My grade school was terrible at basketball. The St. Martha’s teams I played for did not win a game in either 7th or 8th grade. I was not yet five feet tall and not very good, so I didn’t play much. One night we were losing big to St. Dominic’s; I remember it well because it was played in a gym where some parts of the sideline were concurrent with a radiator. There was not much to be excited about. On the bench I asked a teammate what he was doing after the game. “We’re going to Joe’s house,” he said, “to make fun of the other team until we feel like we’ve won.”
When your team loses, moral victories are important. It’s good to have a coping strategy. The Philadelphia Flyers have not won the Stanley Cup since 1975 — a drought so long even St. Martha’s has won a title in that timeframe. Last night, the Flyers lost to the New York Rangers, 4-1, in Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series, two games to one, and they’ve outplayed the Flyers for most of it. Last night’s 4-1 Flyers loss was the best the team’s played all series! If you handle Philadelphia’s perennial sports failures by giving up as soon as you just know, now’s a good time to start giving up.
But, oh, what a moral victory Flyers fans had Tuesday night.
The Flyers trailed by two goals in the third, but got a fortunate (i.e., bad) call from the ref midway through the period: Former Flyer Dan Carcillo — a goon whose nickname is “Carbomb” — was called for hooking (not that kind). The Flyers had an opportunity: Get a goal on the power play here, and they trail by just a goal with about 10 minutes to play.
The Rangers killed off the penalty. Then, Carcillo scored.
4-1, Rangers, game over. But no matter. Flyers fans knew what to do.
This is Philadelphia, so everyone had the same idea.
The Rangers won the game, and appear likely to win the series. But Flyers fans know how to deal. Flip the double bird, and it’s just as if your team has won.
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