by Peter Marus

Yesterday was the trip to Philly for the United States game in the Gold Cup.  I decided to take the train down, but not Amtrak.  I took NJ Transet to Trenton, then SEPTA into Philly and to the stadium.  It took a while, about 3 hours I guess.  The trip wasn't too bad outside of it all being local trains.  I get to the stadium, and where it is located is in south Philly, which has the much sweetness and charm as dock workers.  The city has it set up like the Meadowlands in a way where all the sporting arenas are on top of each other.  There is the old Spectrum (which is still more modern than Nassau Coliseum), the Wachovia Center behind it, and next to that is Lincoln Financial Field where the game was.  Also there is Citizens Bank Park across Broad street.  the setup looks okay, but could be chaotic if there are more than one event going on in the area.  They have a plaque commemorating where the old Veteran's Stadium once stood.  


We get there and did the rube thing-went for cheesesteaks.  We walked 2 miles from the stadium area to Tony Luke's.  I had my cheesesteaks in the traditional way-cheese wiz and onions.  Honestly it was ok, but nothing that screams to me it is awesome.  The dumbest question asked to me was "what beer would you like?"  I got a Yeungling, because I'm in Pennsylvania dammit, I want a Pennsylvania beer!!!  And I wanted a Yeungling because I'm a classy guy and not a slob Rolling Rock drinker.   


I get back to the parking lot where the tailgate is, and Philly knows how to have a tailgate.  the lot I was located in was a wherehouse parking lot/loading dock almost under I-95.  So I hung out with the other ESC guys who went down and noticed the Philly supporters-the Sons of Ben having their tailgate.  They organized a large one you had to pay to get in (but I couldn't since I tried too late to sign up for it), and it was about as average as any larger US soccer game tailgats.  They had a nice selection of beer, but the whole thing they had wasn't really something to make me go "wow."  As usual the kid who gets drunk at most games got really hammered, and got everyone's attention to make sure he didn't die.  Many didn't like it when I said just leave him there since he puts himself in this position, let him take care of himself, and whatever happens to him is his problem.  Then after that I almost got into it with another person over this issue (ironically after I tried to HELP the drunk), and then I went into the stadium to catch part of the first game.   Later on the dunk asshole did get into the stadium somehow. Picture of this kid for you: your average early 20's suburban kid who is still in the "adult body/infant maturity" stage.  


The US game goes on, and as much as the SoB people tried to lead the chants, it seemed like our group was doing most of the work.  As usual you have the people in the section who won't sing, won't stand, and just stare at the game.  Of course one big problem I had was all the Phillies, or any non-US logos in the section.  I understand the Philly fans are amateus to international soccer, but one shouldn't be wearing any other team's logos to a national team game-just US stuff, or a simple red shirt.  DC fans also do this as well, and it's not proper to do.  


After the game, and it going into extra time, didn't help, i haul ass to the train to get to the last SEPTA train to Trenton because they shut the trains down for several hours overnight.  I get to Trenton and the train to Penn Station.  Finally take the subway home, and got home about 3am.  Long trip, but not too bad.  Would prefer to take a car or Amtrak, but it's a decent option to take down there.  


Today I woke up at about 1pm, and have been in a bad mood all day. I shouldn't' say a bad mood but just not a good mood.  I thought about some of the day before and I thought I should try to hang out more with people from the ESC outside of siccer games.  Granted what I've wrote in the past may have shut people off, but I should start trying to be a little more social.  


I may start by going to Nevada Smiths for the US semi final viewing.  I say might because I have issues with the bar that the ESC chose to move the away and US game viewings out of the blue (it was an email to the members in short saying "Starting now, we're moving to this place and that's that.").  I've been there a few times in the past, and overall the attitude of a lot of the people there has been anti-US soccer and MLS.  I remember one year they said they were gonig to show the MLS cup final. I went to watch there, and all they did was put it on a small TV with no sound.  This bar is the one that shows all the English league games, and all the ex-pats of England and Europe go to watch soccer (hence the anti-US attitude).  Also it seems like the place is a tourist trap and a gimmick bar to me.  I know they get good crowds for US games now, but I think their sudden change of attitude is more form Red Bull giving the guy a bunch of money to get their name into the bar.  I personally preferred Stout on 33rd st-near a major transit hub, good food and drinks, and a cool atmosphere, but I guess it wasn't the club's and it's member's choice, which as I said I informed of just out of the blue in an email.  


Like I said, I'll give it another shot, but after my last paragraph and the past things I wrote, the number of people who would hang out with me might be a small to none.  Who knows, most people are cool with me, but that could be just a facade.