A simple, large smile.
The most disarming smile in the world, full of love and teeth. Warmness swept forth rather easily from it. People nearby basked in it.
Friendliness flowed from that smile, bringing with it a sense of community.
Whether or not one truly knew Eric Shertz as a friend, his impact upon one’s experience at a Philadelphia Union game was immense.
His influence in games was second to that of his pre and post-game efforts.
Tailgates were not the same without the presence of Shertz, a man who could brighten the room, a fenced in area or a concrete jungle next to an abandoned warehouse with a laugh.
He was a person who was earnest in every interaction he undertook with another human being, from what I could see.
Shertz was also one of the first people I distinctly remember meeting. I suspect it was during my first foray into a Sons of Ben tailgate. If anything, Shertz was at the entrance or close to it, as he always seemed to be when I arrived at tailgates.
A beaming smile would welcome me as I approached the festivities, followed by a friendly hello. Sometimes we’d chat, sometimes we wouldn’t go beyond that greeting.
I knew, however, that at some point that day he’d have time to discuss the game, the team, life or just simply stand around for a beer and a smile.
The beauty of knowing Shertz, at least for me, was that you knew you were getting the opportunity to be around someone who was constantly providing joy unto others.
Looking back on the past four years, it seems as though his smile guided the entirety of an outing at PPL Park, no matter the attitudes of fans based on the end result of a game.
His passing left me with a heavy heart and a sad mind. I love the relationships I’ve built with various people I have met since my original appearance at a game in 2010, but there are certain people who stand out more than others.
Shertz was, and will forever be, one of those special people.