Remember the good ol’ days? You’d get in the car with your parents, or grandparents, or any friends and family members. Then you’d drive up to Lehigh and feel like you were a part of a Philadelphia Eagles practice. You were almost on the field with the team watching them go through drills. Then after, they’d walk around signing autographs, taking pictures, talking to kids, and facilitating that one of a kind Eagles community. It’s what led so many young kids to their pure Eagles fandom. There were some changes made to open practice over the years, but this most recent one is disappointing to say the least.
Eagles cut open practice from two sessions to one
The Eagles over the last few seasons have held their open practices at Lincoln Financial Field. Holding the practices at the Linc made them less intimate and removed the closeness that fans can feel with the players. However, it was still an enjoyable time. Music played, you got a look at some new players, and admission was free. A nice way to spend a summer day/night.
The Eagles had been hosting two open practices, but now they’ve cut that number down to one. Hosting one open practice gives Eagles fans one less chance to see their team. Maybe a family who can’t afford tickets to a game (especially because the team is so good the stadium sells out at high prices) can’t make the one practice and now there’s no second option.
Open practice is no longer free to fans
Previously, tickets for open practice came on a first-come-first-serve basis. They were free but needed claiming. Obviously, the tickets went fast. Anything involving tickets for the Eagles events does. Now, the Eagles will charge anywhere between $5 and $10 for a ticket to open practice. The money made from open practice ticket sales will go towards the Eagles Autism Challenge.
Why is this such an outrage?
Now, that range is not too bad. However, that’s not the point. The point is the goal of the open practice is to allow lower-income families the opportunity to see their team. In the 17 years the Eagles practiced at Lehigh, they would hold almost 20 open practices per year for Eagles fans to come to see their favorite players get ready for the season. Under Chip Kelly, that changed. Now, there will only be 1 practice at the Linc which is the opposite of intimate for the fans. Additionally, there is now an admission fee.
To me, this goes against everything I remember being brought up as an Eagles fan. All of my friends who are Eagles fans have memories of going up to Lehigh with their friends and families to watch the Birds prep for another season. It’s part of that Philadelphia Eagles fan upbringing that is now completely destroyed.
I firmly support and believe in what the Eagles are doing to support autism research. Their efforts are admirable and have thus far been extremely successful in raising money for an extremely important cause. I think all Eagles fans feel the same way. However, there are many many many other ways to expand their fundraising efforts. The Eagles need to let their new generation of Eagles fans grow up the same way the rest of us did.