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Longtime Blue Raiders fan gets special visit, team football after nasty fall at Scranton Prep game

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 12/8/17

After falling down the bleachers and going to the hospital, Paul Thompson was more banged up than the players following the Middletown Blue Raiders’ 35-0 win over Scranton Prep in Bethlehem on …

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Longtime Blue Raiders fan gets special visit, team football after nasty fall at Scranton Prep game

Posted

After falling down the bleachers and going to the hospital, Paul Thompson was more banged up than the players following the Middletown Blue Raiders’ 35-0 win over Scranton Prep in Bethlehem on Nov. 24.

He was still black and blue from his eye down to his neck when he got a surprise visit from two young men on Wednesday, Dec. 6, as Thompson was getting in his car to drive to the high school to buy tickets for Saturday’s state championship game at Hersheypark Stadium.

“They said, ‘Are you Paul Thompson?’ And I said ‘Yes,’ They said 'We have something for you.'”

With that, the two members of the Blue Raiders’ 2017 football team presented Thompson, who is 84, with a football signed by all the players. Each player added their number for good measure.

“They said, ‘Here, we want to give you this for coming to the game and being a true fan,’” Thompson said. The two players asked how he was doing, and stayed to chat with Thompson in his front yard at Spruce and Conewago streets for about five minutes before moving on.

A 1953 Middletown graduate, Thompson and his wife Patricia have had season tickets to all Blue Raiders home games “probably for the last 30 years.”

Thompson can’t remember the names of the two players, but he was clearly touched by the unexpected gesture.

“I was honored,” he said. “Usually when something happens, people don’t think anything of it, they just forget about it. They really thought of me. They did good.”

The two players were Kyle Truesdale and Blake Jacoby, who are both seniors. They are two of the captains on the football team, Head Coach Brett Myers told the Press & Journal in an email. The two players presented the ball to Thompson as a gift from the team, Myers said.

The Blue Raiders had just finished shutting out Scranton Prep in the state quarterfinal rematch when Thompson said he “missed the bottom step” of the bleachers and “fell flat on my face.”

Thompson wasn’t too far away from the team when he fell, and he recalls seeing the players and coaches watching what was going on.

But otherwise, he doesn’t remember much except getting put on the stretcher and waking up in St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem, where Thompson remained for the next two days.

The two players weren’t underestimating when they called Thompson “a true fan.”

“Six of us sit up against the press box. We get those tickets every year,” he said. He and Patricia missed just one home game this season for “some wedding or something we had to go to.”

He had a brief stint playing for the Blue Raiders as a kicker in his freshman year, until he was tackled in practice one night and broke his collarbone.

“It was sticking up in the air,” Thompson recalls. “I ended up being the manager for two years. I had to have something to do with the team, you know?”

Thompson has lived in Middletown all his life. He was at last year’s state championship game in Hersheypark, and he’ll be there again on Saturday, cheering on his beloved Blue and Gold.

As for the football?

“That’s gonna go in my room. It’s gonna stay in my room,”  Thompson said.