We should all be excited that some entrepreneurs are aiming to build an $8 million Philadelphia Museum of Sports, which could open as early as 2019 near the South Philly sports complex.
Our city, more than any, deserves this paean to athletes, coach and fans. It will honor all our pro teams – even those no longer around – as well as boxing, Big Five basketball, Army-Navy football and every damn “Rocky” movie ever made.
The planners envision interactive displays allowing you to shoot a puck at a virtual-reality Bernie Parent or try to hit Brad Lidge’s slider. And they’re amassing mountains of memorabilia to fill the 25,000-square-foot space owned by the Jetro Warehouse on Pattison.
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Exactly what should that memorabilia be? With the help of my callers on 94-WIP, here are a few items to start:
Let’s display the wristband Nick Foles wore winning the Super Bowl – open right to the “Philly Special.” Place it right next to a rubber dog mask or two, Jason Kelce’s Mummer’s outfit and Doug Pederson’s visor.
Let’s honor our Eagles coaches of the past. We’ll put Chip Kelly’s smoothie machine in the snack bar, near some jars of pickle juice from the game where Andy Reid turned around the franchise. The pork chop that Buddy Ryan choked on gets preserved in Plexiglas, as does the soggy play sheet Richie Kotite let run in the rain.
The interactive exhibits could be great. They’ll let you work out with the dumbbells Terrell Owens used in his infamous driveway news conference. Take a punch from a virtual Dave Schultz. Throw a snowball at Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. Tear up a knee on a patch of Vet turf.
There should be a room dedicated to fashion, with Randall Cunningham’s gold shoelaces right as you enter. We can honor the greatest broadcasters in our history with a pair of Harry Kalas’ white Florsheims and Richie Ashburn’s fedora and pipe (plus maybe a bottle of Scotch). A sweaty, wrinkled, untucked white shirt from Rollie Massimino would fit there, plus the jock Tyronn Lue lost when Allen Iverson crossed over him in the NBA Finals. Way in the back we’ll hide that ratty Santa suit from 1968 that started all the fuss.
Andrew Bynum’s bowling ball. Lenny Dykstra’s “vitamin” bottle. The Vet railing that collapsed at the Army-Navy game. Leon Stickle’s swallowed whistle. The flare gun fired during that Monday Night game versus the Niners. All of those will be housed in the “Hall of Shame” room, which will be as enormous as Michael Leighton’s five-hole.
And how do we honor our greatest ever? How about the bucket of rice that Steve Carlton used to sink his arm into? Or the fright wig Mike Schmidt wore during infield practice after roasting Phillies fans? The blocker Ron Hextall used to whack Chris Chelios must be there, along with Bobby Clarke’s missing front teeth and Fred Shero’s Coke-bottle glasses.
I want a valuable documents room. It has to preserve the contract the Flyers signed with the Soviet Red Army team in 1976 – the one Ed Snider shoved under the Russkie’s noses when they threatened to walk. We can keep Sam Hinkie’s 13-page manifesto of resignation for future generations to decipher. Add a Ray Didinger yellow legal pad or two.
The possibilities are endless. Did anyone preserve a bottle of fog from that lost Eagles playoff game in Chicago? Or save shards of glass from the backboard Darryl Dawkins destroyed? And, hey, where’s that giant Liberty Bell that used to adorn the Vet?
I can’t wait for this museum, with its collection of game balls and trophies and keepsakes from the now-gone venues where we learned to be fans. Maybe you’ve got more ideas for items – real or whimsical – that you’d like to see. Please send them along to my Twitter feed, @RealGlenMacnow.