Let’s get this out of the way right now. I am an avid, die-hard fan of all things Philadelphia Sports.
I am proud to be from the Philadelphia area and proud of my teams I grew up with – The Flyers, Phillies, Eagles, 76ers, and more recently, the Union. It’s no secret that Philadelphia fans tend to routinely catch a lot of grief from the national media.
Every time that happens, I am typically one to defend Philadelphia fans, as a lot of times their passion comes across as being rude, disrespectful, and unruly.
With that in mind, there is no way I can possibly defend what took place during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals between the Flyers and Washington Capitals. This was supposed to be one of the most memorable nights in Flyers history. This was the night they would honor their late owner and founder Ed Snider and find a way back into the series, which they trailed 2-0.
Unfortunately, this night will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. As bad as the action on the ice was, that’s wasn’t even the worst part of the night.
It started out so well with a pre-game ceremony honoring the late Ed Snider. After a moving video tribute, light up bracelets handed out to the fans created a light show. After quite possibly the most emotional rendition of “God Bless America” that Lauren Hart has ever sung, there was a moment of silence observed for Snider.
The problem is, the moment of silence wound up being not even a second of silence thanks to a couple of idiots who decided to yell an expletive during the moment of silence. Some say it was directed towards the Capitals, some say it was directed towards the Flyers. Either way, there is no need for that regardless of who it was directed at.
So before the game even started, the moment of silence for Ed Snider was ruined by a couple of fans who couldn’t shut their mouth for sixty seconds to pay tribute to the man responsible for the team they were there to watch.
That’s a solid start…
Although the fans slowly grew disgruntled throughout the game as the Flyers horrendous effort was – despite scoring first less than a minute into the game, things really came to a head in the third period after the Flyers went down 4-1 to the Caps. Following a hit on Dmitry Orlov by the Flyers’ P.E. Bellemare, a few fans threw the bracelets handed out before the game onto the ice. They had started to throw them a little earlier, but the majority rained down on them after the Caps took a 4-1 lead.
Despite pleas from players, as well as Flyers’ PA Announcer Lou Nolan who warned those fans about a possible penalty, they continued to throw more bracelets onto the ice. Sure enough, they eventually drew a two-minute penalty for delay of game. Although the penalty hardly mattered in regards to the game (which was pretty much iced at this point), the damage was more than done.
Now let’s face facts for a second. Flyers fans are beyond justified in being mad, disgusted, and embarrassed about their team after their putrid play in a crucial Game 3, there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, what is not, never was, and never will be justified is chanting during a moment of silence (even if it’s taunting the opposing team), and delaying the game and endangering fans by hurling things to the ice. Many fans who were there tweeted about how the bracelets were not small bracelets and how it was legitimately dangerous as they were being tossed to the ice.
To be fair to the large majority of the Philadelphia fan base, it was only a very small portion of the crowd that was responsible for what took place on Monday night. Unfortunately, and this is the case every time this happens, the rest of the fan base becomes guilty by association. The fact of the matter is that every city has a few “bad apples” within their fan base.
This does not change the fact that what happened Monday night is not only THE most embarrassing moment in Flyers history, but one of the most embarrassing moments in the history of Philadelphia sports.
Thank you to that small number of fans for not being able to control yourself and behave like adults. Thank you for not having enough courtesy to shut up for one minute to pay homage to the man responsible for you being at that game. Thank you for taking a bracelet used for a visual effect and using it as a projectile to disrupt the game. And finally, thank you for adding to the stereotype of Philadelphia fans as a pack of rabid animals and ruining it for the rest of us.
As Lou Nolan sarcastically said following the delay of game penalty on the fans: “Way to go…”