Saturday, August 16, 2008

The NovaCare Complex Tour

Okay, tonight was beyond words. Amazing, nope. Magical, nope. Once in a lifetime, closer. Maybe all of the above put together might begin to sum it up! Brian, through his golf course, has befriended some of the Eagles players and position coaches. We were given tickets to the Eagles Carnival on Sunday, but had to go to Philly to pick up the tickets. The coach Brian knows asked him to pick up the tickets at the NovaCare Complex which is the Eagles practice facility along with management offices and a rehab center. He told Brian to bring the boys and he would give a small tour. The boys grabbed their Eagles jerseys and got into the car before I could blink!

We drove up to the facility and had to stop at a gate. A security guard came on the intercom and Brian told him who we were meeting. He told us to wait until he verified it with the coach. A few seconds later he walked over to our car and directed us to the correct parking area and the front doors. The coach met us in the parking lot and took us inside. I felt like a little kid again. There were pictures and framed jerseys of post and present Eagles. There was even a shovel on the wall that was used to break ground and it was engraved with the date.

the front entrancethe indoor field

We continued down a long hallway and we first saw the cafeteria. The coach told us that they bring in a caterer and like the players to remain at the site to eat. This prevents them from returning late from meals and helps them to bond as a team. Everything in the room had some sort of Eagles logo on it! There were pictures on the walls, the chair backs had Eagle heads, the trash cans and recycle bins had logos, even the napkin dispenser said Go Green!

the cafeteria

even the napkins holders have logos

After the cafeteria, the coach opened a curtain with a remote control and it revealed doors to the outdoor fields. There are actually three practice fields here. Two side by side and one running perpendicular to the first two. The fields were in immaculate condition and protected by a tall iron fence lined by bushes and trees. The coach said during practices, the security guards have to constantly get people out of the trees. They climb the trees to get a better look and to take photos. I thought that was too funny! The boys got to run on the field and had so much fun getting tired! Justin, as usual, threw a fit when it was time to go inside! Luckily the coach has kids!

Brian, Sean and Justin running on the fields

Then we went back inside and down another hall. There was an enlargement of the hallway into a small circular area. There were four benches each in a small indented area with pictures and quotes. The boys loved looking at the pictures and Justin kept saying, "Ball, ball!"

Brian and Sean on a bench


Off of the circular room, the hall split in different directions. We first entered the team meeting room which also doubles as a press room! It looked like a movie theater. But the chairs were leather with Eagle heads on them and were so-o-o much more comfortable! Even the carpet had Eagles on it! We got to go up on stage and pose in the area that the coaches and players do their press conferences. You might recognize the Eagles backdrop from TV!

the team meeting/press room

Eagles carpetcool photo

After exiting the team meeting room, we went down a long hallway with a series of smaller meeting rooms. These were specific position meeting rooms. We went into the special teams room and the running back room. The coach said all the other rooms were very similar. Each room had a huge projection screen. The coach showed us some of Thursday night's game. The computer is hooked up to the screen and technical programming people break the game down play by play. The plays with a short description are all list in spreadsheet form on the computer monitor. So, a coach can pull up any play he wants with the click of a button! He can then pause, rewind, fast forward and highlight things with a red laser. It was so neat! What a demonstration of technology!

Brian in the special teams room

another view of the room with Sean

the running back room

Next, we headed down another hall way! This one was lined with mats the alternated between the Eagle head and the NFL logo! The boys loved it! Justin loved the straight away to run! Notice Sean trying to open all the doors - no shyness or boundaries for this kid!

another hallway

The next room had the neatest treadmill I have ever seen. It was huge and submerged in water. It was close to the top and when the players got in, it lowered into the water. This helps players with rehab. For example, if they have an injured knee, then the water makes their 300 lbs feel like 180 lbs. I would love to have one of them! The room also had a hot tub which was of course really warm, but then they had a cold pool. The water in this one was only about 50 degrees. Okay that is not much warmer than my fridge! It felt like ice water, I cannot imagine submerging my body in that water. Then again I have no idea what it is like to play football in the NFL!

the underwater treadmillthe cold poolBrian waiting to be taped up!

The weight room far surpassed any that I had ever seen! There were so many machines and free weights. The coach put 10 lbs on an arm press machine and let the boys have a try! It was so neat. They were lifting weights on the same machines as the Philadelphia Eagles! The stair climbers, were actual stairs. Not the the pedal things in the local gym, these looked more like and escalator - so cool! Off of the back of the weight room was a room with a heavy bag, some balance balls, and a few jump ropes. The coach said that they bring in people to do massages for the players and they use this room for that too!

part of the weight roomthe massage room

The coach definitely saved the best for last! The locker room! We all just stepped into the room and our jaws dropped. It was close to the best thing I have ever seen. The players had so many shoes and clothes. They all had different personal items- pictures of family, things they collect, college memorabilia, awards, pictures of themselves etc. We slowly walked through and just stopped and stared into each one! I have some pictures of the individual lockers but wasn't sure if they would be appropriate to post since their was a big sign on the door warning the media not to enter!

not sure whose these are but they were a size 17!
(Brian wears a kids size 2)

a playbook - I cannot believe how thick it is

the locker room

Like I said it was an amazing night. I only wish that the boys were a little older so that they could have a better memory of it. Oh well, they will always have the pictures and our stories!

1 comment:

Aimee said...

Okay, gee-off says you are no longer invited to our house. He is TOO jealous!!!!! :)
That is freakin' awesome!!!!