Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Super Bowl Aide Recalls His Mother

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Super Bowl Aide Recalls His Mother

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan D. Brandenburg, Shorelines correspondent

Super Bowl XXXIX was an answer to a prayer for Beauclerc resident Dean Phillippi.

"When I was 8 years old, I begged my mother to let me sign up for the football team at the local grade school," he said. "After much pleading, she walked with me to the practice field, warning me to be careful and not get hurt. I tried out and made the team, and we got our uniforms that same day. On the walk home, my mother said something that I never forgot. She said, 'Dean, someday you will be in the Super Bowl, and I will be very proud of you.' "

Phillippi went on to play football for the next 22 years, eventually playing from 1972-1980 with the Washington Generals out of Washington, Pa., in the Eastern Seaboard Professional Football Conference League as a defensive halfback.

"From the time I was 8, my prayers and dreams were aimed at playing in the NFL and eventually making my mother's prediction a reality," he said.

After setting a league record for the most interceptions in a single game, Phillippi was interviewed by a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs.

"But a knee injury dashed my hopes," he said, "and ended my career before I could qualify for NFL tryouts."

But Phillippi finally made it to the Super Bowl this past Sunday. One of thousands of volunteers on the Super Bowl Host Committee, he was a member of the stage crew and one of the bodyguards for Paul McCartney's halftime show, rehearsing with him every night for a week prior to the event and meeting dozens of celebrities who dropped by to visit McCartney.

"On Super Bowl Sunday, my team pushed the 5,800-pound video stage out of the tunnel and onto the field," said Phillippi. "We had exactly five minutes to connect the 65 stage pieces and equipment together. I was so pumped up and excited by that time, it was easy."

Although his mother, Pauline Phillippi, died in 1990, Dean Phillippi notes she was very much present with him at Super Bowl XXXIX. Following the game, he wrote a message on the undercarriage of the stage platform: "Hey Mom, I really did make it!"

Learning the strings of music

For Southsider Ginger Dodd, music brings back memories of her mother.

"Mom always said I came home from school at 9 years old with a cello bigger than I was," said Dodd, remembering that, several decades ago, public schools actually encouraged children to play musical instruments by sending them home with one.

"A chamber music trio came and performed for my class, and I was enchanted by the cello. I've been a cellist ever since," she said.

A regular volunteer at the annual two-week Chamber Music Summer Youth Camp at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church sponsored by Violinist Jeanne Major's Prelude Chamber Music Inc. …

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