Sports Scene:Keep your politics out of my sports

By Nick Pitts
October 16, 2008

Sarah Palin, what were you thinking?

Now I know you are from Alaska. I know that news still travels there via Morse code and the turnaround time is terrible. But Philadelphia booed Santa Claus back in the ’60s.

I just figured maybe that transmission might have made it up that way a few years ago.

We don’t enjoy fictional holiday icons and they certainly don’t enjoy political agendas.

How dare you try to turn something we have all been waiting for since April–opening night of beloved Flyers hockey– into part of your campaign that I don’t buy in the first place.

That down-home hockey-mom nonsense may work up in Moosejaw, but not here.

Philly fans just want to see their team win.

Don’t try and divide us, for we are all brought together to wreak havoc on the visiting team.

While sitting in a crowd of orange-blooded Flyers fans, it doesn’t matter where you come from, what color you are, what religion you believe in and especially whom you’re going to vote for in November.

In a stadium, everyone is accepted. That is unless you’re sporting the opposing team’s colors.

And that goes for all sports, not just hockey. But at least it gives all fans the opportunity to raise their voices and utilize the first amendment.

Flyers fans of course booed Palin. Afterall, Pennsylvania does have a long history of being a blue state.

But perhaps even better than that, was when George W. Bush came out to throw the first pitch of the Washington Nationals first game this past year. Boos from 41,000 fans in unison, as though they had all practiced beforehand.

When a political figure drops the puck for the opening of a hockey game, or throws a first pitch in baseball, the simplicity of the sport is lost in comments about ugly politics and it ultimately turns people against one another.

Or in this case, turns a hero into a villain.

Even before Senator John McCain’s running mate Governor Sarah Palin dropped the puck to open the Philadelphia Flyers season, fans were attacking the organization for attaching the hockey team with a political agenda.

I later found out that those allegations aren’t exactly wrong,

Perhaps the main reason Palin was invited to drop the puck is because Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast Spectacore, is a well-known supporter of the Republican party.

He recently donated a very nice sum of money to the party, prior to the announcement of the ceremony.

Ed Snider, what a terrible move.

You did this city a great favor by giving us all the gift of hockey in the first place. Before 1967, no one here had any interest in what would eventually be one of our favorite sports. You envisioned what this sport could bring to the city, and you were right. The Flyers now have the most intimidating group of fans this country has ever seen, according to an ESPN player’s poll.

What you did by inviting Palin to the home opener to drop the puck was an abuse of your power. You went from bringing an entire city together to share some great sports teams, to dividing us all with your political agenda.

Bush learned his lesson, let’s hope Palin learned hers. Keep your politics out of our sports.

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Nick Pitts

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