Like most people from the Philadelphia area, I am a sports fan. Sports are a lot like religion if you’re from here. The ritual of getting together with friends to eat, drink, and yell at a TV screen or live sporting event is sacrosanct. I’m not saying that the Philly teams or their players are the be all/end all of our existences, but they are very, very important.
Although many of us wouldn’t admit it, I think the motivating factor in our shared sports obsessions have more to do with the Us vs. Them mentality. Nobody does “Fuck You” like Philadelphia, and we relish that capability. Really, it’s all we have. Regardless of the scores or standings our perennially underachieving teams deliver, we have been the reigning champions of the Super Bowl of Hate since the Declaration of Independence was signed, and we are often inclined to treat outsiders accordingly.
As much as we and the Philly-area media try to downplay the situations where drunken 700-level shenanigans turn into the abject terrorization of fans from out of town, I think we secretly enjoy, cultivate, and exaggerate that image as much as possible.
Upon the eve of their first visit to one of our stadiums, I have been repeatedly asked by fans of non-Philadelphia teams how to dress, or act, or whether to attend a sporting event at all. My usual response goes something like this:
“Under no circumstances should you dress in your team’s apparel, cheer if your team scores, look at or speak directly to any fans wearing our colors, or appear to be enjoying the game at all. It is of the utmost importance to constantly remember that you are there at the pleasure of an easily angered, callous, hyper-drunken hivemind, and BAD THINGS happen to those who foolishly taunt such a malevolent beast.” Or some approximation thereof.
I’m not implying that this is a factual depiction of reality at a Philly sporting event. Quite the contrary. With the advent of exorbitant corporate backing of professional sports teams, camera phones capable of uploading directly to YouTube, and a well prepared and experienced security staff, it is extremely uncommon for any truly vile acts to go unnoticed or unpunished. You’re probably just as safe in one of the stadiums as you would be in any other public place. But we like to keep opposing fans guessing as to whether a normally inoffensive fist-pump or high five will result in the rape and murder [and not necessarily in that order] of them and their friends and/or family in attendance.
This introduction is supposed to help you understand the following story:
Bobby Orr and The Space/Time Rapedick
I regularly get together with a group of people to watch sporting events at the house of one of my best friends; a bachelor with a nice-sized living room, a taste for good beer, booze, and food, a high def projector, and an extremely tolerant marijuana policy in his house, even though he doesn’t smoke. I’ll call him Dick to protect his innocence, and because dicks are his favorite thing.
We’re usually at Dick’s for Eagles games on Sunday, but in this instance, we were watching the Flyers versus the Boston Bruins in the 2010 conference semi-finals. If you don’t know the history, the Flyers had spotted the Bruins a three games to none lead in the series. Facing elimination, they won a crucial game four in overtime at home and were headed to Boston for game five.
The night of game five, after what was likely three or four joints, we were watching the pregame festivities going on outside the Ignorant Southie Fuckwit Arena [or whatever-the-fuck those inbred, vowel massacring, Beantown massholes call it]. They were unveiling a statue of Bobby Orr to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his Stanley Cup-winning goal against the St. Louis Blues; the only time in history that anyone in Boston had done anything worthy of merit.
Being the relentless optimists we are, the general consensus in Dick’s living room was that the Flyers would contravene common sense and most of sporting history, win game five, and go on to win the series in seven games. However, to me, just winning the series wasn’t enough. My thought was that in order to have a proper and fully-realized victory against Boston, we would have to go back through time, raping and denigrating every Bruins fan and player throughout history. Especially Bobby Orr.
To accomplish this task, we would need something that could disturb temporal space and defile everything Bruins fans held dear. In a pot-inspired “Eureka!” moment, I envisioned the “Space/Time Rapedick”. Something that could go back and befoul all of the moments of joy and triumph Bruins fans had experienced through the years. It would extend all the way back to and through May 10th, 1970, the date of Bobby Orr’s game-winner. This would affect the space/time continuum so that the statue would now be modified to include the repugnant, corrupting timecock, impaling Bobby Orr like a pig on a spit made of dick for all eternity.
What the rapedick really indicates, other than my deep-seated emotional problems, is a weapons-grade FUCK YOU to anything and everything relating to opposing teams and their rich histories and fan bases. I’m sure you’re aware that as sports fans, we are a long-suffering people. Championship teams are extremely hard to come by in Philadelphia. Of course, when life gives you lemons, you convert them to some sort of airborne poison and deploy it in a highly populated area.
Anyway, the Flyers went on to win that series in seven games. During those remaining games, “Space/Time Rapedick…clap clap clapclapclap” became our rallying cry and incantation to bring about the Bruins’ failure. It was used extensively during the most delicious, cherry-on-top game seven win wherein the Flyers allowed three first period goals, only to come back to tie the game and finally win on a power play goal halfway through the third period. I still masturbate to the thought of the extreme elation of the Bruins fans when their team took a can’t-possibly-lose, three goal lead, contrasted by their despondent wailing when the final buzzer sounded on their season ending 4-3 loss.
Sure, the Flyers lost to Chicago in the finals, and the following year were swept by the very same Bruins team on their way to a Stanley Cup. But for one brief moment it was the best thing any of us had ever witnessed in Dick’s living room. To this day, we still use the chant when we need a break from wishing career-ending injuries or AIDS on opposing teams’ players and coaches.
My hope, as unrealistic as it might be, is to someday hear the sound of “SPACE-TIME-RAPE-DICK” reverberating off of the walls of the [Despicable Scumbag Bank] Center instead of “LET’S GO FLY-ERS”. I mean, come on…it has the right amount of syllables and rolls off the tongue easily. That would be totally sweet.
One can dream, right?