While out and about in The City, anyone in Arsenal gear is fair game. It is my mission to make sure they’re aware of our supporters’ group at Maggie’s. Often with mixed results.
I terrified an older Asian woman in Chinatown one day, who did not seem to grasp my intent, despite her bright red Arsenal jacket, Gooner? No? Arsenal? No? Wait, why are you running away?
Then there was a bewildered young man in a classic Arsenal Dreamcast jersey. After several awkward minutes, he revealed, I only bought this shirt because I’m a video games nerd.
Or the family of Italian tourists, whose patriarch, was wearing an Arsenal shirt, but shielded his family, insisting, I have no money. Pretty sure, he thought I was begging or trying to rob them.
But this is how the Bay Area Gooners was built. In the beginning, there were just a handful of us at the pub, while Facebook and Twitter were in their infancy. We grew exponentially by word of mouth, our mailing list, our Arsenal America affiliation, and good old fashion evangelism.
Anyone in an Arsenal shirt is a potential convert. See the match? Have you heard about the Bay Area Gooners? Ever watch at Maggie’s?
One night, I was enjoying a lovely romantic meal with my wife, sitting in the window of a neighborhood restaurant. A man jogged by briskly in shorts and the 2004/2005 kit (a favorite of mine).
I instantly felt a magnetic pull, pushed my chair back, only to have my wife fix me with a steely gaze, Don’t you dare get up from this table. I acquiesced, but couldn’t help but wonder about this lost soul and a missed opportunity.
Yesterday, we passed a young man in the new black away kit on Polk Street. I greeted him enthusiastically, how about that result? Excited for the season? He never broke his pace, stared straight ahead, earbuds firmly in place, as if I did not exist.
To be fair, one can get accosted a lot on the streets of San Francisco, so I let him pass without further incident. But chances are, if you are out in San Francisco, reppin’ the Arsenal, I will find you.