A funny thing happened on the way to the Linc
I drove two hours through rush-hour traffic to Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night hoping to see something I hadn’t seen before.
That did happen, though it wasn’t the performance of Carson Wentz, who made his Eagles debut in a preseason game that had all the excitement of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. (Idea for the Eagles PR staff: Give away free ice cream to fans willing to come out and watch a glorified scrimmage on a sweltering day).
It was an odd thing that occurred as my friend Jim and I made our way through security on the south side of the stadium.
As we walked up, we saw that there was no line at the gate (in contrast with the typically packed north entrance). Wth kickoff about 15 minutes away, we were hoping to breeze through security and make our way to the upper deck.
As a sports fan, I rarely go to a game without bringing food. It’s a rule I live by. On this night, I didn’t have much, just a few things to snack on as I slowly roasted in the 90-degree heat.
I set my see-through (by Eagles edict) bag on the security table and dropped my wallet, keys and cellphone into the gray plastic tray. I eased through the metal detector and reached over for my belongings. A group of security employees stood around killing time.
I heard one of them, a petite woman, say something. I thought at first that she was talking to one of her co-workers. I noticed that she was looking at me expectantly, so I quickly realized that whatever she said had been directed at me.
“Would it be inappropriate for me to ask you for your seats?” she asked.
Huh? Why was an Eagles security employee asking me for my seats? Was she secretly a scalper? Did she really want to watch the game?
I was befuddled. You don’t want to be asked strange questions at the security checkpoint.
“I’m sorry?” I said.
“Would it be inappropriate for me to ask you for some seeds?” she asked.
One of the things in my satchel was a small bag of sunflower seeds, Old Bay flavor. I opened the bag months ago and have been slowly working my way through its contents.
What do you do when a stadium security employee asks you for some of your food? I’d never had that happen to me. It felt like an “Impractical Jokers” skit. You can’t really say no there, can you? You’d look heartless. You’d be a bad person.
So I plucked out the bag of sunflower seeds, popped it open and poured a small pile into her open hand.
But then it became like feeding the birds. A second security worker who had been manning the empty line crept over and furtively held out her hand; apparently she didn’t want to be seen by her superior taking food from a fan. I smiled and poured her some seeds.
Then a third hand appeared. I was like the Oprah of Old Bay sunflower seeds: You get seeds! You get seeds! And you get seeds!
They thanked me, and we all laughed.
“Enjoy the game,” they said. It’s the standard Lincoln Financial Field greeting.
“Only if it’s a win,” I said. It’s my standard reply.
I thought about asking them for a picture with me and the bag of seeds, but thought better of it. After all, they were apparently afraid of getting caught seed-handed.
Thankfully, it all took less than a minute and then Jim and I headed up to our seats to see a “train wreck” of game — the word choice of a fan in Section 211 whose shrill voice is seared into my brain from last season.
I didn’t eat a single sunflower seed that night. It’s a long season ahead, and I want to be prepared if I happen to see those workers again.