A rant about double standards and the Philly reputation

P-I-T-T-S-B-U-R-G-H.

If there's one thing that gets under my skin more than anything, it's the belief that the stuff the Philadelphia sports scene is notorious for -- the fighting in the stands, the dumping beer on opposing fans, the asshole chants, etc. -- doesn't happen anywhere else.

Philadelphia, as we all know, has become the spitting ground for the rest of the nation's sports fans, and as a result, it seems there's this belief out there that we're the only ones who get in drunk fights and yell at opposing fans who invade our stadia.  

We're used to all of this. Most of us are probably even over it by now and we're pretty resigned to the fact that it won't ever stop. It'll happen until we're all dead, but that doesn't mean that we can't call people on their ridiculous double standards when it does. 

I generally enjoy reading On Frozen Blog, a pretty solid Caps-centric read. They had a story from last night's game on a few brave Capitals fans who attended the game. Unfortunately, they just couldn't help but take the same old cheap shots at Philly. 

You've heard the horror stories of extreme rudeness, and worse, befalling the visitors in Philly arenas and stadiums over the years - it's a large part of this sports town's lore. Tuesday night I set about surveying the reception experiences of the Red-clad in Wells Fargo Center. Their numbers were modest, as you might imagine, but what they lacked in brigade breadth they more than made up for in proud fashion bravado.

Matt Kosmel, 23, of Silver Spring, Md., made the trip up Tuesday with his college buddy, David Clifford, of Bethesda, also 23. The two attended the University of Maryland together. Tuesday night Kosmel wore a red Nick Backstrom sweater as he navigated the Wells Fargo concourse in search of frothy refreshment. Clifford was wearing a red Alex Ovechkin sweater, hard by his buddy's side. This stunned me: not only didn't they report any assaults against their persons, instead they reported more than civil treatment prior to puck-drop - Flyers' fans, struck by the novelty of seeing such fashion courage in their home rink, actually asked the pair to pose for pictures and engaged them in cordial, welcoming fashion.

The world is supposed to end in 2012, not 2011.

But this civility, alas, didn't last.

Three questions into my interview of these brave Terps a bellicose brute in orange, seizing upon our patriotic confab, walked by us, shot us a dagger stare, and bellowed, "Asshole! . . . Asshole!"

Ah, Philly.

It STUNNED HIM that they didn't report any ASSAULTS. He was stunned that a guy walking along the mezzanine wasn't physically attacked simply for wearing Capitals red. 

Oh, but then somebody called them "assholes," a chant that's been used against visiting fans in cities from New York City to Cleveland to Buffalo to Anaheim, so the night is truly Philadelphian now. 

It's all about the idea that Philly is the worst of the worst, despite there being no real evidence of that. The perception is created by the media, who decide to pull every little incident that happens in our seats and turn it into a 30 minute national conversation on Outside The Lines with Bob Ley.

I mean, shit. A guy was tased at The Players Championship -- yes, that's GOLF -- near Jacksonville because he had too much to drink, yet you'll never hear about that on ESPN, will you? Didn't happen in Philly. If a fan were tased at the AT&T National, played this past year at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, it'd be a top story on SportsCenter.

Point is, people get drunk at sporting events and do stupid things. It's not just here. It's everywhere.

Like I said, though, we're used to the double standard. I'm just sick of the ridiculous idea that we're the only heathens in a country full of angelic sports fans that just want to root on their team without ridicule where ever they go. It even happens in DC, guys.

I say we judge all Capitals fans off these two incidents from now on. Who's with me?

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