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October 25, 2019

Natalie Egenolf: Has the Eagles Super Bowl neutered Philadelphia sports fans?

Eagles fans don't seem to have the same fight they used to — and the Sixers appear ready to steal the spotlight

Opinion Eagles
370922_Eagles_Lions_fans_Kate_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Are Eagles fans getting soft?

The Super Bowl neutered us.

At least that's what my co-worker Tyrone Johnson from The Mike Missanelli Show claims. 

My instinctual role as an optimist has fought this opinion for the last year and a half, but as we watch this football season spiral into a whole bunch of questions about injuries, locker room issues and questionable play calling by the head coach, I’m becoming more convinced the tide could be turning in Philadelphia.

For years, Philly has been notoriously known as a football town. The only time it was ever questionable was back in the mid 2000’s when the Phillies were running the town with their impressive four-year run of dominance. But, even with the hype heading into this Eagles season, one mention of the Sixers season has callers of sports radio clamoring to talk basketball, despite the Eagles woes. 

Years prior to the Super Bowl win, something like the Desean Jackson injury would dominate the airwaves day after day. While it’s still topical, the juice just isn’t there. We’re a few days away from the Eagles facing the Bills, and while people were still optimistic last week, after that loss against the Cowboys, the fans are suddenly deflated.

Meanwhile, the Sixers season opener against the Celtics brought in the highest ratings for a NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast in 15 years. 


It’s incredible how less than two years after the greatest football season in Philadelphia sports history, the fans are less vocal about glaring issues with the Eagles team and organization. Are people still just satisfied with that one Super Bowl win and are now just waiting for an NBA Championship? Or is it for the first time in over 15 years, Philly is officially turning into a basketball town? 

How quickly the tide can turn.

And honestly, if the Eagles can’t turn this season around, we should all be thankful for Sixers basketball.

Local AA gives a new meaning to team work

When Sarah and Ed Woltemate welcomed their twins to the world in October of 2012, they were prepared for a life that went quickly from two to four. Double the car seats, double the cribs, double the diapers, double the bottles, and double the love for Madison and Scarlett, the welcomed new additions to their lives that would start their family. What they didn’t prepare for was after five weeks at home, Madison would contract bacterial meningitis — which caused a stroke and was then followed by a lengthy hospitalization. 

The weeks went on and Madison was finally diagnosed with cerebral palsy, affecting her muscle tone and posture and making her immobilized in a wheelchair without assistance. In the past seven years, the family has had their fair share of struggles that come with a life-altering disease, medical care costs, monitoring milestones, and simply finding out what their new normal would be.

As the twins grew, Ed and Sarah realized that one of the challenges would be finding something the girls could do together. When 6 year old Scarlett wanted to play soccer in 2018, Sarah signed her up and would bring Madison to every game to cheer her sister on. 

Madison was the unofficial team mascot, watching every game from the sideline. When it was time to sign up for the team in 2019, Sarah called Southampton AA and requested to sign both girls up, offering to pay for Madison to have a jersey and be a part of the team even though her physical limitations would not allow her to participate like the other kids.

102519_Natalie-Egenolf-column.Natalie Egenolf/for PhillyVoice

Madison Woltemate hangs out with her family and her teammates.

To her surprise, Southampton AA not only obliged, but went above and beyond to welcome Madison to the team. In addition to cheering on her teammates from the side, Madison (with the assistance of her dad) is able to participate in different parts of the game, kicking the ball after half time and being an active part of team celebrations on the field.

For Ed and Sarah the community coming together as a team is a small victory in the long battle they face ahead along with millions of other parents with children with cerebral palsy and disability.

The Woltemate family holds an annual walk to raise funds for Madison’s different needs that evolve as she continues to grow. The latest challenge is acquiring a handicapped van to transport her to soccer and her other various activities. To learn more about Madison and how to make a potential donation email them here.

MORE: Natalie Egenolf: It shouldn't take a Mike Scott altercation with tailgaters to create change

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