Philadelphia’s desperation for a Stanley Cup came into poignant focus on the 57th Street Beach in Sea Isle last week — and 58th, 59th and 60th Streets, too — when more than a thousand people turned out for a truly bizarre event. These championship-starved fans waited in long lines to inspect a symbol of the Flyers’ futility.
The Cup was last claimed by our hockey team 39 years ago, but several former Flyers — Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams, to name three — have won it twice since changing coasts three seasons ago. And then there is the dullest man in professional sports, John Stevens, the ex-Flyers coach who has also found success as an assistant in L.A.
It was Stevens’ day to display the Cup last week, and he chose a venue that I was certain would lead to humiliation. Why would any local hockey fan want to revel in another team’s success? I openly mocked the notion of Stevens flaunting his conquest in Flyers’ country, both on these pages last week and on my radio show. In the end, the only one with a red face was me.
What that crowd proved was just how painful the drought has been. Flyers fans deserve to experience the same thrill Stevens and Carter and Richards and Williams just had. They shouldn’t have to settle for a fleeting glimpse of somebody else’s trophy.
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As for me, well, I got exactly what I deserved by misreading the situation. My own wife took a photo of the long lines on the beach and tweeted it out to the world. She offered video proof of something she already knew. She married an idiot.