Bill Lyon on the Spectrum

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The Spectrum, on flickr.com, by Cavalier92, via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives License
Bill Lyon returns to print with another column for the Philadelphia Inquirer today, reminiscing about the Spectrum, which is scheduled to be demolished in 2009.

There’s something sad about losing the Spectrum, as iconic as any featureless, parking-lot-bound arena could be, and with his usual grace, Bill Lyon captures the emotions involved with this significant piece of Philadelphia’s psychic architecture. The “boo birds” might have roosted in the Vet (and now perch in the Linc), but Flyers fans had their own ways of celebrating, and berating, their heroes at the Spectrum:

When a Philadelphia team was playing, you could stand out in the parking lot and the crowd noise would tell you how the home team was faring—if they were winning, the passion was as raw and bone-deep as a January night, an unrelenting, urging surge of support.

And if they were losing . . . ah, well, then it was a mournful wail, so haunting that wolf packs a thousand miles away lifted their muzzles to the heavens and bayed at the moon in sympathetic reply.

In the end, I guess it is just an old building lacking in amenities sitting on valuable land, but they can’t raze the memories.

(Image courtesy of Cavalier92 via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derviatives License.)

Bill Lyon on the Flyers

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Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer plays host to a great column by the retired Bill Lyon on the current second round NHL playoff series between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens.

It’s not excessively objective, but neither is it a “homer” screed; it’s just a very good piece of hockey journalism that manages to recap last night’s game with style:

Goalies are not fair game, no matter how far they roam. But Downie cannot resist. He aims for the goalie’s legs and, using his stick like an oversized spatula, he flips Price. The Canadiens take outraged exception, and the Flyers must retaliate, of course, so soon the ice is littered with gloves and sticks, and unkind things are being said about ancestry. The population of the penalty box goes up by four.

Orange Out, on flickr.com, by MattP33, via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike License
Perhaps I’d like the column less if I were a fan of Les Habitants, but I hope not. It’s simply good sports writing, so rare these days and rarer still since Lyon’s retirement a few years back.

(Image courtesy of MattP33 via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike License.)

In Defense of Flyers Fans

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Freddy the Flyer
I am a Philadelphia Flyers fan.

Am I going to throw my expensive arena beer on you when your team scores a goal? Am I going to heckle you because of the name on the back of your jersey? Am I going to spew profanities for three periods and two intermissions, including choice comments about the mental status of the Mighty Mites playing hockey before the Zamboni comes out? Am I somewhere between a camp follower of Genghis Khan and an oarsman on a Viking longboat on the civility scale?

To judge by the perceived reception that Flyers fans have on hockey blogs and forums, the answer has to be a resounding “Yes!”:

We all know we do… Who else hates flyers fans. They are loud, annoying, rude and just disgusting. […]

I’ve always thought they were annoying, but the game they had today was awful, lucky me, i was sitting between a bunch of them spilling beer all over the floors and being really rude to other people, they were all screaming at people 5 rows above, banging the glass etc…. maybe I always just get bad impressions of them. But so far every single time I see them they drive me nuts. […]

I hate the Flyers and their fans. Their fans are fat ugly idiots who know nothing about hockey.
(“Who else hates them?“)

Or, from this past Sunday, in the comments of Tarik El-Bashir’s solid Capitals Insider blog on washingtonpost.com, courtesy of “Jill”:

Oh, how I loathe the Flyers and their fans. I hope very few of their fans are in our house for Games 1 and 2, but I just know they will find a way to get their greasy little paws on our tickets. Let’s just hope our boys can shut down the Broad Street Thugs.

And “TimDz”:

Flyer fans are the worst. I was at the old Cap Centre years ago and was taking a leak with my Cap’s hat on (backwards). A Flyer fan knocked it off and made a nasty comment about my choice of teams…
So I did what any good Cap fan would do: I turned from my urinal and completed my business on his shoes. He took a swing at me, drunk as he was, but missed and hit the wall…I pushed him back and left him to defend himself against all my Cap’s breathren…the cops came in and took him out in cuffs…I blew him a kiss as he was lead out.
(“Caps to Host Flyers (Updated)“)

Lovely. But how accurate a depiction of the typical Flyers fan is this rather boorish portrait?
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