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Extra, Extra! Palin Gets Booed in Philadelphia
Palin Gets Booed in Philly! This is sure to be the headline splashed across television and newspapers Sunday morning, the day after the Republican Vice Presidential candidate and hockey mom from Alaska drops the puck at the ceremonial face-off for the Philadelphia Flyers’ home opener on Saturday night at the soon-to-need-a-name-change Wachovia Center. What will be missing from the news: the jeers were deserved.
As every sports fan knows, no one is safe in front of Philadelphia fansâ€”they have never needed a reason to boo anyone in their ballpark, stadium or arena. As usual though, the boring chorus of media scrutiny will chalk the behavior up to the stereotypically described obnoxious Philly fans. This time, especially, they will be wrong.
To preface, as a Philadelphia sports fan, I have never condoned or participated in my fellow fans’ questionable behavior. Rather, I have felt, especially in this age of rising ticket prices and the cityâ€™s championship drought, there is something sacred between a paying fan and his/her right to reasonably react to events on the field or ice.
Unlike the savages in other cities who riot in the streets (Colorado Avalanche fans after their 2001 Stanley Cup victory), hurl weapons at opposing players (a hunting knife was thrown by a defeated Yankees fan at Angelsâ€™ Wally Joyner in 1986), and partake in random senseless acts of violence (this past summer a Red Sox fan beat a man sitting in his car with his family after a night of fireworks on Cape Cod for simply displaying a New York State license plate), Philly fansâ€™ deafening loud juvenile shouts seem tame. Santa Claus, Mike Schmidt, the great third baseman and former Philadelphia Philly, and Michael Irvin, the former Dallas Cowboy, successfully walked away from Philly fansâ€™ taunts. I hope that will be the case for Palin.
If it is not, she has partly herself to blame. During her last visit to Philadelphia during the weekend of September 27, 2008, she made two huge blunders that did not go unnoticed by Philadelphians. The first, as reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer last Sunday, October 5, 2008, is that she actually attempted to leave her hotel for a jog wearing a New York Rangers’ jersey. The second, in response to the first, is that she displayed how little she knows about hockey and sports, to one of sportsâ€™ most passionate fan bases. No hockey fan in their right mind would show up in Philadelphia wearing a jersey of a New York team, or vice-versa, without expecting some sort of fight to ensue.
Certainly trouble was not on Palinâ€™s mind. So it begs the question: is Palin really the hockey fan she says she is? The answer has nothing to do with whether or not she can adequately serve the office of the Vice President.
What I question is her integrity and her word, and those things matter in a city of hard-working people facing real struggles as I wrote about in this space before. Fortunately a very kind couple in Philly gear riding the elevator with Palin informed her she could not be seen dressed like that and the woman gave Palin her Eagles’ jersey. Unfortunately for Palin, this story came out around the time it was announced she would be dropping the puck at the Flyerâ€™s home openerâ€”against their bitter rivals, the New York Rangers.
(I will only mention incidentally that Palin can also expect boos by those who vehemently disagree with anyone outside of Philadelphia invoking Rocky, as she did when she used the movie theme song as she entered into her wrap-up party after her Vice Presidential debate. Just like I noted when Hillary Clinton did this, Palin was off base. What is worse is that she did it in the face of her opponent, Philly metro boy, Joe Biden.)
The other one who will bear responsibility for any fan misconduct is Ed Snider, the Chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers. He announced this event for Palin, and while he claims it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the Flyers â€œUltimate Hockey Momâ€