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Why I’m a fan of the Flyers: It’s about the community

And Sonic the Hedgehog.

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Six Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Welcome to the refreshed Broad Street Hockey! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts to begin. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones from around our network. Come Fan With Us!

I wasn’t born into a hockey-watching family. Lots of football. College basketball. Sometimes the Phillies made their way onto the television on a warm Sunday afternoon. But hockey? Never. Maybe it was because we were poor and didn’t have PRISM. Maybe my Dad just didn’t like it. But it wasn’t until I was about 12 that the Philadelphia Flyers came barreling into my life, and it happened by random chance. And the story is a pretty unremarkable one.

At a family party, my cousin Joe who I rarely saw outside of big family functions like this one came into the family room where a bunch of us kids were playing SEGA Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog, obvi. He switched off the game to put on the Flyers, and oh man were we pissed. But he was older and cooler and I wanted to be cool too, so I watched for a few minutes. Let me tell you, 12-year old Kelly found Eric Lindros to be absolutely captivating. So I kept watching. And I was hooked. And here we are.

So yeah, the story of how I became a fan is kind of boring. But the story of why I stay a fan? That one is much more interesting, in my opinion.

We all know hockey is a niche sport, but if you aren’t old enough to remember the mid-90s, it was even more niche back then. So for an awkward outsider nerd like me, finding the Flyers community was like finding a really fun set of insta-friends. I spent hours and hours in the AOL hockey chat room (I told you, awkward nerd), “meeting” other hockey-obsessed weirdos like me, talking about our favorite players, arguing about coaching decisions, watching games together. Pretty much what we do now on Twitter, haha. It was in the Flyers that I found a passion, a love, a thing that tied me to other people. I met some of the best people I’ve ever known because of the Flyers. I’ve had some of the funnest times of my life because of the Flyers. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed.

And it’s that -- not the game, not the players, not the team, but the COMMUNITY that has kept me a fan for over 20 years. I love what being a Flyers fan has given me, and that’s why I’ll be a fan as long as I live.

Share your Flyers fan origin story with us in the FanPosts and be entered into a chance to win a $500 Fanatics gift card!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts at 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to authorized SB Nation contributors who are legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.