The “fight,” throwing snowballs at Santa, and changing the image of Philly fans

The 2010 NHL Winter Classic took place in Philadelphia a week ago, and the final score of the game notwithstanding, it was an overwhelming success.

Citizens Bank Park was beautiful, the weather couldn’t have been much better for an outdoor game, the action on the ice was great, and the atmosphere seemed pretty amazing.  Or at least it did from the comfort of my couch.

There was one event, however, that certainly doesn’t deserve one of those lovely little positive adjectives in front of it.

After the game, in which the visiting New York Rangers defeated the hometown Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2, a very ugly and unacceptable incident took place at a Philly staple:  Geno’s Steaks.

I won’t get into the details of the video, as I’m sure you’ve seen it by now if you had any interest in doing so.  If by chance you haven’t, basically three guys in Flyers jerseys attacked a New York fan, as well as his friend when he tried to intervene.

What did this Rangers fan do to deserve this?  From what I can tell, he actually went to an opposing city wearing a jersey and supporting his team, which happened to be a rival.  Wow, what nerve!

As a Philadelphia fan that lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, this especially bothers me.  Because of where I live, the majority of the games I attend are in opposing cities.  I’ve been to Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago to watch the Phillies, as well as Detroit to see the Flyers.  With the exception of one game I attended in St. Louis a few years back where the Phillies were beating the Cardinals handily and some fans took exception to me wearing a Chase Utley jersey and cheering for my team, I’ve never had any major incidents.  For the most part, people just want to talk to me about my team or where I’m from.  As long as people aren’t being jerks to me, I’m not jerks to them.  People have enough negative connotations about Philly fans, and I don’t need to make any more of them true.

When things like this “fight” happen, it gives the rest of the country even more ammunition to talk about the kind of horrible people they perceive Philadelphia fans to be.

Stop me if you’ve heard these before—Booing and throwing snowballs at Santa Clause, throwing batteries at JD Drew, booing Michael Irvin as he lay on the field after his career-ending neck injury, drunk guy gets in altercation with a gentleman at Phillies game and vomits on his 11-year old daughter…I’m sure the list could go on, just ask anyone from New York, LA, or basically anywhere outside the 215 area code.  They’ll surely tell you how awful the city’s fans are.

Now we get to add one more to the list:  Three cowards jumping a rival fan while a crowd watched and took videos.

As the list of reasons as to why we’re the “(Insert negative adjective here) in America,” continues to grow, so does the dislike and disrespect from the rest of the country towards the city of Philadelphia and its fans.

As Philly fans, we need to do something.  Next time you’re at a game and there’s a Penguins, Mets, Cowboys, Celtics, or any other opposing fan there, do something to change their minds for the better

Say hello.  Strike up a conversation.  Do the “manly head nod” at them in passing.  Don’t scream “Crosby Sucks!” at the first person you see with a black #87 jersey.

On second thought, scratch that last one.

But in all seriousness, please, don’t give the national media and the rest of the population even more to hang over our heads.  They’ve got enough as it is.

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