I was born and raised in Philadelphia with my father using the Flyers as my strongest real-world example for long term success and work ethic. The Flyers, as a team, are currently the second winningest franchise in the NHL since they came into the league in the 1967-68 season, behind only the mighty Montreal Canadiens. To say that I am proud supporter of this franchise is to understate how I feel about the Flyers; for me, they are more than just a team to root for. But today, my outlook on the Flyers changed drastically for the worse.
It seems Philadelphia legend and Flyers’ chairman, Ed Snider, has invited Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to drop the puck at the Wachovia Center when the Flyers open their regular season at home against the much hated New York Rangers. I can promise you who will get more boos from the blue collar Flyers fans and it wont be the team known as the Smurfs. Gone will be the good feelings of having seen the orange and black play in the Spectrum one more time and in will be the anger in the eyes of everyone that thinks that Sarah Palin might not be truly qualified to be one heartbeat away from what would be the oldest elected, cancer surviving president of the United States – assuming John McCain got elected.
There is no reason for the Flyers to muddy their reputation trying to impose the political views of their chairman onto their customers even if Sara Palin is a self proclaimed “hockey mom.” The NHL game is better entertainment than making a political statement in a losing cause. My family has been season ticket holders since 1981 and moves like this deeply damage our relationship with the team. We don’t support overturning Roe vs. Wade. We don’t approve of the gigantic budget deficits of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and W’s 24%-approval-rating son. While we strongly support our troops, we don’t support the war in Iraq and question why a Republican president can’t find (and kill) the man responsible to the 9/11 attacks on this great country. And how does the cliché go? The customer is always right.
In no way am I telling Ed Snider who to vote for (though he has lots of foreign policy experience, because he can see Mexico from his house in Santa Barbara). But when we are paying for tickets, he should keep his own views to himself and let the game speak for itself. His Flyers are better than needing hockey moms to drop the puck. The game would be sold out if Orenthal James Simpson was there to drop the puck, but I think poor O.J. is busy these days.
I hate to have to do it but I must quote Barack Obama here when I suggest that “now is the time for change,” and the change I am talking about is canceling this one-sided, needlessly political appearance by Sarah Palin at this Flyers game. And in the event it is too late to cancel this abortion of a promotional idea, then now is the time to invite Joe Biden (a Delaware native and Flyers fan) to drop the puck at the next Flyers game. Not only would this move allow for “fair and balanced” political exposure at Flyers games for each party, but it will introduce the Flyers’ team to an inspirational (eventual) winner as the Obama-Biden ticket are currently leading in the Pennsylvania polls today just as the Flyers aspire to lead the NHL’s Atlantic Division in early April of 2009.
For the record, RealClearPolitics.com lists Pennsylvania as “Strong Obama” on the electoral map and the latest polls show Obama-Biden leading in the Quaker State by 12 points in the Morning Call Tracking Poll from today, leading by 13 points by Rasmussen yesterday, leading 15 points by Survey USA yesterday and leading by15 points on October 1, 2008 when polled by Quinnipiac. In the end, would be best for the Flyers to do like McCain and Palin and pull out of the appearance as the hockey mom and war hawk did with their failing Michigan campaign and let hockey be hockey. The NHL game is so good that we the fans don’t need to let personal political beliefs sully the fine reputation of a great franchise. We can vote on our opinions in about a month, hopefully, with the Flyers solidly in first place.