Photo: Barb Colligon
The first vengeful thoughts came in the immediate aftermath of the Montreal game. They soon grew darker as I read reports of the paltry penalty paid by those faux French bastards to the north who had dared damage our second best, but fresher, real French brother (via New Jersey).
The rage burnt out quickly, as it is wont to do when I have a “real” world of family and work to get on with. Hoppenot seemed no worse for wear, and other story lines took over.
This weekend’s DC tilt has made me revisit these dark thoughts.
Thought One: Mindless, bloody, revenge in the form of “Jody Shelly — One-game contract”
If the Union can be so gracious as to loan the Doop song to the Orange and Black, surely the Flyers could reciprocate in the form of letting a goon or two suit up in Blue and Gold. I’m sure Mr. Snider’s sense of justice would impel him to help right the universal wrong inflicted upon us by the MLS league offices on on-field officiating.
Thought Two: I miss The People’s Elbow
This springs right out of Thought One. Why do my dreams of revenge take me outside of the Union organization? Easy. Because there is zero fear of physical pain, or meaningful retribution, found in our current roster. I love me some Carlos Valdes. He tackles hard and often, but he defends mostly through positioning and guile. Sheanon is a winger who happens to defend well. Garfan has the snarl, but lacks the size.
Without Danny Calliff, there is simply no expectation that violence against the Union is not in the best interests of your long-term health. Without Danny Callif, teams feel free to offend without any fear of reprisal.
And then, Thought Three… The upside
It has taken me many hours to reach any upside. If I have found one, it is this: Rivalry.
While I have the hatred of the Red Bulls that comes free with our season tickets package, it feels a bit forced. It is a league-wide hatred of that team. It is a Philly-wide hatred of the city they squat adjacent to. It is a hatred met largely with indifference from their side.
Now, with Montreal and DC, there is earned hatred. Hatred bone deep and bloody. A rivalry (or two) created on the field, not out of habit.
This is the way traditions should be built. This is how truly bitter rivalries are born.