About 103.4 million people watched the Philadelphia Eagles win Super Bowl LII on television. If you had a chance to meet someone who played in the NFL, what would you ask?
I had an opportunity to think about that before meeting Jon Dorenbos, a former Philadelphia Eagles long-snapper and now magician and inspirational speaker.
Jon was a long snapper who wore jerseys for several teams including the Philadelphia Eagles. After a health issue ended his football career, Jon turned his attention back to his childhood interest in magic. Now he is a professional magician who uses stories about his own life, experiences in the NFL, comedy and illusions to entertain and inspire his audiences.
I recently caught up with him in Lancaster when he presented an evening of magic, football and comedy at the American Music Theatre.
As I made my way in to get my ticket and backstage pass for the interview after the show, I thought about what kind of tricks Jon might perform. He wowed Simon Cowell on "America's Got Talent," so even though this was going to be my first time seeing him I already knew it would be totally cool.
You have to walk through doors to get to your seats inside the theater. Minutes before the show started, Jon stopped at those doors and thanked the people standing there for coming out to see his show before he went running down one of the aisles to the stage.
As soon as the show started, I noticed that the people who came out to see him are fans of magic, football, or both. There were many green Philadelphia Eagles jerseys with the #46. That was Jon's number when he played for the Eagles.
If you haven't seen Jon's unique blend of magic, football and comedy, I recommend that you catch the show when it comes to your area before it disappears. I had a super entertaining night.
Some of the things that I didn't expect to see at the show were gigantic balls that bounce from the stage over the audience, colorful lights, loud music, and spray paint ... lots of spray paint, and, of course, the magic tricks or illusions are spectacular.
If you're like me, you will be up all night trying to figure out how they were done, but I don't want to give too much away. I will tell you that Jon makes things disappear, reappear, and he is the only person I know of who can use a deck of cards to tell a story about himself when he was a kid that will make you both laugh and cry. Jon's dog Saint was one of my favorite parts of the show.
Going to see a Jon Dorenbos show is like going to your best friend's house for a party, if you were lucky enough to be besties with an awesome magician, and the party had a couple thousand people.
You might even have a chance to become part of the show yourself! Jon runs out from the stage into every section of the audience to find volunteers to help him perform his magic tricks. When he walked by the section where I was sitting looking for volunteers, I wondered if kids can participate or do you have to be a grown-up? Then I saw him tell some kids to walk up to the stage. That was super cool. And the grown-ups are just as excited as the kids to become part of the show!
After the final illusion, I make my way to the stage for the interview with Jon. He is super nice to fans, signing autographs, and posing for selfies, and is also super nice with me when we meet. Saint is also backstage with us.
Jon has been interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres, so I wanted to have some good questions for him. He also does some totally cool things to surprise fans. Recently, he returned to the "Ellen" show to surprise Ben Hartranft, of Pennsylvania, who is an ambassador for the Eagles Autism Challenge.
I asked Jon about football and magic, and advice for young people like me.
What is harder being a football player or being a magician?
Jon: Training camp in August is hot. Both are super cool. They're both the same.
Which football player do you most admire?
Jon: There's a lot of them... Drew Bledsoe who I looked up to as a kid, and got to play with in Buffalo.
What advice do you have for a young person who wants to grow up to be a football player or magician?
Jon: I'll give advice to a young guy or young woman who wants to grow up to be whatever it is they want to be. It's not easy. There are going to be times when obstacles come and people try to hold you down. You're not alone. There's times when you're going to get bullied. Eventually you're going to get to an age where the world appreciates how different you are so don't get down.
To find out more about Jon Dorenbos, including what his favorite go to food, watch my backstage interview at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1K_MBSWZLnOLrzxLmH6LnX89VrR8VYoCz
For more about Jon Dorenbos visit http://www.jondorenbos.com.
To learn about the Eagles Autism Challenge go to www.eaglesautismchallenege.org
Rodeo would like to thank Tim Mooney at New Leaf Marketing for being super, awesome, cool!
Special Thanks to Justin Baker for his video editing expertise!