Sunday, November 18, 2007

Three cheers for Temple's biggest fan

I wish all Temple fans stood up and cheered like this guy.

By Mike Gibson
Al Golden, meet Cap Poklemba.
Oh, you have?
Kinda sorta.
"I've never really met coach Golden," Poklemba said Saturday. "Well, I did give a speech at the pep rally for Penn State and then I handed the microphone to him and said, "Good luck against Penn State coach.' He looked at me like, "this guy is crazy.' "
Well, he is, Al, but crazy in a very good way.
I have a feeling Al Golden would like Cap Poklemba very much if he ever got a chance to know him.
When we last saw Poklemba on the field in a meaningful game, five years ago almost to this very day, the Owls' kicker drove a stake through the hearts of Rutgers' fans in the final seconds of a 20-17 win at Rutgers' Stadium. He then led the team over to the Big East logo in the corner of that stadium and stomped on it with 55 other players as the strains of "T for Temple U" rang in the background.
It was a Delicious moment for the program.
Ever since, Poklemba has been doing his part to make Lincoln Financial Field a homefield advantage for Golden's Owls.
Poklemba is a one-man raving lunatic with a purpose, at times going into the heart of the lower deck to yell out, "I DON'T CARE WHAT AGE YOU ARE, YOUNG OR OLD, I JUST WANT YOU TO GET UP ON THIRD DOWN!!" He then alternately leads the crowd into chants of "Let's Go Temple" or "DEE-FENSE, DEE-FENSE" or "MOVE THOSE CHAINS, MOVE THOSE CHAINS, MOVE THOSE CHAINS ... HOOT" ... after each first down.
Then he runs to the student section and acts like Eugene Ormandy or Leonard Bernstein and orchestrates that section in the same manner. They respond to him with a wall of beautiful sound. Poklemba is only missing a baton.
Golden himself must have noticed, or heard, the nearly 17,000 fans sound like 70,000 strong in a 24-14 win over Kent State on Saturday afternoon because, after the game, the first thing the coach did was run up to each member of the team and direct them to the sidelines to high five the fans.
Or he must have noticed the 21,000 for Homecoming Day sounding like 200,000.
There is one person responsible for this and it's Cap Poklemba.
Al Golden gets it.
So does Cap Poklemba. Nobody asked Cap Poklemba to do what he's done, but what he has accomplished is demonstrate that one man can make a big difference.
It's a lesson all of us can learn and part of the fabric of Al Golden's character.
It's a shame the two have never been formally introduced. It would be nice (i.e., smart) if the university found some sort of kicking coach/promotions position for this dedicated young man soon.
Whatever, in some storage room at Edberg-Olson Hall there is a most valuable player award for this year's Temple Owls and it's going to deservedly go to Adam DiMichele.
Yet somewhere in some box way in the back there should be a most valuable Owl award and it would be nice if Al Golden gave it to Cap Poklemba at the football banquet.
There's not a more deserving Owl, past or present.

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