Every stadium/arena experience is different. The vendors sell local flavors, the sight lines are different, the music is tuned to whatever is popular, and crowds have their unique chants/songs. A few teams in the NHL have a mascot, while some fanbases have a fan that stands out, whom everybody knows. In Philadelphia, it’s the dancing guy.
His name is Shawn Hill, he’s large, and he wears that bright orange sweater to every game; you cannot miss him. Often times he recycles old moves, sometimes he breaks out new moves, but at all times, he’s full of energy and entertainment. Old timers always talk about the days when you didn’t need fancy scoreboards and loud music to pump the crowd up. People were excited for the game, and that got them going. Dancing Guy, I think, is a cross between the old and the new.
First, the new, because it’s more simple. He comes on the big screen normally at some point in the middle of the third period. When the Flyers are up, he’s purely there for entertainment value. When we’re tied, or down, he gets the crowd psyched up, helping us give the team a boost. This is part of the new, because it’s sort of a gimmick that energizes the crowd. This isn’t what’s special though. What’s special is the old school aspect of Dancing Guy.
Think back to Gladiator or A Knights Tale. Both movies are centered around organized combat, with a large crowd. Hollywood drama aside, the director’s tried to have some level of realism to reflect those time periods. One of the major details, was that there was a speaker that announced the combatants, glorified them, and got the crowd pumped. Dancing guy serves that same purpose for us. As far as I know, he’s not a marketing tool thought up by the Flyers marketing team. He’s a regular guy, one of us, that was discovered by chance. He doesn’t do it with poetry or speech, he does it with physical expression. And fans, he does it for you.
Dancing Guy, we thank you!
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