Fans were allowed back on Broad Street for Sunday nights Flyers game versus the Caps. Some very lucky fans were finally able to be in the Wells Fargo Center after a year; the tickets were expensive and hard to come by; I would have given just about anything to have that chance. Alas, I was watching from home, but was still excited to know that fans would be back to see the boys in Orange and Black.
The Flyers played a great first period, taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Joel Farabee that was so sexy it needed a parental warning. The lead wouldn’t last; the Flyers would go on to lose this first game back in front of their fans, and I was angry. Not that the Flyers lost, but that they were booed by the fans that had been given the privilege to witness that game in person. I was furious; who do we think we are, as fans?
I am fiercely protective of those that I care about; I will defend them far faster than I will defend myself. I don’t let many people in, but I am also fiercely loyal to those that I love, and I love this team. I have loved this team far longer than I realized; that love came fast and the depth still scares me at times. I know they aren’t perfect, but I accept that they are giving me, and all their fans, their very best. That is enough for me.
I choose to see perfection in their imperfections, and love them even more for those imperfections. I have a hard time seeing that in myself, but when TK hits the crossbar and looks towards the heavens, I love him just as much as when he buries that puck for an overtime game winner. I believe every player on this team is giving their best. I choose to see what they have given us, not what they can’t give us. Call me crazy, call me whatever you want, but that is what love means to me.
I know there are fans that want Chuck Fletcher to trade for a big name, a star. A Sidney Crosby, a Jack Eichel. As for me, no thanks. I love this team, this group of men that aren’t perfect, but give us so much. I look back to the playoff series against the New York Islanders last year. Pretty goal boy Matt Barzal and all that talent, a stingy Isles defense made for a series the Flyers had no business winning. Granted, they didn’t win that series, but they gave us a seven game series that we didn’t deserve. They may be just men, but I choose to see them as real good men.
I choose not to remember the loss in Game 7; I choose to remember what they gave up to take that series to seven games. Claude Giroux missed his son’s first birthday; Coots and JVR missed the first precious weeks of their new daughter’s lives; weeks they will never get back. Never. Oskar Lindblom fought, and BEAT cancer to come back in that series. Every player on that team gave up their family, friends, significant others to be in that bubble, but all most Flyers fans chose to remember is the end of the series; that they Flyers looked flat. I choose to remember all they gave me, the sacrifices they made to even be there. Were they perfect? No, but for me, they gave everything they had, again for me, that is good enough.
I occasionally allow myself to get caught up in that same negativity; and I hate myself for it. Every now and then I need a reminder that while I am not perfect, I do give 100% in everything, and that is good enough. So go ahead and boo if you are lucky enough to be at that next home game; but ask yourself if you are perfect before you throw those boos out. Yes, I choose to see this team through rose (orange) colored glasses, but that is love; seeing perfection in someone that can’t see it in themselves.
I quote Kenny Chesney, perhaps too frequently, but this one fits…because I have been gone for a long time. And I ain’t gonna be back any time soon. And yes, the grammar nerd in me hates that last sentence, but I will allow it from Kenny Chesney
“She was a cut offs pepper-sauce queen
Man we were matches and gasoline
First taste of love never will forget
I was gone and I ain’t back yet
I was gone, gone and I ain’t back yet.”
-Kenny Chesney, Ain’t Back Yet
Again, boo if you want; but think about this: maybe if the Flyers had heard cheering instead of boos, they would have known that they were good enough. Maybe they would have been able to give us the comeback we wanted, the comeback we thought we deserved.
Featured Image Courtesy NHL.com