So I was cheating on my diet this morning and went to the Burger King drive-thru for breakfast. Life pro tip: breakfast at Burger King is about as good as any other crap at Burger King and should probably be avoided. I know that now. Anyway…I had my green Angels cap on, because yesterday was St. Patty’s day and I approve of Irish stereotypes (wearing o’ the green!) only when I’m the one indulging in them. I placed my order and pulled up to the window.
Dude working the drive-thru window looked like one of the douchebags from one of those Jersey Shore shows. I don’t watch them so I can’t name names, but he looked like the guy with the slicked-back and spiky hair. Yeah, that douchebag! So I was prepared for the worst. He saw my Angels cap – kinda hard to miss it, a green cap on my huge noggin looks like a mini-golf obstacle – and said “ah, Angels fan, eh? I’m a Yankees fan.”
Ah shit, here we go. Jersey Shore lookalike and a Yankees fan. This dude is gonna be a choad for sure.
He continued: “Gettin’ excited for the season?”
Me: “Eh, a little bit. I’m cautious after last season, ya know?”
Him: “Yeah, I know. I’m not to sure about us this season. Hey, I bet you were so glad when Lackey signed with the Red Sox!”
And there it was, our moment of bonding and the exact second when this guy went from a choad to a genuine Good Guy. We could share in our loathing of the Red Sox, just about the only thing that draws Yankees and Angels fans together.
Me: “Oh man, when Lackey signed with them at first I was pissed. ‘He signed with the Red Sox? Man, what a jerk!’ After that, though…so glad he’s with them.”
Him: “I know, I was laughing when they signed him, for so long and so much!”
At this point I’m ready to ask this guy out for a beer, no homo. We have something in common and we could spend a few hours making fun of the Sox.
Me: “Yeah, and he was terrible at Fenway. They shoulda seen it coming!”
Him: “No kidding. Man, I’m not sure about the Yankees this year, we got a lotta problems.”
Me: “Yeah, you guys have a lot of injuries and your team is getting old. This might be the year you really fall off.”
Him: “Tell me about it, man. So you have to feel pretty good about your team, right?”
Me: “Eh, I’m not sure. Our pitching is pretty shaky. We’re gonna need to win a lot of 8-7 games.”
Him: “Yeah, that’s true. All right, here’s your stuff, have a good day!”
Me: “Thanks, man!”
Hell, I coulda stayed there and talked to him for a few minutes. As I often say to my girlfriend, “this kid is going places.” Good customer service skills, turned me from a skeptical customer into a satisfied customer, even though the food was crap. Hell, I might even go back to see him again (and again, no homo).
Baseball fans – and sports fans in general – understand where I’m coming from. It’s that moment of connection with a complete stranger that leads to talking about teams in the possessive because we’re a part of them, somehow, just because we watch on TV. We could probably not do it but deep inside we don’t want to; we want to feel a part of something we invest so much (time, money, effort) into.
As a side note, yesterday morning my girlfriend and I caught a bit of Fever Pitch before we left to do other things. Even though it’s about a Red Sox fan, he’s the most inoffensive and cutesy Red Sox fan ever so it’s tolerable. I kinda like the movie because it has some funny moments and it serves as a personal barometer that lets me check how obsessed I am with the Angels, and pull back the reins before I become the guy (to paraphrase Drew Barrymore in the movie) whose apartment “looks like he lives in the gift shop.” I’m not that guy yet, although my downstairs bathroom does have a more-than-healthy amount of Angels crap in it.
Ah, baseball. Welcome back.