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Vince Papale answers questions on Invincible and the story behind it

No one goes from a regular job straight to the National Football League, especially at the age of 30. However, in 1976, Philadelphia native Vince Papale, a part-time bartender and substitute schoolteacher, became the first man in history to do just that.

During a low time in their team history, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to hold open tryouts for anyone interested in joining the team.

It was a hopeless attempt by the team, but somehow an unknown from the streets of its very own city walked onto the Eagles and became the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL.

Because his was such an amazing story, Disney had to make a movie based on Papale’s life. With the premiere of Invincible on August 25, Papale will become Philadelphia’s newest hero, a real-life Rocky.

In the midst of all the publicity and excitement surrounding his new movie, Papale took a minute to talk with the Waltonian about what it feels like to be in the spotlight once again.

Waltonian: How does it feel to be two days away from the premiere of a movie based on your life, with everyone’s eyes and all the attention back on you?

Papale: It’s the most amazing and extraordinary thing anyone could ever experience. What I want everybody to understand is that they shouldn’t have their eyes on me, that this isn’t just a story about me, it’s not a story about Vince, it’s a story about anyone who ever had a dream, anyone who was ever told they can’t win, anyone who was ever called a loser.

Waltonian: How good of a job does this movie do of portraying the real you and your real story?

Papale: It does a great job. What it does is it portrays the spirit and the essence of the story. People need to understand that this is not a documentary. Its inspiration was based off true events that happened in my life, but Disney did take its liberties to make it entertaining.

Waltonian: What did it feel like to run into the Vet on gameday?

Papale: It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in athletics. If you can imagine being a season ticket holder and then running onto the field, and you’ll see a scene in the movie when I point up into the stands after making a big play, that was me pointing up to the guys who I had had season tickets with, and that’s what I did as I came out onto the field.

I didn’t care whether it was at the Vet or whether it was at the L.A. Coliseum or Giants stadium or wherever. The absolute thrill of being in an NFL uniform and running down the field is something that’s unrivaled in any experience I’ve ever had.

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