Just like hipsters in 2002 embraced Pabst Blue Ribbon . . . thereby starting a trend, the same thing could be happening at the North Jersey shore with sports teams. Allow me to elaborate first:
I got a lot of flack when I put up the sports' loyalty line. Mostly they were from Monmouth and Ocean County people - who continue to insist they share no possible common traits with the dreaded "Bennys" from North Jersey and beyond - though people in Burlington County and south would strongly disagree.
An interesting observation is that this "Benny" thing is becoming so ingrained into the Shore population's consciousness, even little kids are on board and you also heard about Belmar's mayor. To me it parallels the rise of groups like Benny Go Home who are championing the cause of locals at the shore, and are getting a much bigger and loyal following in the past couple years.
They're very articulate guys with interesting views on how visitors affect the shore: from abuse of eminent domain to cyclical trends on the decaying and revitalizations of shore towns, and how tourists fit into these equations. But other locals have taken the "word use" to a different level - claiming it relates to only guidos or all non-beach people. They have hijacked it, in some cases, and applied it to all North Jerseyans and Staten Islanders, amongst others. . . where the guys at BGH just define it as rude tourists from anywhere.
But now there has been more of an effort from some shore locals to separate themselves further from those up north - after my "pale attempts to paint them as brother and sister" as one reader wrote in. Some have emailed me that the shore sports teams are different. Where in North NJ - the Giants, the Yankees and Rangers are the teams du jour, at the Shore they would much rather follow the Mets and Jets - like Long Islanders - but split when it comes to their home state and have the strongest showing of support for the New Jersey Devils.
But more and more people have tried to hint that they also support the Philly teams (some claim it was their parents), like the Phillies and Eagles and Sixers (but not the Flyers) and like using the word hoagie recently because of the abundance of Wawas.
This weird, but noticeable trend in emails and comments to my posts have brought up this question: Like those hipsters who fueled PBR's comeback - could the people at the North Jersey Shore, whom I consider to be on the cutting edge of NJ culture - because of the great music scene and the skate and surf culture there - actually start to think it is cool to adopt some South Jersey/ Philadelphia customs to truly and finally separate themselves from the Bennys once and for all? Being that the word has seemingly become synonymous with North Jerseyans and New Yorkers, could it be something that could happen there?
Not likely . . . . "the city" will NEVER be Philly to the North Jersey Shore people . . . but watch out for other interesting developments there.