Lunch With A Philly Fan ….

January 22, 2009 |

I’ll admit, for years I’ve been buying the storied reputation of the typical PHILLY FAN.  You know, the foul-mouthed, hometeam heckling, battery chucking, Santa hating neighbors to our immediate north? 

In my 41 years on this earth, I’ve been to Philadelphia once ….. and I never left the train.  I can’t give you a vivid recollection of the Spectrum or Veterans Stadium.  And, to date, I’ve missed out on the ‘Linc and Citizens Bank Park. 

There really isn’t a good excuse ….. I’m an American League guy and I’ve always been indifferent about the Eagles and Phillies.  And, yes, I’ve allowed the feared warning about dealing with the passionate fan base to discourage me from ever considering a trip up I95. 

To a point, many of my uninformed feelings changed over just one meal.  A couple days ago, I settled in for a mid-winter lunch with a lifelong Philly guy.  And, I’m not talking about a snot-nose kid who considers Allen Iverson “old school.” 

Nope, I met OLD SCHOOL ….. and I liked it.  As we sat in MaGerks and ate some pretty tasty food, while loosely monitoring the inaugural activities, I absorbed every subject, from the Ravens – to cancer research – to the Phillies – to Barack Obama ….. and finally, to the famed “Wing Bowl,” which is evidently a Philly tradition. 

My source of information and recollection is named “Earl,” and in just an hour’s time, he diffused my uneducated opinion of Philadelphia’s faithful.  To hear some known personalities and fans say it, the only good things to come out of Philly is the “whiz” on cheesesteaks, the O’Jays and several dollars – according to the stamp. 

In chatting up Earl, I learned Philadelphians are really no different than us ….. they battle cancer and other diseases, they love their sports teams and they truly want what’s best for our nation.  Of course, we talked about Obama ….. he was plastered on the 47 tv’s throughout the joint.  Earl’s message ….. “I just want him to fix it.” 

Throughout our conversation, I learned Andy Reid is not Earl’s guy – not a chance.  Yet, he likes Donovan McNabb.  As for Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie – Earl said, he doesn’t even live in Philly !!!!  Can you imagine that? 

I also learned that Philly people don’t dislike Baltimore, which really confused me after attending the Ravens/Eagles game, earlier this season.  Remember that affair ….. about 5,000 hooligans in Eagles jerseys, acting like a hybrid breed of Dingoes and Gremlins. 

I didn’t relate my recent Eagles experience to Earl, but I sensed it could’ve been an isolated incident.  After all, it’s not as if we don’t have 5 – 10 – or 20,000 asshats, in Baltimore.  If you doubt me, just try wearing a Steelers jersey while walking down Ostend Street, on gameday.  You’d think the dude was wearing bombs ….. 

In Earl, I found a guy who’s grown to like the Ravens, since he’s been in Baltimore.  He likes Joe Flacco and the new direction of the team.  Who could argue with that?  I certainly expected the likelihood of a little trash-talk, when the Ravens came up. 

I never did get that “typical Philly feeling” I’ve been warned about for years and years.  Thus, I’m inclined to ask if Earl is the consummate Philly fan or simply a lucky, rare find?  I guess I won’t really know until I meet more of them. 

But, I’m glad I met Earl ….. and I didn’t pay for lunch, either.