Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Rangers and Flyers Fan All at the Same Time

Growing up, we were Rangers fans. My dad had season tickets in the yellow section of Madison Square Garden.  My grandparents lived on the same street as one of the Rangers and had a neighborly friendship with him.  My dad also had a college friend from Canada, a country where hockey is practically a birthright and is called Hockey Night in Canada.  Let's say it was ingrained from early on.

My brother, the Rangers fan and hockey player himself , with my sister Reba.  Early 1980s.

I went to two games during my childhood since my dad only had two seats and the "real" hockey fan (i.e. my brother) in the family had priority on the extra.  Those were good games.  Thanks for bringing me, dad!

Thank you to my brother who saved this stub my from dad's yellow seats.  It was a tie, Rangers Islanders 2-2 in overtime

Early on I learned the French-Canadian hockey phrase "slap de puck" and the Rangers' cheer "Potvin Sucks."  This not-so-nice taunt originated when Islander Denis Potvin collided with Ranger Ulf Nilsson in a 1979 game, causing a broken ankle and shortening of Nilsson's hockey career.  This incident occurred around the same time Potvin's wife came forward with allegations of abuse, so the rowdy, obnoxious Rangers fans really ate it up whether or not it was proven in court.  It is interesting that the previously-referenced NY Times article alludes to "Potvin Sucks" as an "uglier version" without getting into the discussion if it was true.  I do not know the truth and have no access to court documents.  Yet, the cheer is  a part of Rangers history and is worth knowing about, even if it is considered to be very rude to chant it at the Garden, or really anywhere for that matter.

Keep in mind I don't watch hockey anymore.  It was more of an osmosis experience:  it was on tv as a young girl, so I watched it.  No turning the channel the shows I wanted.

Now I live in Philadephia, and I want to be a Flyers fan without giving up my Rangers connection.
There is no way we will start rooting for the Phillies or Eagles, so at least we can go with hockey and develop some local loyalty.

Here are the things I know about hockey:

I have heard of Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux and Brian Leetch and of course Wayne Gretzky.
For a while, I had a Bobby Orr hockey card in my dresser (that's what ya get for having an older brother who played and loved hockey).
I know about power plays.
I know about the penalty box.
I know about slap shots.
I know that Rangers fans love the fights.  Isn't that part of the game?
I know that 1 and 30 are traditional goalie numbers.
I know about the Bauer hockey gear company.
I know that NHL players prior to 1980something didn't have to wear helmets.

But I don't really know about hockey.

Here are the things I now know about the Flyers:

I learned that there is Rangers-Flyers rivalry.  (And all these years I thought it was just with the Islanders!)
I learned about the Winter Classic.
In the mid-90s I saw a Phish concert in the Philly Spectrum, where the Flyers played.
That's about all the Flyers knowledge I have.

And yet,

I have long been attracted to the Flyers logo.
How could this be if we were Rangers fans?
Maybe because black and orange were my high school colors.
Maybe because it is aesthetically pleasing, and good design speaks to me.
Maybe because, compared with the newer hockey teams, it is old school and I remember seeing it as a young girl and liking it.

My friend Adam at a Flyers game this season

Can't I be fans of both?

A couple of years ago I noticed people at Phish concerts at Madison Square Garden wearing Flyers gear, more so than Islanders or Rangers, which would be more appropriate for being in a New York venue.  I thought, "Wow, these music fans not only have the same great taste in current rock-n-roll as me but they like the same great NHL logo, too!  What are the chances!"  Oh, Rachel how innocent and uneducated you were!

My sister Reba told me that Trey, the lead guitarist, is a Flyers fan, and there has been a lot of talk in the past about his connection to the team. A lot of those folks were wearing it in allegiance to Trey's preference.  Poseurs!

Stanley Cup playoffs begin in about a month.
It's time to slap de puck.