To the United fan I spoke six words to on Saturday, I should offer you up an apology. I was kind of a dick to you.
There’s a bit of a backstory to this. See, I used to have a bar. It was a wonderful relationship. The bar opened early (sometimes just for me), and I watched soccer, while whichever waitress got stuck opening didn’t really do much. I’d even get my own coffee if she opted to go to a back booth and catch up on sleep.
It was close to ideal. There were actually about ten of us with miscellaneous rooting interests who were quasi-regulars (plus a couple of alcoholics who had no idea why people in funny-looking jerseys kept turning up at such ridiculous hours). We were mostly on a first name basis and all had a good sense of when it was fair to taunt and when to best leave alone.
Last season it all got fucked. My bar became an official Manchester United bar or some shit like that. Basically, the Mancs had gotten run out of their previous homebase in Chicago. There was a waitress at my bar who then offered it up for the displaced to have a new segregated watching space. She’s a United fan. We don’t get along anymore.
So, I lost my bar. I know it’s not “mine” but I’ve certainly paid the light bill there for at least a couple of months.
Anyway, fast forward to last Saturday. My girlfriend and I had a late breakfast and wandered up the street to my old bar (it also happens to be where we met). I wanted to catch some of the UT v Baylor game and maybe have a look at whatever Serie A game was still on. It was long enough after the EPL games were in the books for the day that probably only a handful of United fans would be loitering, so I figured I could stomach it.
So we grabbed seats at the end of the bar and ordered a couple of beers and chatted and watched some football and some futbol.
Anyway, we had managed to really make a nice-sized fire out of daylight and figured we should get a jump on the shit we actually had to get done that afternoon. My favorite bartender was working, so before heading out, I asked her about next week’s schedule.
See, here’s what I’ve figured out about United fans in Chicago: they’re United fans, but they’re not soccer fans. Say Chelsea is playing Liverpool or maybe the Super Classico is on, there’s nobody there. The Mancs have managed to get the place adorned with Manchester gear but fuck if any of them are there for any game that doesn’t involve the Red Devils. Fine by me. That means as long as United isn’t playing, I get my bar back.
So I ask the bartender about next week’s schedule. Specifically, I want to know what time they are opening. I’m pretty sure Arsenal has a 9 o’clock kick and if United aren’t on opposite the Gunners, I’m going to come in to watch a game.
Anyway, the bartender tells me they are opening at 8:30. Then some United fan lingering long after the Villa match, and obviously listening in to our conversation from a couple stools down the bar, jumps in with, “We play Wolves at 9 am.”
My response to that was to look over to him with a face that said, “Who is ‘we’? And I wasn’t talking to you.” Then after an odd moment of silence I replied. “Yeah… I’m not a United fan.”
And you know what? The way I said it was completely dickish. There wasn’t a syllable in it that wasn’t dripping with distilled contempt. Yes, my bar got taken away from me by your lot and, no, I really don’t give a shit who you are playing next week. But I could have been way less of an ass in my reply. For that I’m sorry.
I’d venture to guess you might be a perfectly nice guy and you didn’t deserve that.
But I did notice that, after the girl who you had been trying to talk to got up to go to the bathroom came back, she sat one seat away from you, moving out of the seat next to you.
I also thought your running commentary to nobody in particular on whatever basketball game you were half-watching was kind of superfluous. And irritating.
Additionally, your obnoxious belittling of Serie A was not really warranted. In case you’re unaware, all three of the Italian teams in the group stages of the Champions League are in as good or better shape to go through—two qualified; one with its destiny in its own hands—than all of the remaining EPL teams not named Arsenal.
Finally, your laughing at Pazzini’s penalty miss for Inter against Udinese by shouting “John Terry” over and over again was supremely fucking annoying, not to mention kind of misplaced. Terry pushed his shot wide of the post. Pazzini slipped and skyed his effort straight over the crossbar. A much better-informed fan of the game would have noticed it was reminiscent of this miss. You know, the one by the former Manc.
Point being, I’m not sure I can even say “you might be a perfectly nice guy” but, regardless, I didn’t need to be such asshole.
So, to you and your backwards baseball cap, I am indeed sorry.
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