Brotherly Shove: A Sabres fan visits Philadelphia
I wish I could’ve gotten to this earlier, but for posterity, better late than never.
This past weekend, I headed to Philadelphia for Game 2 against the Flyers. I caught a flight out of Nashville and a few buddies from Buffalo made the drive out Saturday morning. (For the record, my total traveling to Sabres games this season has broken 8,000 miles. Where’s my 7th Man award?) After biding time at a local bar until my friends arrived, we headed towards the arena.
So, we walk over, I drop my stuff in their car, and I get one of the guys to take a picture of me in front of the arena, which I try to do at each road game. The rain kinda limited the tailgating efforts, so I figured the hostility would be limited until we got inside. As we took the picture, a Flyers fan drinking in his car with his buddies about 40 feet away rolls down the window and yells “I hope your fucking camera gets ruined, you fucking faggot!”
Very classy. Despite that, overall, I was expecting it to be even worse.
For the most part, the people around us were cool. I had some good conversations with the inebriated gentleman next to me, who seemed only hostile towards Jeff Carter. But there were a good amount of assholes to be found.
Taking advice from a friend who grew up around Philadelphia, the effort was made to “sit there and take it like a bitch.” As an experienced road fan, you’ll always avoid conflict if you make the effort to avoid it. We got seats near the top of our section, under the So, as the one moron behind us wouldn’t shut up the whole game about my friend’s Martin Biron jersey (“He hasn’t been on your team in ten years! Get a new jersey!”) was ignored, it took mental toughness not tell the dickhole that a) it was four years ago and b) he was wearing a Ron Hextall jersey, so he had no room to talk. But we all knew better than to incite conflict.
I get the feeling that these people feel obligated to be obnoxious assholes. The sad part was, almost every jackass who was talking shit was a male between the ages of 25-45. These were grown men, who often chose the homophobic route in making the visitors feel unwelcome. It’s like a pride of hostility. Hell, when the team rallying cry is “Seek and Destroy”, what do you expect?
The game was a complete mess and included possibly the most entertaining first period of hockey I’d ever seen live. The teams locked it down and it was tight the rest of the way. It was a very even game, and it took a puck off of a skate to decide it. I would’ve feared for my safety walking out of that arena if the Sabres had won, but I’d take that over having to take shit from all those people like we did.
It was my first visit to Philadelphia, and overall, I got the same vibe from the city as I did in Boston. A cool city, some neat history, but the people for the most part were obnoxious, arrogant assholes.
All the things people say about Philly fans is a deserved reputation. If they wanna take pride in that, go for it. They’re still a bunch of dickheads.