Super Bowl Road Trip: Meeting fans in DC

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This is the journey, the pilgrimage (if you will) of a loud mouthed Colts fan as he drives 1,290 miles south from New York to Miami to cover his beloved Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44. These are his adventures along the way.

My 1200 mile trek begins with me choking SBNation.com’s Andrew Sharp to death.

My journey to Miami from New York actually starts at a train station, not a car rental shop. The first step in the adventure is an AMTRAK ride from NY Penn Station to DC Union Station. Everyone on the train are early morning business types. No one is wearing any sort of team appearal. Me? I sort of stand out.

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Folks on the train aren’t very talkative. It’s too early. Everyone wants to sleep or surf the web on their smart phones. I plug in the Pandora app on the Sprint phone and listen to Interpol as we glide south through Trenton and Wilmington.

In a small twist of irony only an Indianapolis Colts fan would find humorous, the train ride is going fine until we hit Baltimore. Once there, I guess the collective hatred of Baltimore fans towards me must have done something to drain the electricity from rails. The train was so slow after Baltimore I could have jogged from BWI Airport to the Capitol Building and made better time. Oh well.

Speaking of Baltimore fans, I’ve run into quite a few. Several of them are more than eager to insult the Irsays, bash the city of Indianapolis, but (at the same time) praise Peyton Manning and call him the new John Unitas. Baltimore fans continue to provide endless entertainment with their utter contempt for the Indianapolis Colts. However, despite the ugly looks I get from them, their conversations (which I will continue to chronicle all throughout this trip) are some of my favorite. Baltimore fans light up when you tell them "Let’s talk about Unitas and the old Colts." It’s like telling children, "We’re going to Disney World on a flying ice cream sundae!"

After seeing some friends in downtown DC, I swing by the DuPont Circle neighborhood, which is the home to SB Nation’s main office. Once there, I hang out at Lucky Bar (which is interestly referred to by my DC friends as a "meat market" bar) with several SB Nation employees, including Jim Bankoff (aka, the main man at SB Nation), Chris Haines, andthe man we Colts fans all love to burn effigies of: Andrew Sharp.

Andrew introduces himself to me, formally, by standing and offering his hand. The people gathered around wait to see if I will accept it or leap across the table and stab him to death with my pen. Surprisingly, this pause from the group embarrasses me. I shake his hand, buy a few beers, and sit with him to chat about sports and life in general. After several minutes of fun conversation, I look down and notice that the entire time Andrew has been wearing a Cowboys hoodie.

It was at that point that I choked him to death in front of the bar patrons. Rumor has suggested that Andrew survived my violent assault. Lies I tell you. Lies.

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DC, for those who have not been, is an odd town. Their subway train tunnels resemble Dracula’s crypt. I guess I prefer them over the claustrophobic and oppressively hot tunnels in NY. The mix of the old government buildings with the cosmopolitan nightlife offer contrasts that I still struggle with. However, regardless of what you think of DC as a city, there is no question that the area is packed full of passionate football fans.

One of my favorite people in DC is Bill the Skins fan. I got to stay with Bill and his family for a night in Silver Springs, which is within the DC beltway but part of Maryland. Bill the Skins fan enjoys ripping me and talking about how "Peyton sucks." Secretly, he’s jealous. He’s also a Red Sox fan, which means he sort of secretly loves the Patriots, thus making his hatred of Peyton pretty much automatic. Bill is excited for Jim Zorn’s firing; probably more so than the Redskins hiring Mike Shanahan. He thinks the Colts will win the Super Bowl, but he’s pulling for the Saints because they are the better story. Chatting with Bill is done over several beers in his basement, along with a few games of pool. He’s jealous of Peyton. I’m jealous of his pool table.

I’m checking my plans towards the end of the day, fretting over the massive snow storm smashing its way east, heading for Virgina and the Carolinas, which is exactly where I’m driving.

Special thanks to Jim Bankoff, Andrew Sharp, Kyle Ragdale, and Bill the Skins fan for a fun trip to DC.

Next entry: Snow storms attack BBS like a zone blitz defense

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