There’s a moment in the latest blockbuster “The Avengers” that I think we all in Philly can all relate to.
We all know the story of Bruce Banner, brilliant scientist, who played with Gamma rays and turns into a green monster when angry. He has been able to keep “The Other Guy” in check and when asked his secret, he continually deflects the question.
Later, as a large serpentine behemoth heads for the heroes, the nerdy scientist walks towards it. His cohorts tell him he needs to get angry and as he turns to face the enemy, he finally reveals the secret of keeping the Hulk from taking over:
“I’m angry all of the time”
And right there, in just a few words, Bruce Banner summed up what it’s like to be a Flyers (and Philly sports) fan.
This is generally the time of year, when the Faithful ask ourselves, “Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?” . It’s a simple question yet the answer requires a Freudian analysis to respond.
Would it be worse to suffer along with a team that is terrible for nine years but wins a Cup on the 10th, only to be terrible again for another decade? Is it too much to ask for a team of Pittsburghian or Red Wingian fortitude, that will rain down Lord Stanleys at will?
No, we are forever tied to a team that will be good enough to give us a wild ride almost every year, but will inevitably fall short. A team that will generate enough anger, to keep the passion alive.
Alive. That’s what I feel while living with my team, even if it means sometimes dying with them.
It’s this seed of anger, that gives Philly fans our reputation, be it positive or negative. Without it, who are we really? For better or for worse, we have embraced the anger and have harnessed it into an intense love for our teams. Ask any of our pro athletes and they can tell you that while it may not always be pleasant, they will always know where they stand.
As a baker by trade, the many scars and burns on my arms and hands are known as “stripes” and I’ve earned every one of them. It strikes me as coincidental that Ilya Bryzgalov has a tiger on his mask. It would seems that we may have burned a few “stripes” into him this year and while he doesn’t seem to yet appreciate it, I feel that he will learn to respect his battle scars and he will become the player we need him to be. He just needs to get Angry instead of hurt.
So as the Flyers season is over, and I transfer my anger from them into the Phillies, I keep the same eye on how the NHL playoffs finish up as someone keeps on their exes’ new relationship. That is to say, I will outwardly say I don’t care and don’t want to see it, but you can bet I’m watching the results with an envious interest. It’s enough to make one really angry.
And you may not like me when I’m Angry…