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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Chicken Sandwich Of Victory

There's an old saying that claims there's no such thing as a free lunch. That, as I will prove in a second, is wrong. There's another saying, which isn't as well-known by those who weren't recently in college, that states that food tastes better when it's free. That is absolutely right.

But there is a way to make that free food taste even better. I'm talking about food that's free when your team wins (or at least does something which produces free food). I'm talking about Chick-fil-a sandwiches for which you can redeem your Flyers ticket when the Orange and Black score four or more goals.

Chick-fil-a makes a tasty sandwich. But I wouldn't drive out to the mall with the main purpose of getting one. And if I'm going to the mall anyway, I'll probably get a cheesesteak or Chinese food or something other than Chick-fil-a.

There's something magical about that free sandwich, though. It makes fans come to Flyers games with signs that say "I want chicken." When you're at the game, and the Flyers are sitting on three goals, the crowd starts rooting for one more goal, just for that chicken sandwich.

I remember one game I was at earlier this season where the Flyers were up 3-2 late in the game, and the following though actually went through my head:
"I hope the other team pulls its goalie so the Flyers have a shot at an empty-netter to get me that chicken sandwich."

Through the grace of the hockey and chicken gods, that's exactly what happened. And when John LeClair buried that empty-net goal, the PA guys, instead of launching Blur's "Song 2" like they do after every Flyers goal, start playing the chicken dance, while the Chick-fil-a cows start dancing around the ad boards that ring the upper deck. A beautiful scene, indeed. And that chicken sandwich tasted damn good.

You might be saying, "Chick-fil-a isn't crazy expensive. Why not just go and buy a sandwich?" Well, here's why. Even if you gave me a coupon for a free chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-a, I wouldn't go out of my way to use it. The free chicken sandwich that comes from a four-goal Flyers performance is different. It's the taste of victory, a tangible way for me to savor an offensive outburst.

The afternoon after a four-goal game, I'll drive to the mall and get myself a chicken sandwich, and each bite is freakin' delicious, and I can thank Ken Hitchcock and Co. for that.

It's like if I went to Penn, and the basketball team scored 100 points. Abner's Cheesesteaks is packed after that happens, because steaks are on the house in that event.

So two nights ago, I went to the Flyers-Leafs game, and the Flyers came out flat. They were down 3-0 with five minutes to go. Then Hitchcock pulls the goalie when the Flyers get a power play, they score on the 6-on-4, and then they score again with maybe a minute and a half left. And I'm thinking, they have the momentum, they're going to score, tie it at 3, and then it'll go into overtime and maybe they can win it 4-3! And I'm sure the only thing sweeter than a free chicken sandwich that your team earns for you is a free chicken sandwich that your team earns on an overtime game-winner.

Unfortunately, I'll have to wait to see what that's like. The Flyers couldn't complete the comeback and they lost, 3-2. After the game, my dad tried to console me by offering to spring for a sandwich. But it just wouldn't have been the same.

Free food tastes better when your team wins it for you.


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