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Observing Jersey as a visitor, part 1

Wayne and I went to Jersey this weekend to go to the Falcons v. Giants game yesterday. I'd only ever been to college football games at NU and NFL games at the Dome in Atlanta where the jerseys we wear are in support of the home team. I knew that Jersey/NY fans were hardcore from the couple of times I went to Penguins games at Continental Airlines Arena. I don't think that I'd mentally prepared enough for what it was like to face Giants fans while wearing a Falcons jersey.

There were four of us-- three in Falcons gear and Ferris, a little confused in a Giants' jersey and a Bears hat.

Anyway, I expected smack talk before the game and it started instantly. As soon as we got out of the minivan and started setting up our stuff, the guys from the car across the aisle started it up.

"Man, now we gotta deal with effing Falcons fans ova heah? F****** incredible!"

We ignored it and enjoyed our little tailgate. Did I expect my Jersey-ness to radiate off my skin like some kind of protective bubble? Maybe. We set up our ghetto grill (a disposable pan with some charcoal and a couple of cooling racks as a grill surface) and some meat was cooked to an edible doneness. None of us were thinking about heat going in the other direction: down. We created a melted asphalt pothole in the parking lot. OOPS!

First noticeable difference between the Georgia Dome and Giants' Stadium: the tailgaters in Atlanta are all about community. As you walk around in the Gulch and the other parking areas strangers will invite you over, ask where you're from, if you've been to a game before, offer a drink, offer some food. In the Meadowlands, everyone keeps to themselves, unless it's to talk smack or beg for money, which brings me to the second noticeable difference.

What's with hauling your kids around a parking lot to beg? Cheerleaders, football teams, charities, little leaguers etc. We got hit up for money like 10-15 times in the couple of hours we were in the parking lot. Some of the people wore uniforms and looked like someone you'd consider slipping a few bucks, but there were a couple of kids carrying coffee cans covered in duct tape. Very, very strange. I think at one of the games in Atlanta we were asked to support a JV team but the kids were wearing their football uniforms and were at the MARTA station exit, not roaming through the tailgate.

When it was time to head into the stadium it was nice to get a little head nod or high five from the other Falcons fans who were present. We made it to our (awesome) seats without any issues. But then the game started.

There were these two idiot guys across the aisle from us who were apparently very drunk. The back of the jersey I was wearing (and Wayne's too) say Knopp, Wayne's last name, and they're numbered 27-- the number Wayne wore when he played in high school. These two guys kept taunting me, lucky me sitting on the aisle, "Kuh-nop? Who the f*** is Kuh-nop? You're so stupid wearing a jersey for someone who ain't even on the team? Who the f*** is Nopp?"

Over and over for like 15 minutes. Finally I got so ticked off that I left my seat and grabbed a security guy. I'm a little ashamed of myself but I managed to work up a few tears and told him these guys were harassing me and wouldn't leave me alone. The guy came down, gave them a warning, told them to shut up. Then he came over to me and asked to check my ticket. I obliged without a problem. He asked them to see their ticket and they started to complain. Can you see where this is going? They were gone by the second quarter.


Nov. 24th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
I don't understand "snack talk" except in jest. I'd think it was just a guy thing, except for the existence if girl gangs. Huh.