Maccabees Games

A look at the New York sports scene and the sporting world at large.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rangers Lose

No, not those Rangers. Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated the Glasgow Rangers in the first game a UEFA Cup elimination soccer match.

It’s not that I don’t like these Rangers, I actually do. But whenever an Israeli team has an opportunity to advance in a world championship competition, I’d like the Israeli team to win.

Now why would I like these Rangers? Well, about a year and half ago I was in Glasgow, Scotland for Shabbos and I was walking from the center of town to the main Jewish area which was approximately six miles away. The Rabbi had invited me for Shallah Seudas and I said I’d give it a whirl.

Unfortunately, I would have to walk through a rough part of town and it was the beginning of the ‘football’ season. The Glasgow Rangers were playing the Glasgow Celtics. If you can believe it, this is worse than Giants-Jets Yankees-Mets Knicks-Nets or Rangers-Islanders.

The game had just ended at just about the point when I had arrived in the hooligan section of the city. People were leaving bars screaming and yelling. One guy starts after me and shouts in his Scottish brogue “Whur ya goin?” I basically ignore him but he comes at me again and says “Com ere, whur ya goin?” So I respond in my best imitation of his accent “Am goin.”

Well this went on back and forth for a bit, so I finally screamed back in my best Madison Square Garden chant, “Let’s go Rangers.” Well that did it and my fellow Rangers fan let me go.

Little did I know, but what I did find out later after arriving at the Rabbi’s home, the Celtic-Rangers fan base animosity runs quite deep. The Celtics fans are Catholics while the Rangers are diehard Protestants.

Rooting for the wrong team in Glasgow would be almost as bad as getting into a riff about religion in Northern Ireland.

Luckily, I love the Rangers – except when they play against Israel, of course.


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