So I’m still proud of being from Delaware, but things did not work out so well for the Fightin’ Blue Hens football team Friday night in the I-AA National Championship. Appalachian State was too good. I guess that’s why they’ve won three in a row.
Because our television is ESPN2-deficient, my lady friend and I set out to find a suitable venue for eating dinner and viewing the game Friday evening. The first choice, Downtown Grill and Brewery, chosen for it’s affordable-yet-top-notch craft beer selection and decent menu, was a bit too crowded and clearly not as focused on watching some Blue Hen football as was I. Our fallback option, Wild Wing Café, had four huge projection screens with the game on them, a fair draft selection, and the place was nearly deserted. Perfect.
We’d been sitting for just a few minutes when a local TV news reporter, cameraman in tow, came over and asked if I’d mind expressing my reaction regarding the impending departure of UT’s offensive coordinator for the head-coaching position at Duke. Despite never explicitly declaring my allegiance, I would later be identified on the station’s web site and presumably on television as a UT fan. In retrospect, this must have been obvious given that I was watching a game between two Division I-AA schools while wearing a University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens t-shirt and a blue and yellow UD baseball cap. At first, I informed the young go-getter that I really didn’t have an opinion regarding the employment status of any assistant coaches at our local university and therefore would not be the best person to speak to regarding the day’s ground-shaking news. However, remembering some of my own struggles in the past trying to pry a decent quote from the lips of uncooperative interview subjects and also the general under-representation of intelligent, well-spoken people in man-on-the-street sound bites, I took pity on the young pup and acquiesced.
Of course, once the intense glare from the camera’s light was in my eyes and the microphone was pointed my way, I proceeded to string together a rambling series of seemingly unrelated words that probably did a disservice to all of the institutions of higher education involved or represented in the scene: the universities of Delaware and Tennessee, Duke and my own alma mater, which should have been ashamed at having conferred a degree upon a person who could not even communicate in complete sentences. Having apparently gotten the gibberish out of my system, though, I did pull it together and give the kid a composed, concise and intelligent sound bite in the end. Of course he used the first part. And that’s news.
Our waitress was rooting for App State (as they apparently call it) because her father is an alum. My father the Delaware alum was at that moment laying in a hospital bed in a room with a television that did not get ESPN2, so not only did they botch his knee replacement surgery (see previous post), but he couldn’t even watch the game as planned. He had a bad day. It’s probably better that he didn’t see the game. It wasn’t pretty. (Note to Michael Moore: I bet hospitals in Guantanamo Bay get better sports cable packages than any found stateside.)
After two and a half hours, three quarters of football, 18 wings, a basket of excellent potato wedges and three Sweetwater 420s between us, my lady friend and I decided the score precluded any possibility of a Blue Hen comeback and left the frigid confines of Wild Wing Café behind. Our tab, after tip, amounted to just over $40, which is what two non-scalped tickets to the game would have cost. Not bad.