Once upon a time not so long ago, being a Temple football fan was like being a member of an exclusive club in the Dark Ages. You'd meet in a small group in a near-empty professional football stadium, watch the plague spread, then hope that someday the university would find a cure for the football program we loved.
The group would be so small in selected seasons, maybe down to three or four cars in the tailgate section of Veterans Stadium. We commiserated because we all knew what it meant to be a Temple football fan in those days. We all experienced similar pains. It meant walking into a bar and asking for the Temple game to be turned on just one of the TVs and inevitably bracing for the bartender to laugh at you.
He might turn the Temple game on and he might not. It was a 50-50 shot. Then you'd brace for the smart-aleck comments from the patrons asking "who put the Temple game on?" Well, that exclusive club lost one of its most treasured members this week when Dan Glammer passed away at the way-too-young age of 46.
He was just a fan, one of millions of college football fans in this country, but he really was much more than that. He was a true fan because he followed a team that, until this year, pretty much lost all the time.
That's a real fan.
I first met Dan through the message boards discussing Temple football in the late part of the last century, then later at the tailgates. When there were five (that's five ) left at the Miami (Ohio) pre-game tailgate in 2005, Dan Glammer was one of those fans. I was another one.
Dan was smart, funny (enough to be an award-winning comedian) and kind. The kindness will always stick with me. When Temple was playing at Kent State two seasons ago, a rumor got around on the Internet that the game would be on at Chickie and Pete's in South Philly and that they had some kind of special hookup that no other place had.
I was off work that night, so I headed down there. I was five minutes from home when the cell rang in my car. Nobody has my cell number, but Dan knew I wanted to see the game so he somehow found it. "Mike, this is Dan. The game's not on. It's not on anywhere."
"Thanks, Dan. You saved me a trip." A random, unsolicited, act of kindness and a much-appreciated one. Dan didn't have to do that. He just did.
I saw him at the bowl game in D.C. and I remembered thinking I've never seen him look that happy. Heck, until the pick-six, I've never been that happy. He was sitting (standing, really, the whole game like the rest of us) in the row in front of me. He knew about the conniption I get every time Bernard Pierce is taken out of the game so, at one point, he turned around and said: "Preps! Pierce is out. McPherson's in."
"GET HIM OUT!! GET HIM OUT!!" I yelled in the direction of Al Golden. "PUT THE FRANCHISE BACK IN..."
McPherson then ripped off a 12-yard gain. Everybody was cheering, going crazy. Dan was clapping and laughing when he turned around to say: "Keep talking, Preps," he said.
Those were, sadly, the last words he ever said to me.