By: Joe Gallagher
Hello, Flyers “fans” (that is if you really are one.) I’m Joe Gallagher. I‘m what some may call a bandwagon fan. (Gasp!) I’m not sure if that is a valid generalization. I mean, I do watch roughly 5 regular games a season and always, always (oh wait thanks, 2007) watch the playoff games. Now, whether or not I am a bandwagon fan I suppose is for you to judge. Do I have an unparalleled understanding hockey? No. Do I end every phrase with, “eh?” No. Do I know how icing works? Sort of. Do I have a John LeClair jersey? Yes, but so many of us do. Look, I just love watching playoff hockey. The thrill, the hits, the desperation — they all do it for me. No, I do not live and die with the Flyers game in and game out. But yes, I want them to destroy the Blackhawks. Why? I want the celebration that this city deserves. I want to be a part of something special. Is that too much to ask?
Look, I know what you Flyers lifers are going through. I have been and always will be a Phillies fan. I live and die with them. When they lost the Series last year it hurt. When they won in 2008, I rejoiced like never before. Sure, it’s frustrating seeing people who really didn’t give a damn about them from ‘94 to ‘07 suddenly become their biggest supporters. Heck I used to be able to go to games, grab a couple of dogs, and enjoy some pretty crappy baseball by the likes of Desi Relaford, Rico Brogna, and Turk Wendell — all for like 10 bucks. Now I have to wait for standing room only to open up just to stay within 15 dollars of my old expenses (sans Desi Relaford, Rico Brogna, and Turk Wendell!). The same goes for Villanova basketball. I’ve always been a big fan. I remember watching Gary Buchanan, Michael Bradley, and Derrick Snowden play second, third, or even fourth fiddle in the Big Five to players like Lynn Greer, Jameer Nelson, and Delonte West. Now, I can’t even get into a game at my beloved Pavilion. Instead I’m forced to watch a game here and there at the college hoops death trap of the Wachovia Center. As I gripe about this more and more though, suddenly I realize something: what am I whining about? My teams are winning. There is an excitement surrounding every move they make. The city has embraced them. Seven years ago, there was nothing I wanted more.
So, “real” Flyers fans I urge you: do not gripe about the “curses” of success. Let’s put it this way: how many Flyers are complaining that there are too many people in the city supporting them? None! These “fake” fans are only helping. This whole ordeal has made me realize something that I hope you understand: those people griping about bandwagoners are treading very close to hypocrisy. What real fan doesn’t want his team to be successful, supported, and beloved? Phinally, I’d like to set up one final, real life scenario. The Phillies World Series parade had 5 million people in attendance. Now, I am willing to bet that there are not 5 million people in the city who live and die by the Phils. But you what, there were 5 million people who showed up and made that day one of the most special I can remember. So, to the haters: quit posting on your Facebooks “OMG I like h8 those bandwagoners!!!” and just embrace the moment – otherwise it’ll Fly right on by. And to you “bandwagoners:” forget the haters, you guys are what make championship seasons special. Keep supporting the guys, our guys and let’s help bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.
You stay gritty Philly, I’m Joe Gallagher.