02.04.06

Civic Pride, Philly-Style

Posted in Football, Mob Behavior at 2:25 am by

The ECW Arena wouldn’t have been nearly big enough — yesterday’s Wing Bowl (now off-limits to past champs like Sonya Thomas) packed Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center with some 20,000 sophisticates. Admist all the Philly negativity, the Inquirer’s Michael Klein covered the historic competition. (thanks to Chuck Meehan for the link).

Men gnawing on chicken wings. Women prancing about in thongs and bursting out of their shirts. Howling crowds oozing testosterone.

People have long been saying that someone ought to make a movie out of Wing Bowl, that most Roman of annual public spectacles in Philadelphia.

And this morning, as championship eater Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif.(above), wolfed down a record 173 chicken wings to best a field of 27 eaters at a packed Wachovia Center, such an idea moved a step closer to reality.

Scriptwriter Vince McKewin, notebook in one hand and pocket camera in another, watched Wing Bowl from the stage, looking over the gorging contestants and their scantily clad assistants, known as Wingettes.

McKewin, who has mostly done episodic television work, was hired last year by Havertown-bred Hollywood producer Mike Tollin (Arli$$, Summer Catch, Radio, Varsity Blues).

McKewin spent much of the morning shaking his head and grinning. At the arrival of the contestants and their entourages. At the sight of two men smashing full beer cans on their heads. Atthe men’s chants from the stands, pleading with women to bare their breasts. At the garish gold crown, festooned with little rubber chickens, plunked on Chestnut’s head.

When a housewife from South Jersey – the lone female competitor – was carried into the arena, he said: “This is like the bar scene from Star Wars.

“This is very Philadelphia,” he said. “Can you imagine someone from Czechoslovakia or Sweden seeing this?”

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