According to Glenn – Knowing When to Reveal Your Inner Fan
During an editorial meeting in late January, I mentioned to mvm editor Emilie-Noelle Provost and Steve Pennimpede, mvm’s creative director and doer of many miscellaneous company functions, that the subject of my March/April column was going to be about being a fan. Well, before the sound of my voice had ceased reverberating around the room, Steve began saying, “No, no, no, don’t even think about it,” and then he proceeded to go on a minor tirade that it was my fault the Patriots lost to the Jets in 2011 because of the mere suggestion in my Jan/Feb editors letter that they might be on the verge of another Super Bowl appearance.
Now Mr. P is pretty important to our operation and when he gets passionate – or gets into his slightly nutty, superstitious New England sports superfan mode – it’s best to listen to him (and stay out of his way). So I dispatched all thoughts of my column until February 2.
My original thought about knowing when to reveal your inner fan had to do with my soft-spoken, gentle wife, Lisa, during an encounter with Baltimore Ravens fans aboard the Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art ship that began cruising out of New Jersey this past November. Lisa, our kids and I took our first vacation together in nearly four years, sailing from the chilly Northeast to the Caribbean in early January. As luck would have it, the Pats divisional round game was the first of four that weekend and we’d still be on the ship.
No worries. Royal Caribbean boasts that Quantum is the most wired passenger ship in the world, with more connectivity than all other cruise ships combined, so, of course, the game would be on. But where? Well, the Cruise Compass — the daily activities directory — indicated that the game would be on the big outdoor screen on deck 14, the pool deck. But there was a bit of problem with that. Shortly before game time, the ship was headed north off the coast of — you guessed it — Maryland, and it was about 27 degrees with howling winds!
Now what? The game likely would be on in the Schooner Bar, but with three small screens and one-level lounge seating, that wasn’t the ideal place to watch it. So to the delight of all football fans aboard the ship, the captain and cruise director arranged to have the game televised in Two70°, the ship’s three-deck high, multilevel, multi-purpose club / lounge / performance space, located at the aft end of the ship where the main dining room is normally located. As its name suggests, Two70° is an expansive indoor space with an all-glass panoramic wall that boasts breathtaking views during the day and at night is transformed into a giant video wall.
So it is against this backdrop that we encountered the Ravens fans, arguably the most unfriendly group of people we’ve ever met on a cruise ship. In fact, the one person from Baltimore who would talk to us — a women whose husband was seated directly in front of Lisa — told us she had to leave before the game began because her dear hubby believed the Ravens always lost if she was in the room. She was lovely and talkative, but he and his pals refused to turn around and chat even though they could hear every word exchanged between his wife and us.
Shortly after kickoff, they moved to a different section of the room, which was good — and here’s the motivation for the subject of this column — because my sweet, polite wife jumped to her feet and screamed with such wild enthusiasm when the Patriots scored their first touchdown at the end of the first quarter that she was, for a moment, the loudest, most visible person in a room of hundreds.
Outnumbered by Ravens fans and with at least 3 miles of ocean beneath the ship, I felt a momentary panic. “Lisa, cool it, please, sit, it’s not over yet,” I implored. And over it wasn’t, as anyone who watched the game knows.
Thankfully, another boisterous Pats fan took the mantle from Lisa and proceeded to whoop it up at every turn in our favor. But by the end, the Patriots Nation delegation on the ship, including us, would not, could not, keep our elation contained as our team sent the most criminally-prone franchise in the NFL home for the season.
My head was on a swivel the remaining 12 hours aboard because there was no hint of sportsmanship emanating from the Ravens fans as they exited Two70°, and there was still a lot of water out there. It left me with the feeling that it’s very important to know when and where to express your inner fan. That said, I can’t help but smile today at the Facebook post from WPOR 101.9 that Lisa shared, which stated succinctly: “Deflate this.” What a great start to the year, despite all the snow.
Glenn J. Prezzano is the president of 512 Media Inc., founder and publisher of Merrimack Valley Magazine, Merrimack Valley Home and book publisher Merrimack Press. You may talk back to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.