By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — 94 WIP’s Sports Beyond Measure podcast is seeking out the best fan stories in Philadelphia sports.
Often time, when players leave Philadelphia, they rave about the fans and when new players arrive they talk about everything they’ve heard about the new fan base awaiting them.
However, there has to be more to the story of Philadelphia fans. We see the passion for sports teams often blend into the everyday lives of the fans that support these teams. Sports Beyond Measure is digging deep into the stories that truly provide evidence for why Philadelphia fans are a different breed.
In the first edition of FANtastic Philly, we were joined by Ira Schwartz and Teagan Quade, a couple that got engaged prior to an Eagles game at the Linc last season. We also speak with former Eagle, and 94 WIP host, Ike Reese about his connection to the fans and the city.
LISTEN: Sports Beyond Measure presents “FANtastic Philly: An Eternal Linc” feat. former Eagle Ike Reese:
Ira originally planned to simply ask Teagan to marry him before the game in the parking lot, hopefully with the help of the Eagles pep band.
Ira called the Eagles to request the band to show up after his proposal, but the team opted to do a lot more.
“All I expected was for the band to come, but it turned out a lot of people showed up,” Ira said. Cheerleaders, former players and Swoop were all on hand as Ira popped the big question to Teagan.
The day was a special one for the couple. Both are members of the military and met while they were stationed aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. They currently live in Virginia and Ira is a life-long devoted Eagles fan.
He says the proposal to Teagan played a huge role in converting her to being a devoted fan of the team as well. “Yes, I have to be,” Teagan, a Wisconsin native, said when asked if the proposal converted her to the Eagles.
The couple added that the Eagles invited them onto the field prior to the game and that the team went above and beyond to make the day special for them. That gesture went a long way with Ira and furthered strengthened what it means to him to be an Eagles fan.
“I try to find Eagles fans as much as possible, wherever I am,” said Ira due to the fact that being in the Navy has caused him to move around quite a bit.
“The greatest thing is when you find these Eagles meet-ups – they’re everywhere all over the county – and you go to a game and all of a sudden there’s 50 other people there all decked out in Eagles green and you don’t even know them, but then once that game starts, that brotherhood is there.
“A devoted Eagles fan, regardless of where they are, is always going to be faithful to their team.”
Ira and Teagan’s big day is set for September 7, 2015 and they will surely always have a special memory of how their journey to that day began with the help of the team they love.
Who better to talk about the team’s connection to the fans than a player that wore the uniform? Ike Reese talked about his connection to the fans and why he chose to stay in Philadelphia beyond playing for the Eagles.
“The passion is the first thing that sticks out when you think about Philadelphia fans,” Reese said. He added that it is a passion that shows in joyous times and in times of despair. “As a player, I’ve always loved that.”
Reese added that it isn’t only the fan base that is special to him. It is the community as a whole. That is what made him want to make Philadelphia his long-term home after football.
“If you played here long enough and got a chance to be a part of the community and got out and touched some of these fans and let them know you’re a lot like they are and how much you appreciate them, you’re treated like royalty.
“These teams belong to [the fans]. We just come in and we rent the uniforms for the time that we’re here, but these fans here have bled. They live their lives through these teams for generations,” Reese said.
This area had everything Reese wanted beyond football.
“Why wouldn’t I want to stay in a city like Philadelphia,” Reese said. “I feel proud that my kids were born in this area and I played here. It feels like home.”
The Sports Beyond Measure Podcast is a weekly sports podcast that delivers a fun perspective on the latest headlines in national sports, Philadelphia professional sports and community-based sports. The series is hosted by 94 WIP’s Vince Quinn, Ray Boyd and Eric “Turtle” Golden. You can download/subscribe for free on iTunes.