Often in writing, we’re trying to convince you to agree with a position we are taking. We use stats and research to influence you into believing that we are right. This isn’t that that kind of piece. I’m not writing this to change your mind. I’m writing it to change mine.
Several emotions overwhelmed me after seeing that the Flyers defeated the Detroit Red Wings last night 3-2 in Carter Hart’s NHL debut:
- Surprised: the Flyers won a close game where they never trailed.
- Happy: the most important piece of the Flyers future had a win in his debut.
After a great win? After Hart became the youngest goalie in team history to win a game? This wasn’t fair. Had Philadelphia sports fandom classically conditioned me to the point that I couldn’t enjoy what could be a potential milestone and turning point for the city’s longest championship-less franchise.
“We can’t have nice things”, “Imagine enjoying a sport in Philadelphia”, and “We sold our soul for a Super Bowl” are just a few of the most common phrases to deal with what is seemingly the inevitable despair paired with every Philadelphia sporting event. We often think “What will go wrong next?” rather than “When’s the next parade?”
So why was I angry?
You see, the majority of fans and I deemed this a panic move by an organization that is in utter turmoil. It’s easier to say something won’t work than it will. If you’re right, you’re brilliant. If you’re wrong, who cares? Something good is happening and we’re too busy celebrating to harass the naysayers. Everyone who doubted Joel Embiid would ever play hasn’t been banned from basking in his greatness. They still get to sit among us at The Center as he drops 30 and 20. When Carson Wentz runs out of the tunnel at next year’s Eagles home opener while Nick Foles is in Oakland (you heard it here first), his doubters will still be in midnight green. So even after Hart’s impressive debut, I couldn’t get past my own take.
A call to action
We need to change this. The punishment of being hopeful has forced me into a corner where it’s so comfortable to be hopeless. I huddled with my masses with comfort in unity and conformity as we sang the chorus of “He needs more time. Develop him more. Rabble rabble rabble.” as if any of us are any kind of expert on the matter. You can find several hundred cases in history to support whatever narrative you want to believe.
So here I am, ready to volunteer as tribute. I’d like to revoke my take. How brave, right? The reality here is every situation is a unique one and it’s time to take joy in the idea of hope. It’s the holidays, damn it; we SHOULD be full of hope and joy. If there is a team in need of a true Christmas miracle, it clearly is the Flyers. New coach, new goalie, and thus a new timeline are all reasons to get excited, not cautious.
So as the holidays approach, let’s eat, drink, and be merry! Let’s cheer our team, believe in our players, and wish nothing but the best to the most cherished goalie prospect we’ve had in my lifetime. Don’t let the fear of public backlash keep you from enjoying this moment.