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On Stopping the Team Bus, and Rest Areas

For some reason, talk radio yammerers (read: Steve Czaban) are in full yammer mode this morning about Joe Gibbs, after he apologized for not stopping when the Redskins team bus passed some fans the other day. Now, I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would care if Gibbs apologized about this, but no matter. I have a better team bus story.

So we're all leaving the Meadowlands Saturday evening after United's 1-0 win over Team Energy Drink; the Screaming Eagles bus, the Barra Brava bus, the United team bus, the family members' bus, various vans carrying various hangers-on, and so forth. For some reason, I was wearing a bright orange t-shirt that said "Don't Be Stupid," which I had bought from a flea market in the Meadowlands parking lot. (A flea market, incidentally, that seemed to have attracted many more people than Team Energy Drink's playoff game. Announced attendance was less than 9k. Not good.)

Anyhow, point being, we all leave the Meadowlands, and I'm with the Screaming Eagles, several of whom are getting tired of being propositioned as cheese tasters (Some guy named Vlad: "[Bleep], man, when are you gonna stop?"), and they're singing mildly profane songs about people who live in New Jersey.

(Oft-used example, borrowed from clubs the world over and liberally changed, and sung to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean":

If I had the wings of an eagle;
If I had the [bleep] of a crow.
I'd fly over Jersey tomorrow;
And [bleep] on those [bleepers] below.

[Bleep] on, [bleep] on;
[Bleep] on those [bleepers] below, below.
[Bleep] on, [bleep] on;
[Bleep] on those [bleepers] below.


And then we start watching "The Benchwarmers," which is bad, and "Goal!", which is indescribably worse, and then suddenly we roll up to the Delaware House, where we're joined by the Barra Brava bus, and the United team bus, and the family members' bus, and then everyone sort of hangs out. At this rest stop. In the middle of Delaware. About three hours after United's MLS playoff game ended.

Defender Bryan Namoff is sitting inside the Delaware House, eating dinner. Forward Jaime Moreno is visiting with family and friends. Head coach Peter Nowak and assistant Tommy Soehn are chatting with fans. Alecko Eskandarian is sitting behind the wheel of the team bus, laying on the horn, while leaning out the window, posing for pictures and thanking supporters for making the trip. (I offer him some cheese; "I hate cheese, man," he says. "Bus drivers don't eat cheese.")

The Barra guys are everywhere; I ask one whether they're still drinking and he laughs. "What a silly question," he says. "Do ducks have lips?"

Anyhow, people keep coming back from the Delaware House to the parking lot with their Roy Rogers fried products and their gloppy Sbarro pizza, and they're all just sort of gathered in a clump by the parking lot, eating and talking.

"I'm in awe," fan Rob Bartlett is saying as he nods toward Moreno. "Like, that dude hanging out over there is arguably the greatest player in league history."

"How [bleeping] bizarre is that?" asks another fan. "Oh, we're driving down 95 South and we stop at some pisshole rest-stop, and there's the Redskins, the Capitals, the Bullets? I don't think so. In the 15 minutes we've been here, I've talked to the head coach, an assistant coach, the president, the technical director, a few key players, some players' wives, the fricker with the Golden Boot....In what the hell other league does that happen? Remember that movie with Paul Newman, "Slapshot?" I feel like I'm in that movie right now."

And as long as this guy made the hockey connection, I'm officially calling out Caps fans to show up for United's home half of the opening round of the playoffs this Sunday evening. The Skins have a bye and the Caps are off. No excuses. I'll even invite you to the Barra and the Eagles' tailgates. You United and Caps people seem to have a lot in common: you think the Washington Post undercovers your team, you occasionally read my blog, you like alcohol, you don't like teams from New York. This is a natural love connection. This especially means you, Goat and Sam Horn Guy.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 23, 2006; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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