A Philadelphia high school took a rather novel approach to attracting student fans to a Sunday Catholic League basketball game: It offered cheesesteaks to the first 50 attendees. The result? A packed gym.
As reported by the Philadelphia Daily News’ Ted Silary, Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic High boys basketball coach Chris McNesby informed school officials that he would pay for cheesesteaks for the first 50 people to show up for the school’s Sunday pre-Super Bowl matinee against rival Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s Prep. Word of the cheesesteak bribe traveled quickly on Friday, with Roman Catholic players reportedly being told by everyone that they would be at their game.
The rumors were true, on all fronts. By the time the Roman Catholic junior varsity game started at noon the stands were already almost completely full. By the second half of the junior varsity game, a Roman Catholic assistant AD began hawking cheesesteaks up into the crowd of ravenous teenagers.
With a total of at least 65 cheesesteaks on order (there were extras ordered for the team), at an average price of $9.00 per sandwich (based on the Geno’s Steaks standard), McNesby almost spent more than $575 on cheesesteaks on Super Bowl Sunday. Whether he got to eat one himself remains unknown.
The result of the cheesesteak giveaway was a buoyant teenage Philadelphia crowd, with the fans playing a key role in helping get Roman Catholic across the finish line in front of St. Joseph’s by a final score of 62-58.
"Having those guys up there on the stage gives us a lot more toughness," Roman Catholic star Rashann London told the Daily News. "They also bring us camaraderie, which is exactly what we need."
On Sunday, the Roman Catholic basketball team got camaraderie, a victory and -- you guessed it -- cheesesteaks. After the game, the victorious Roman squad ate cheesesteaks of their own, again courtesy of McNesby, providing an all-too appropriate end to a memorable Sunday victory.
"Mine was still pretty warm," London told the Daily News. "I liked it. No extras. Only salt, pepper and ketchup. That's all you need, right?"