I went to Delaware Park in Wilmington Sunday to do some reporting on the now-legalized sports betting there (the Niners were a 7-point underdog, by the way -- should have taken that bet) and much to my surprise, I ran into something unexpected: Niners fans. Real ones.
Usually when I run into someone around these parts and we're both wearing a San Francisco jersey, there's no recognition in the other person's eyes (this is especially true for Giants jerseys). No "Go Niners!" no "Yeah, Giants!" no smile, no nothin'. I have no idea who these people think they are but they are not my sports brethren. It's on the complete opposite end of the spectrum as my husband, who practically gets a high five and a chest bump every time he passes someone on the street around here wearing Boston gear.
So as I'm wandering around Delaware Park, Niners jersey neatly hidden underneath a fleece (I can't NOT wear it on Sunday -- that's pretty much heresey), I spot someone wearing a Niners Super Bowl t-shirt. I couldn't resist.
"Nice shirt!" I shouted.
A smile broke out across his face, he nodded and -- guess what -- I got the thumbs up.
I couldn't believe it. The thumbs up!! I may sound like that mousey girl in high school who gets the stray glance of the football captain and rushes home to journal about it, but I don't care. Finally -- some recognition!
The rest of the afternoon I spotted a handfull of Niners fans grouped together, even one wearing a retro Montana jersey. The TVs with the San Francisco game actually had people in front of them who weren't watching the adjacent games. Granted, some of those people had money on the game so that's why they cared. But it doesn't explain why I saw the most San Francisco paraphanelia since the last time I was at San Francisco airport.
That day, coupled with a Friday night when I used my Giants credit card and it didn't end in me secretly rolling my eyes but in a nice conversation about the team's playoff hunt this season (thank you Iggies in Baltimore) and I feel slightly less like a black sheep out here.
Of course on the radio during the drive home Sunday I heard score updates on what seemed like every game BUT the Niners...but Rome wasn't built in a day.