Friday, August 11, 2006
By Tim McManus
Five lessons I learned at the Linc:
1) Never, under any circumstances, try to get a rise out of an Eagles fan by pretending you're there to support the other team.
Just to mess with my buddy Jay, I told the tailgaters next to us that he was a Browns fan. Ten minutes of heckling ensued, with the alpha male in the group pointing at us and screaming "BROWNS FAN!" to every person that passed by. Not good times.
They told us they were going to put a "BROWNS FAN" sign on my car so that it would be wrecked by the time we got out of the stadium. I told them I'd put one on theirs that read "T.O. FOR PRESIDENT". They quickly backed off.
2) Be on time for a preseason game.
My co-worker Mike, who is notorious for being prompt, didn't get to the sports complex until 8:15 because of traffic. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal but he had the tickets, so Jay and I were stuck on the outside looking in. By the time we got our beers and found our seats, McNabb and several other starters were out of the lineup. On the bright side, the tickets were free and I got the following moment out of it...
3) Be polite when you ask someone to move.
Our seats were money -- second tier, 50 yard-line, first row -- and since we didn't get there until the second quarter, three guys pounced on them. After barking them out of there, it was revealed that the man in the middle had a cast around his leg and had to use crutches to gimp his way up the steep stairwell.
We almost felt bad for a second.
4) Go to a game with someone who's never been to the stadium before.
Mike is a sports writer and a huge Eagles guy, but had never stepped foot in Lincoln Financial Field. It's fun hanging out with someone who is happy just to be inside, regardless of whether it's Johnny Unitas or Timmy Chang under center.
5) Go to a game with someone who is close to being converted into a full-fledged fan.
Most of the crowd started filing out around halftime once the first and second stringers were out, but since we were late and enjoying the atmosphere, we decided to hang out and throw a few back. The Eagles scored a touchdown early in the third quarter, and the traditional fight song, chant and fireworks ensued. Jay, who is a Vermont transplant, was the most amped person in the crowd. He was swaying and spilling his beer, singing, and stayed on his feet longer than anyone in the section. So what if it was Garcia to McCants, the Eagles are kicking ass, baby!
I think we've got another one on board.
So, yeah we went in late, got ridiculed by fans, had people sitting in our seats and watched players destined for the CFL.
But it was football, and all good times that come with it.