On Sunday, we had a good crowd of Eagles fans at Mulligan's.
It wasn't the enormous crowd that we had week one, or the 100+ people we had last Monday night. It was a decent crowd of about 60-70 people at the bar, watching the Steelers play the Eagles in Philadelphia.
I got there around 3pm, and by then all the seats at the back bar were taken, and I had to walk to the front bar, grab a seat, and carry it into the back bar so I could sit down. The bar started to fill up, and in walks a crew of people not wearing any jerseys, with one Eagles fan who is.
Now, dear reader, you have to understand the context of this situation. You have a bar filled with Eagles fans. Everyone is wearing an Eagles jersey, and some even have Phillies hats on. This bar is the home away from home for all Eagles fans (and most any other Philadelphia sports teams), which is the equivalent of a virtual embassy of Philadelphia, if you will. You walk on Mulligan's hallowed grounds and you, sir, are IN PHILADELPHIA, for all intents and purposes.
There are about 5 girls and 3 guys in this crew of people. The guys are all wearing Ed Hardy / Christian Audigier, with jeans (on a 79 degree day), extremely tanned, beefy gym muscles (juiceheads? it wouldn't shock me.) and lots of hair product. The girls were surprisingly 'more normal', and most were cute. It was like the regulars of njguido.com just walked in from a taping of "Growing Up Gotti".
Now, if you know me, you know that i'm half Irish and half Italian. Growing up I felt "more Italian", if you will (sorry Mom) only because our house was so Italian-centric with my father's influence over the household. So as much as i'm half-Irish, my life and my knowledge of Italy (after studying in Italy for 4 months) gives me a better understanding and appreciation of the Italian culture than your average Italian-American. Just because someone is born-and-raised Bayonne Italian and hasn't travelled more than 75 miles away from their parents house in the last 25 years doesn't make them I-T-A-L-I-A-N. It makes them an American-Italian. I'm not a fan of the mafia. I'm not a fan of guidos. I am sure in their tiny hearts that most guidos are good people, but for the most part they just enjoy acting like knuckleheads and irritate the hell out of me. To me, my philosophy is that all guidos are Italian, but not all Italians are guidos. So if you are Italian, don't be a guido!
But, I digress.
The "crew" come into the bar and immediately stand in front of me. Now, I have no problem seeing over their tiny heads, because most of the girls aren't taller than 5'4 and the guys aren't taller than 5'9. It would be difficult, into words, to express how they were being annoying. For one thing, they were loud. For another, they were being annoying - one finding amusement by taking handfuls of napkins, and throwing them into the air, to create a cascade of napkins showering all over the bar. Paul, the owner, saw the end result and asked me who were the idiots throwing napkins all over the place, and I pointed out the group in front of me and saying, "We are a victim of our own success. Now we are getting so popular, that we are attracting all sorts of fools to the bar, rather than only Eagles fans."
If it was just them being loud and throwing napkins, I don't think I really would have cared. They were a distraction. The girls, in their defense, were fine. The guys were just being peacocks, showing off, trying to be the "NOTICE ME" kind of guido, and 99% of the people at the bar could care less, they were just there to watch the game. The guys weren't even watching the game. Not at all. When the Eagles had a big score, they would spin around, look at the TV and frown. When the Steelers had a big play, two guys chanted, "Lets - Go - Steel - Ers!"
I had enough, and pulled two of the girls aside.
"Hey, how are you? I'm Sean, I run the Eagles club. I just wanted to know what was the thought process - what exactly were you guys thinking - when you said you wanted to come to Mulligan's and watch this game? I mean, out of the 8 of you I see one girl with an Eagles jersey on..."
"Oh, that's Jackie. She's an Eagles fan.", replied the tall girl with brunette hair.
"Ok, so Jackie is an Eagles fan. She brought the rest of you, here, because you are also Eagles fans....?"
"Oh no. She's a Giants fan. So are those two guys. I'm a Dolphins fan. Only Jackie likes the Eagles.", said the tall girl with brunette hair.
"Out of all the bars to watch the games you wanted to come here, into the back bar of Mulligan's and watch it with the Eagles? That makes no sense."
"Why? Are we a problem?", she asked, her eyes narrowing.
"Well look at your friends," I said, "they aren't even watching the game. Just being loud and obnoxious, while people are here just watching football."
"Hey we are just having fun, what - are you against people having a good time, or somethin'?", she asked with a glare.
"Well, no, but if I had my choice, you guys wouldn't be in this side of the bar...this side is basically for all the Eagles fans", I said.
"Oh, so you would throw us out? Just because we are having a good time...?", she growled.
"Not about having a good time, but you guys are being distracting to the other Eagles fans. You and your friends, except for Jackie, aren't EVEN EAGLES FANS. Why come here? You could have gone to thirty other bars in town to watch this game??", I said, with a criticizing tone.
She spun around on her heel and then our discussion turned into your typical "wash-woman mentality". You know what I mean. The one girl gets offended because I had the audacity to criticize her & her friends. Now she has that burning desire to talk to other girl friends and tell them I can't believe what how he just talked to me.
I turn to an Eagles fan next to me, a girl, and I say to her, "Are you witnessing this? Am I completely out of line, here?"
"No way, not at all. They shouldn't even be here", she said.
It could have gone downhill from there. But Jackie, to her credit, walked over, we talked a bit smoothing things out, and Paul had a conversation with one of the clowns to calm him down.
After the girls were a bit more mollified, I went on to explain that running the Eagles club at the bar is much like if I were the host of a party. I want everyone to have a good time, but also asked them to be put in my shoes and they were hosting a party with a bunch of clowns like their guy friends acting like idiots. Eventually the girls "got it" and started to agree with me. I turned on my charm (yes, I can be charming) and by the end of the game, the girls were laughing along with my impressions of them "Getting all 'The View'-like" on me (I was doing a head-bobing and finger shaking Bon Qui Qui impression).
In the end, its the old "It's not what you say, its how you say it" that doomed me here. Yea, I know I can be rough by not beating around the bush and patience is something that I don't have a lot of. At the end of the day I wasn't really thinking of myself, I was just thinking of the Eagles fans who come to the bar. Maybe someone who was there for the first time, and they are thinking "THIS is the Eagles club? It's a zoo here!"
Just trying to make a little oasis away from the heckling, annoying, loud anti-Eagles fans that I have been dealing with since 1994. I have no problem going into work, or another bar and getting grilled about my team choice - just want one place where I can go every week and relax with other fans.