South Jersey fan goes from surgery to Super Bowl
This year's Kitten Bowl is shaping up to be the most adorable event in sports history. USA TODAY Sports
MONROE – A college student who declared her love for the Philadelphia Eagles while coming out of anesthesia has another reason to think she’s dreaming.
Haley Parks of Williamstown, who feared she had missed the Super Bowl while having her wisdom teeth removed, received two tickets from the team after a video of her delirious state went viral.
And after enjoying the team's 41-33 victory in Minneapolis Sunday, Parks said she has a new goal:
"I will most definitely be at the parade!" she vowed in a Facebook post.
A younger South Jersey student, Cole Fitzgerald of Washington Township, also attended the game with tickets provided by an anonymous donor.
"Pure joy and tears," his mother, Keren Fitzgerald, said of the Bunker Hill Middle School student's reaction to the Eagles' win.
Tickets for Cole and his father, Bill Fitzgerald, were provided by a Minnesota Vikings fan who had hoped to see his own team in the Super Bowl. He found Cole through an Internet search after the Eagles eliminated the Vikings in a playoff game.
Other donors covered travel, lodging and additional costs for the Fitzgeralds.
The Parks, in contrast, had to get themselves to Minneapolis on short notice.
“Everything is just happening so quickly,” the college junior's father, Bob Parks, said after the Eagles contacted his family via Facebook on Friday evening.
“Now the issue is we’ve got to find a flight, come up with cash, come up with a hotel."
In an update early Sunday, Parks said he and Haley were able to fly to Minneapolis Saturda evening.
"Hanging with Eagles fans at Mall of America," he said in a text. "Plane ride was fun with a lot of Eagles fans.
Parks, the football coach at Delsea Regional High School in Franklinville, said his daughter took him to the game “because I’m an avid Eagles fan.”
A friend of Haley Park's organized an online fundraising effort to help cover her expeenses.
“People online have demanded that she be sent to the Super Bowl and it is finally happening,” says a Gofundme.com campaign launched by Katie Pidge Mowry of Bordentown.
“Love you Haley, bring us home a win!!!” said the appeal.
In a later Facebook post, Haley Parks said the appeal was aimed at "close friends and relatives," and not the general public.
"This was specifically for people I know personally that were reaching out and insisting on helping me out as I am a college student paying for my own schooling," she said.
Haley's devotion to the Eagles was clear in a video made by her mother after Haley’s wisdom teeth were removed.
“At first she was a little upset at her mom for filming it,” said Parks. “But she put it on Instagram to get a couple laughs for her friends, and they said people should see this.”
“I just put it on Facebook and one of my friends at school said you have to make that public,” he continued.
The video now has more than 2.7 million views.
In the video, the college junior asks in near-panic if she had missed the Super Bowl during a procedure that took less than an hour. She next asks if she can attend the game.
“No we don't have money for the ticket but I'm sure they'll know you're rooting for them,” her mother replied.
In a wide-ranging, if not always coherent, conversation, Haley Parks says the players are "like my sisters," expresses concern for the mother of injured quarterback Carson Wentz and wonders if she's drowning after feeling teardrops on her face.
The student also says she's eager for a victory parade in Philadelphia and that she has confidence in the Eagles.
"Our defense is better than their defense," she assures her mother. "Way better, way better."
And while Sunday's game was an offensive explosion for both teams, Parks noted her hazy prediction was on the mark.
In a Facebook post after the win, she said, "#icalledit."
Jim Walsh: @jwalsh_cp; 856-486-2646; firstname.lastname@example.org
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