Philadelphia Sports Fans
According to Rachel, I am now a true Philadelphia sports fan. Why? Because The ref made a HORRIBLE call at the Flyers vs Oilers game and I yelled bad words. In my defense, it was a really, truly bad call. Take a look for yourself! Even the Oiler's commentators said it was a bad call! I feel justified in my outburst at the game.
This was my first real live sporting event in Philly, and it was a Flyers game (BTW, I love hockey). Rachel said this was my chance to really see how Philly sports fans are. It was, I got to see just how these people react and treat the game.
Philadelphia fans are FANS! Over 50% of the people in attendance where wearing something with the Flyers logo on it, or another Philadelphia team's insignia. Tailgating the parking lot, people calling over to other groups and having a good time walking to the stadium was happening all around. However, there is a reason the stereotype that they hate everything is a thing...it's a little true.
When the starting lineup for the Oilers was being announced, after every name the crowd yelled "SUCKS!" I have to smile and shake my head a little, it's clever and a classic psych out technique that all players have experienced from pee-wee's to the pros and it probably doesn't work anymore. And when the players did come on the ice, the Flyers fans boo'ed. When Simmonds got called for elbowing, which was total BS and the call that I got in on the screaming and yelling, the entire stadium erupted in rage. I can't begin to explain the roar of disapproval that washed over the ice. To top it off, the hype up song that played after Simmonds was sent to the sin bin was the perfect beat for the fans to yell "REF YOU SUCK."
Philadelphia isn't all anger and spite though! They are really supportive and positive when they like you.
For example, one of the cutest things I've seen, was the Mites on Ice mini game between the 2nd and 3rd period. The little baby flyers, played a short game one the ice. All with professional commentary and the real cheers of the fans. Breakaways, tumbles and scores! All got cheers, hoots, and hollers. It didn't matter that only a few of the kids were really touching the puck, it was amazing to see grown men cheering on kids they have no relation too. After the game the kid who scored the winning goal got to be interviewed by the hype up commentator. His thoughts when he scored the last goal? "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!" We died laughing. I was proud of the kids for getting out there and showing off!
That kid's phrase also made it into the professional game chats too. Mason was shutting down shots left and right and making amazing saves, so SHUT THE FRONT DOOR was echoing around the stadium for a bit.
There was only one fight on the ice, and it seemed to come out of nowhere! One second the puck was being dropped and the next, the mitts where off and the two players were wailing on each other. The Flyer had the back up of the fans though. There was a guy a few rows away that would have jumped in to protect his player if it had been a street fight.
Something else that stood out to me was the love and respect the fans in the stands had for the anthem singer, Lauren Hart. As soon as she got on the ice, "WE LOVE YOU LAUREN!" and "YOU HAVE MY HEART LAUREN" were yelled out. They even cheered after she sung the Canadian anthem. I was honestly expecting people to boo after that...but Philly, you surprised me! And of course after each of the Flyers players where announced for the starting line up the fans cheered. You have the love in the beginning of the game, you have to work to keep it though.
In short. If you have the love of Philly fans...they LOVE YOU! But if you are a rival (sorry Crosby...) or if you have wronged them in anyway...you are dead to them. They are very vocal about it either way. So don't expect the silent treatment if you are in the doghouse, or any sort of aw-struck loss of words either. Philadelphians do not shut up, and I don't want them too.
Just for fun...here is a great song inspired by the team. ENJOY!