Thursday, March 19, 2009

Being Thwarted

I am a Philadelphia sports fan. I follow all four of the major pro-sports.

A piece of news recently jarred me to think which athlete in an opposing uniform I wish had spent a decade in Philadelphia rather than killing us night after night.

Almost by definition that player has to be a division style rival. For instance, Kobe Bryant may be great- but he plays far away on teams we just don’t see much. Again and again, this athlete had to thwart good Philadelphia teams- not merely throttle bad one- as the former hurts more than the latter.

I guess I don’t have a concrete answer- but Marty Brodeur has to be at the top of that list: he’s great, he’s a class act, and he’s killed the Flyers forever.

I must admit I was shocked at how few times the Flyers have actually faced Marty in the play-offs. They lost in both 1995 (galling) and 2000 (an unreal galling experience in seven games) in the conference finals. The beat Marty in he quarterfinals in 2004.

And that is it. But the Devils, waving their multitude of Cups around, have long been a measuring stick for a pretty competent Flyers’ organization. And every Flyers fan knows had Marty been in Philadelphia, many Cups would be ours. Instead, we got Cechmanek, Vanbiesbrouck, Burke, Rousell, Hextall and Garth Snow.

He has been the difference between two good organizations for more than a decade- a difference that is counted in multiple championships versus crushing heartbeaks. We’ve watched him play dozens and dozens and dozens of times so we can appreciate his Hall of Fame greatness. He’s beaten us in a Game 7. And he was close enough geographically that we could follow his day-to-day brilliance.

Anyway, he set another milestone recently- most wins by a goalie ever- so a grudging but earned round of applause to a guy to good to be a public enemy.