With robes fit for kings and the crowns to match, the Temple Temperors gathered before the Owls’ game on Friday against the University of South Florida.
Three years ago, Rick Kristoff, Mark O’Donnell and Bob O’Connell were walking through the streets of New Orleans before a Temple football game against Tulane University. The friends stumbled across three red crowns at a hat store that would have been perfect for the game, but Kristoff and O’Connell were turned off by the price.
“If you aren’t going to get them, I’ll buy them for you,” O’Donnell told the other two. With that, a tradition was born.
Since that game at Tulane, the Temperors have traveled all over the country with red robes, crowns, homemade staffs and chalices that were made for tailgating. Their mission is simple: “Have fun, and promote Owl pride,” O’Connell said.
Kristoff, O’Donnell and O’Connell have known each other since going to school together at Harry S. Truman High School in Bucks County. After high school, Kristoff, a computer science alumnus and O’Donnell, a business administration alumnus, graduated from Temple in 1990. O’Connell is a 1990 Penn State mechanical engineering alumnus.
The Temple-Penn State rivalry within the group “makes for good-natured banter,” Kristoff said.
O’Donnell is going on his 25th year as a Temple football season-ticket holder, while Kristoff bought his first season tickets four years ago. Together, the trio has been going to Temple games for years and they always look for an open section where they can sit together.
Although he is a Penn State alumnus, O’Connell said he loves Temple football and both of his kids also attend Temple, but when Penn State comes to Lincoln Financial Field, he wears blue and white with no crown.
Along with the capes, the kings bring food, family members and hoverboards to their tailgates.
“It’s like we are in our college years again,” Kristoff said. “As soon as the gates open, we come in.”
During Friday’s tailgate before the game against South Florida, the Temperors cruised around Lot K on their hoverboards with chalices in hand and their robes flying behind them.
“What would be amazing would be to do a girl-on-fire kind of thing, from the Hunger Games, where we set our robes on fire and ride the hoverboards all over,” Kristoff said.
The Temperors often greet several visitors at their tailgates on game day. During Friday’s game, they stood by their coolers, high-fiving students, yelling “Let’s go Temple” and taking pictures.
“You should have been here last year at the Penn State game,” Kristoff said. “We must have taken 600 pictures.”
Students, parents and families often come up to the Temperors’ tailgate asking for pictures, some even offering gifts like beer to the trio. As a line started to form for pictures at their tailgate O’Connell said, “Yeah, this happens quite often.”
“The kings to me represent the spirit of Temple where all alumni are warmly welcomed back and can have a great time interacting with current students,” said undeclared freshman Giancarlo Casas, who spotted the Temperors at Friday’s game.
Each year the Temperors add something new to their wardrobe to entertain fans. First they only wore hats, then added robes, then Kristoff made wooden staffs for the trio. They added lights to their crowns and bought the hoverboards this year.
“We have no plans of stopping anytime soon,” O’Donnell said. “This is too much fun.”
Patrick Bilow can be reached at email@example.com.