Philly Sports Live

Babin should rethink his plan to run with the bulls in Spain

Novelist and journalist Ernest Hemingway was a man’s man. At age 19, Hemingway volunteered to man an ambulance on the Italian front during the First World War. He was embedded as a reporter covering the Greco-Turkish War in 1922, the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, and the liberation of Paris in 1944 (where he was known to slap on a helmet and grab a rifle himself – he earned a Bronze Star, but not for that). The man known as “Papa” was a boxer, big-game hunter, and sport fisherman, and survived two plane crashes on successive days.

On a vacation trip to Spain in the 1920s, Hemingway became fascinated by the running of the bulls at the annual Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona – where participants try to stay ahead of the massively horned, two-ton creatures running wildly through narrow cobblestone streets seeking to gore any human being in their path. Hemingway included those bull-running adventures in The Sun Also Rises, his first, and perhaps most brilliant, novel.

It is, maybe, a similar sense of adventurousness that makes Jason Babin such a good football player. The Eagles defensive end does play a little as if his hair were on fire – he is a quick-twitch muscle covered in tribal tats blasting off starting blocks, a hard-from-the-outside rushing lineman who, much like a heat-seeking missile, zones in on a scoped-out target: the quarterback. Then again, maybe Babin seeks adventure just so he can brag to his buddies.

Last week we learned that Babin missed the Eagles’ recent first edition of organized team activities because he had been snowed in on the Alaskan tundra, where he was glacier-climbing and bear-hunting and where he had no connection to the outside world since cell phone reception is, well, kind of nonexistent. See, that’s the thrill of it.

Babin also revealed that in early July, just a couple of weeks before the opening of an Eagles training camp that is expected to spawn an NFL championship contender, he is scheduled to run with the bulls in Pamplona.

Babin last week labeled the Festival of San Fermin another punch in his “man card,” which I assume is a bucket list for younger men. (I’ve always thought that folks who needed to punch a “man card” and go to great lengths to publicize that they are doing so are covering up some insecurity, but I digress.)

Perhaps he didn’t fully think this thing through. Besides the fact that it really wouldn’t be ideal if Babin got hurt running with the bulls a couple of weeks before training camp, it would appear that if he were injured, he would lose the rest of his salary.