Everyone who plays a sport as a kid dreams of playing under the spotlight someday. Usually, you have this dream of playing for your favorite team in your favorite city. You have that dream of sinking the three pointer to win the NBA Championship, hitting the walk off home run to clinch the World Series, catching or throwing that last second touchdown in the Super Bowl, or scoring an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Some people want to play in a city that is glamorous. Miami has the hot beaches. LA and NY have the glitz and celebs. Boston and Chicago have the hard core franchise bases. And this is where Philadelphia comes in.
Playing for any of the big four teams (Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers) is a big deal. First of all, to be able to play any professional sport at the top level is impressive. We as fans take that lightly, but even the guy who gets just one assist in 200 NHL games or bats .087 for a season in the MLB is going to do lightyears better than any of us couch potatoes. Let's be honest.
However, there is a special privilege in playing in Philly. Some of the most beloved athletes in the city's history know this. They know if you work hard and play hard, you can become a fan favorite legend and be forever remembered by a rabid, faithful fanbase.
“That’s what I think most guys miss. I really don’t think this is a hard place to play, to be honest with you. I think a hard place to play … I think it would be miserable to play in a place like Jacksonville, where nobody cares.” ---- Jason Kelce
"You hear players, media people, say that it's tough to play in Philly in front of these fans, to those people I say: you didn't have the guts to succeed here!" --- John Kruk
In fact, one of the players that us Flyer fans repeatedly booed, celebrated us.
That's Matt frickin Barnaby! I've written before about how he would've loved to play here. I'll be honest, it changed my opinions on him big time. He may still have been a jerk as an opponant, but if he says he wished he could've played for us, I'll take it.
Which brings us to Cutter Gauthier. There are lots and lots of rumors going around about why he isn't here. I'm not going to get into those. It's all just speculation. But where there is smoke, there is sometimes fire.
However, it is a shame that he didn't give Philly a chance. He could've been somebody here. Now, he's just gonna be a JD Drew level pariah. He's gonna be a magnet for the boo birds every time he touches the ice. He's gonna be a distraction for the other team every time they enter the Wells Fargo Center. He's going to be a great villain for years to come. Heck, he may displace Sidney Crosby as the visiting player Flyers fans hate the most!
And that's on him. Some guys don't get what it means to be a Philly athlete until it is too late. It took a while before Eric Lindros could come back. Same with other guys like, Charles Barkley. Terrell Owens....probably not happening anytime soon.
Right now, the Flyers have 20 something players on the roster that want to give it their all to be on that ice and perform for us. Let's rally around them instead of the one who doesn't want the privilege of playing here. He doesn't want that honor...Fine! He doesn't have to have it. We'll do just fine without him with players who proudly want to be Flyers!
Jamie Drysdale said after he was traded, he received a lot of texts from teammates as well as people from around the NHL who were congratulating him on going to Philly. In an interview he talked about hearing nothing but great things about the organization. You know what....this is the kind of guy we need here: someone who is excited to be in Philly. Welcome to Philly Jamie!