This is the third year that the Philadelphia Flyers (hockey team) has held a 5K run for charity. This charitable activity actually start in February of 1977 when the Flyers wives got together and held a carnival where fans could meet the players and have a lot of fun while raising money for charity. Later that year, one of our beloved players, Barry Ashbee, died of leukemia and the Flyers’ Wives Carnival had a new focus. They have continued to hold a carnival for fans each year and it has become the most successful one-day event by any sports team! Through this event and other fund raising activities, they have raised more than $25 million dollars for hundreds of non-profits in the Philadelphia area.
The 5K has always been held close to Halloween so, in addition to running, there is a costume contest as well. The first year, my daughter Jennifer ran the 5K. Last year, Jennifer and my granddaughter, Jess, ran it together. This year, someone got the brilliant idea that we should all participate: Jennifer and Jess, Becky and Sammie and Jennifer’s daughter, Ali (who is the same age as Sammie). Oh, and yeah, me!?!
Now let’s be totally honest here. Truman was president when I was born. I spend 8 to 10 hours a day at my computer. I’m not exactly the “running” type. But, Jess was bringing Dennis and I got dibs on pushing the stroller so I figured, “what the heck”.
Then came the 4 week discussion about what kind of costumes we should wear. I said no to the net pettiskirts – I am wide enough at the hips and don’t need to accentuate that aspect! There were several ideas tossed back and forth by email and they all settled on PacMan. Do you remember that old video game from the early 1980’s? (me neither!)
However, the kids and grandkids all thought that was a great idea. Dennis, in his stroller, would be PacMan and we would all be the ghosts. I said okay as long as I could be orange (the Flyers colors are orange and black and I wanted to at least be a Flyer’s/PacMan ghost). So Becky made shirts (of course) for each of us to be a ghost.
The weather Saturday morning was absolutely perfect – about 57 degrees. Well, okay, it was perfect for me, everybody else was complaining about how cold it was. It was bright and sunny so at least we didn’t have to worry about rain. By 9 when the race started, it had warmed up considerably. Jess had Dennis in a winter coat with a winter hat and gloves, along with a blanket over his lap. (It was about 60 degrees by then.) I’m not sure what she is going to do when winter actually gets here! LOL
He has ridden in a racing stroller before so he was all set. I had taken off my jacket and was in shirt-sleeves at that point. The race started at 9 with the usual instructions: runners going for the best time were at the beginning of the queue of runners; those not as fast were next and those who planned to walk or who had strollers, etc., were last. That was me!
One very nice part about this race is that it was done on the grounds of the Wells Fargo Center (where the Flyers play). This is a sports complex where the Center is next to the Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Philadelphia Eagles football team) and across the street from Citizen’s Bank Park (the home of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team). With all of the parking lots for these three facilities all right together, it was possible to layout a 5K run path that kept it entirely within the parking lots and around the buildings (no worries about running near or across any vehicle traffic streets).
So off we go. Jennifer and Jess ran the entire distance. Becky, Sammie and Ali did the power walking and ran in short spurts. All of the runners and stroller people soon left me in the dust and I ended up walking next to a very nice lady named Pat. She lives in South Philadelphia (right near the stadiums) and had come with her brother who was a runner. She was not quite as old as I am but also not an athlete. We had a lovely time just chatting about life, the Flyers and how neither of us really should have been in this “race” but it was raising money for charity so “what the heck!” We walked together quite a ways but did take one shortcut.
Because of the shortcut, we got to the finish line before Becky, Sammie and Ali, but not before I had blisters you wouldn’t believe! My knees have informed me that if I ever think about doing something like this again, they will secede from the union. It was close to 70 by then and I was extraordinarily hot from all the activity. And, since I was outside, my allergies have been partying hard ever since and thanking me for all of the pollen in the air. I ran out a tissues about half way through the walk!
After the race ended, the costume contest began. We entered but didn’t win:
That’s Jess sitting down front with Dennis in the stroller, then from left to right, Becky, Sammie, Ali (with the blue hair), Jennifer, and me (strategically placed behind the stroller!) The gentleman with the microphone is Bob (The Hound) Kelly, one of the nicest Flyers’ Alumni you could ever hope to meet. By the way, he scored the winning goal for the Stanley Cup for us against Buffalo in 1975 so obviously he was a great hockey player too! I may be old but I’ll never forget that goal! LOL
I decided that I didn’t need any prize for the costumes. I got the opportunity to get photos with several of my favorite players:
This is Bernie Parent who was our goalie for both of our Stanley Cup wins in the 1970’s. He actually ran in this race!
This is Becky and me with Bob Kelly. When Becky was a baby, I had dressed her up as Bob Kelly for Halloween one year!
Then I got a chance to have a picture taken with Todd Fedoruk – another Flyer alumni who was absolutely great on our team. Just as Jess started to snap the picture, Becky said “who is he?” The picture capture my horrified response to the fact that my daughter didn’t know who he was! I have seriously failed as a parent if my child doesn’t know every one of the Flyers Alumni!
After we were all finished with the pictures, we had the opportunity to go into the Wells Fargo Center and watch the Flyers practice. Dennis is my buddy because he and I were enjoying this enormously while all of the rest of the gang was grousing about being hungry.
Unfortunately for me, Jess said the magic word (“Pancakes”) and Dennis decided he was hungry too.
So we left to go get some breakfast. Later that night, Becky and Jess hosted a 15th birthday party for Sammie and her friends, while Jennifer and I went to see the Flyers play the Detroit Red Wings. Normally when we score a goal, everyone jumps up from their seat and cheers. I managed for the first two goals but my knees sent a little memo reminding me that they were still seriously annoyed with me for the morning’s activities so I had to sit for the second two goals. My reward however for the sore knees and blisters and everything else from the morning was a win at the game!
And wouldn’t you know it — the darn kids are already planning next year’s costumes! Whose bright idea was this anyway? Oh, I guess because I’m the huge Flyers fan, maybe I’m responsible?