo Gallery.