After a recent dinner date with my wife, we ended the evening the way millions of married couples end a night of food, drink and kid-free conversation. We went to the grocery store. Nothing provides a happy ending to a date more than a stroll up and down the aisle of your favorite chain supermarket. My cheeks are flush just thinking about it.
Since this was a date, we spared no expense and went to the Cadillac of local grocery stores, Wegmans. There, we gazed lovingly at the wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (“I think vegetables can be very sensuous, don't you?” – Eric Stratton to Mrs. Marion Wormer, Animal House, 1978). We soaked in the romantic aroma of overpriced floral arrangements and drowned in the stench of overscented bath supplies, all while swaying to Muzak versions of The Doors greatest ballads. Ah, old married love, ‘tis smell is sweet.
We wandered into the frozen food aisle, and being a hopeless romantic, or maybe just hopeless, I suggested we buy some ice cream for the kids. Besides, we might have a coupon. Also, a vat of ice cream from Wegmans is a lot cheaper than a slice of key lime pie at any fancy restaurant.
Behind the foggy glass doors, between the 5 gallon tubs of orange sherbet and the 12 pack Dove brand ice cream sandwiches, I spied some private label treats that I had not seen before. The carton designs and color schemes looked familiar. They had sports team branded ice cream from Turkey Hill.
They sold Bronx Bomber Sundae and Pinstripe Brownie Blast to honor the Evil Empire from New York. Blitzburgh Crunch in Steelers Terrible black and yellow was wedged in between the Phillies Batter Up and the Phillies Graham Slam half gallons. This was cross promotional marketing gone wild. Athletics and ice cream, like sports and competitive eating, shouldn’t go together.
This was not the biggest problem for me. Out of market sports franchises were being marketed and sold to Washington area fans. I was devastated.
The thrill of the date denouement was shriveling. I knew in my head that DC was not a sports town. The last championship parade was held here in 1993 (DC United soccer does not count). The Wizards stink. Pro baseball was absent for 37 seasons before returning by default in 2005. Lord Stanley’s Cup has not runeth over on the streets of DC since the inception of the Caps franchise in 1974. In football, we own Daniel Snyder – enough said.
I understand why the ice cream vendors of America have disrespected us. It’s pure economics. Our team jerseys don’t sell, so how could the area fans of local teams be expected to buy brand specific ice cream?
In my heart, however, I knew this was unfair and frankly, insulting. The Redskins, while unwatchable for close to 20 years, still have a loyal fan base (that does not include me). Couldn’t they have test marketed some Hogs Heavenly Hash or Redskins Rum Raisin?
Where’s the Nationals Nutter Butter? Or the Nats Nutberry Cream or the Strasburg Iceberg Smoothie. Zimmerman Triple Play Neopolitan? The team has the best record in baseball; least number of runs allowed in baseball; best road record in baseball…6 ½ game lead in a division that was projected to be a fight between the Phillies, Marlins, and Braves. The Nationals have a legitimate chance to…I can’t say it. That could jinx it and I cannot be held responsible.
Where’s the love, Turkey Hill? Where’s our ice cream? I scream, you scream, now we all need to scream for our Washington Nationals signature series ICE CREAM!