What Makes Philadelphia Fans Great.

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Philadelphia

Recently at an autograph session, Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, when replying to a fan asking about his poor performance, was quoted as saying to the fan “you care too much”. He was also joking about fans in Winnepeg chanting his name (a common practice of fans in an attempt to get inside the opposing goaltender’s head) during last night’s Flyers game against the Jets.. “It was nice to hear cheering ‘Ilya, Ilya. I never heard that before anywhere. When 15,000 people support you, it’s a great present.” he said”Just like Philly, huh?” he was asked. “No, here there is cheering”, he replied. “In Philly they boo me”

Now, I am not one to jump to conclusions (and an argument can be made about the context in which he said that). I have nothing against Ilya Bryzgalov, I was happy that the Flyers signed him in the offseason, and I understand he was making a joke about Flyers fans booing him when talking about the Winnepeg fans. 

However, there is something that I hope Ilya fully understands about Philadelphia fans (and if he doesn’t the sooner he fully understands it, the better playing in Philadelphia will be for him).

There is a reason he has sometimes been booed by Flyers fans this season. He has not been playing the way that Flyers fans had expected an established all-star goaltender like Bryzgalov to play when the Flyers signed him this off season to a five year $51 million contract.

All of my bias aside, Philadelphia has some of the most passionate fans in the country. And that does not just apply to the Flyers, they love all of their sports teams and expect nothing but the best year in and year out. That is one thing that any athlete playing in Philadelphia loves about playing here, perhaps more than anything else: The Philadelphia fans.

It is those same players that understand that when they are mercifully booed out of the arena/stadium/ballpark, it is because us fans want to see them play the best that they can and win. When that is not happening, us fans are almost always the first ones to let the players know that they need to step up their game. Those players relish and embrace heir time in Philadelphia, and in turn, have some of their best years of their career while playing here.

That is what makes us Philadelphia fans great. We have a passion for sports that is unlike most other cities. We stick with our teams win or lose. When the Flyers/Eagles/Phillies/76ers win, we sell out game after game and embrace and enjoy it. When they are losing, we still sell out game after game and support our teams, while letting them know loud and clear that whatever they are doing now is not good enough and they need to play better.

It has been said that the boos in Philadelphia are some of the loudest in all of sports. (Those boos are usually directed at opposing players, especially players on a rival team). It is not uncommon for those infamously loud boos to be directed at our own players. That is our way of letting our teams know that they need to play better.

Once players fully understand the method to our madness, they enjoy playing here more and more each game. And frankly, there is not a thing I would change about Philadelphia fans, and their sports (except, of course, the lack of championships).


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