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Hancock re-enacts cola wars

June 22, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

I don't know how to break this to the Hancock Little League, but I'm really more of a Pepsi person.

It's hard to say when or why that came about. I never conducted a blind taste test, nor was there ever a Ten Commandments situation when I was struck with the momentous revelation, "Say, this cola tastes slightly better than the other cola."

I'm not militant about it. I will drink Coca-Cola products, although sometimes I can't resist needling. When I order a Diet Pepsi and the waitress says, "Is Diet Coke OK?" I sometimes say, "No, bring me an iced tea."

But that's just because I enjoy seeing the waitress' reaction, not because I really care. Not like some people, anyway. Ever notice Coke drinkers dislike Pepsi because it is "too sweet" and Pepsi drinkers dislike Coke because it is "too sweet"? Someone needs a taste bud adjustment, I'm just not sure which side it is.

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Do I feel strongly enough about Pepsi to march on Town Hall? No, probably not. But then, nobody has ever offered me a scoreboard.

This is the pickle the Town of Hancock finds itself in. It turns out that Hancock is a Pepsi town, although I didn't know this before. If I had to guess, I might have thought Hancock would be a Coke town. Hancock is a conservative, traditional town, and Coke seems a little more biblical, somehow.

If you think the 1950s was the greatest decade ever, you drink Coke.

Coke is button-down and proper, Pepsi is more derring-do, a little funkier, a little more modern. It's more of a Shepherdstown thing. Oh all right, a quick county rundown: Clear Spring, Coke. Williamsport, Pepsi. Smithsburg, Pepsi. Boonsboro, Pepsi. Keedysville, Coke. Funkstown, Pepsi. Sharpsburg, Coke. Hagerstown, Nehi.

McConnellsburg, Chambersburg, Hedgesville, Charles Town, Ranson, Great Cacapon, Greencastle - Coke. Waynesboro, Martinsburg, Harpers Ferry, Mercersburg, Bolivar, Berkeley Springs, Paw Paw - Pepsi. If I overlooked your town, you are Coke, obviously.

But this is why it's so dangerous to stereotype, because it turns out that Hancock signed an exclusive deal with Pepsi, which is allowed to place its vending machines throughout the town free of competing colas.

But now comes Coke, which has promised to put a new scoreboard at the Little League field, but only if the concession stand sells Coca-Cola products.

Ah, but the field is owned by the Town of Hancock, which, as mentioned, has an exclusive deal with Pepsi. You can see the horrible conundrum.

Suddenly, the issues of immigration and Medicare Part D pale in comparison to the endgame battle over Hancock's cola soul.

At first, the Little League kids considered marching on Town Hall in defense of Coke and, more importantly, the much-needed scoreboard.

On reflection, however, league brass decided that civil protest was not in keeping with Little League rules of order and civility. If, on the other hand, Hancock had umpires instead of council members, it would have been OK for the Little League parents to smash them over the melon with their picket signs.

Although I could go on about this situation, creating an opportunity for teaching youngsters a solid lesson in civics and petitioning your government for redress, deep down, I know better. Little League did the right thing.

I mean, if the entire AARP can't get free Zocor for their voting-intensive constituency, what chance would these kids have? Unless, of course, they had a fiendishly clever troublemaker of a PR rep.

Hi there.

Kids, take a knee. Forget the prototypical demonstration. It's pass. Milling around with picket signs and some hoary old rhyming chant is suffragette city, baby. It's so 1920s.

Here's what you do. First, rent a boat. Then, dress up like Indians and throw cases of Pepsi into the Potomac. Believe me, that stunt killed 'em in Boston, and no doubt in my mind it would work today.

You think USA Today wouldn't be all over that one? "Hey chief, scratch the in-depth piece on nursing home abuse, we got some kids chucking soda into a carp factory."

This kind of press, Pepsi doesn't need. It will build you its own scoreboard before the first six-pack hits the water.

All I ask in return is that you just remember your Uncle Tim in your negotiations, and maybe I can have my very own Pepsi machine in my bat cave.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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