Murphy, an airline pilot originally from North Carolina, is better known as vanmurph on the Panthers message boards and he, along with his wife Vanessa are two of the most vociferous fans at the BankAtlantic Center.VanMurph's View Blog Archive
When I nestled into my seat at the BankAtlantic Center last Friday night, I was given the equivalent of a slap in the face, as someone in a Red Wings Jersey was taking the ceremonial slap shot…
According to Wikepedia, the definition of betrayal is: A form of deception or dismissal of prior presumptions, the breaking or violation of a presumptive social contract (trust, or confidence) that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations. Often betrayal is the act of supporting a rival group, or it is a complete break from previously decided upon or presumed norms by one party from the others.
On occasion, I’ve departed the parking lot of the arena, or turned off the TV, having been disappointed with the final score of a Panthers game. On other occasions, I’ve been angry about the officiating, or even the effort put forth by our team. But never, in all my years as a sports fan, have I felt the sting of perceived betrayal from any organization to which I’ve given my loyalty… That was, until last Friday night. The pummeling of my pride came in waves. The first wave was the aforementioned embarrassment of watching our ice being used by a fan of the opposing team to deliver the ceremonial slap shot. The second wave came during the first intermission. An ADULT in a Red Wings jersey was allowed to ride on OUR Zamboni, IN OUR HOUSE, and sit there encouraging the Wings fans to stand and cheer, which they did. That insult to my loyalty was worsened by the four Detroiters behind me guffawing at the fact that they’d actually managed the coup of getting TWO of their fans onto OUR ICE that night… Their exact quote, through non-stop laughter, was, “That would NEVER be allowed to happen at the Joe”… The last wave came early in the third period when a Detroit fan threw an octopus onto OUR ICE and didn’t receive so much as a mild reprimand from anyone! Again, the cheering and laughter was enough to push me to the very edge of felonious behavior. The person who threw it should’ve been escorted from the building by the Sunrise Police, BEFORE THE NEXT PUCK DROPPED! The fact that nothing was done about it only emboldens idiots like that to carry the shenanigans to a higher level next time. Compounding the insult was the fact that the octopus was shown on our center-hung scoreboard! That, too, drew a huge cheer from the opposing team’s fans…
Needless to say, all I could do about it was loudly boo and just wait for the Panthers to come up with another goal. Unfortunately, the latter wasn’t in the cards, but I’m not knocking our hockey team one bit. In addition to being robbed of a goal in the first period (watch the replay), our team put up a valiant effort against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. I was very proud of our guys. They were gritty and played a tough, well-coached game. Those types of efforts are why I won’t ever lose faith in this team.
The betrayal I felt was palpable and maddening. Whoever allowed these indecencies to occur betrayed the loyal fans of this team; unintentionally I’m sure, but very disappointing nonetheless. I don’t ever want to have to sit through an experience like that again in the BankAtlantic Center. To that end, here are a couple of ideas for new policies that should be put into effect, TODAY, regarding certain privileges inside the BankAtlantic Center.
- Effective immediately, unless you are a player for the other team, you CANNOT come onto our ice wearing their colors, EVER.
- If the Panthers are giving away a prize at the door, you DO NOT receive one if you are wearing the paraphernalia of another NHL team. Plain clothes? Sure. College or International hockey team? OK (this time). But if you are wearing a hat, jersey, jacket, t-shirt, shoelaces, or ANYTHING else from an NHL team other than the Panthers, you don’t get squat!
- Signs that support the other team by being openly derogatory toward the Panthers (like a few I saw the other night) will be confiscated at the door.
As long as I’m on the topic of things that are insulting, I’d like to get one more thing off my chest… I understand the need for the advertisements in the urinals. In fact, I even think they’re brilliant! I mean, what better time to expose a guy to a urologist’s services than when he’s standing in front of a urinal? But to allow a Panthers logo to be on that advertisement is unacceptable. Think about it, there is some major league bad karma going on when the Panthers’ logo is exposed to the happenings in a urinal. When the time comes for the advertisements to be replaced, please DO NOT put the logo of my favorite team on them.
One last thing: If you are a season seat owner in the BankAtlantic Center, and you either sold your tickets to a Red Wings fan, or traded loyalties for one night by wearing a Detroit jersey, shame on you. I don’t care what the reason is, if you wear the jersey of the opponent to a Panthers game, you’ve betrayed the Florida Panthers, and their fans.
For those of you who are interested in the arena summaries I’ve been writing, the one from the Honda Center in Anaheim is finished, and I’ll be submitting it for posting shortly. However, the sentiments expressed above were important enough to me that I wanted to get this entry sent out, immediately. I think it’s important for everyone to know that the Panthers’ fans are not going to be successful in attempting to take our arena back from the opposing team’s fans if we are undermined by the organization like we were last Friday night. The task of helping our hockey team gain a real home ice advantage is going to take the complete commitment of the fans, the organization, and the team.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. I hope this entry has struck a chord with you. I apologize if the tone has upset anyone. That was not my intention.
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, or if you just want to say Hi, I can be reached at: VanMurph@hotmail.com
Thank you to everyone who emailed me after the last blog entry. It was a pleasure to correspond with each of you.
***EDIT*** ***EDIT*** ***EDIT***
When I submitted this blog entry to the Panthers two days ago, I asked that it be forwarded to the management of the organization for discussion before it was put up on the website.
This morning (Wednesday, November 19) I received a call from Chad Johnson, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, and we had a brief conversation about the blog entry and about the meeting at which it was discussed.
The phone call was very pleasant, and I came away from it with a positive feeling about the dedication and enthusiasm of the employees of the Panthers organization. CJ (as many of you know him) relayed to me his disappointment in the events that took place in the BankAtlantic Center against Detroit, and he told me that as a result of the aforementioned meeting, a new policy will henceforth be in effect in our arena: No one will be allowed to participate in the pre-game or intermission on-ice activities if they are wearing the jersey of another team. Regardless of your status as a season seat owner, if you are wearing another team’s jersey when you show up to participate in a Ceremonial Slap Shot, Puck Drop, or Zamboni ride, you’ll be offered an opportunity to either remove it, or to don a Panthers jersey (which will be loaned to you). If neither of those options is to your liking, the privilege will go to someone else. (This is OUR HOUSE, and if you want to wear your “other” favorite team’s jersey on OUR ICE, too bad)
During the phone call, CJ mentioned that this blog entry would be put up on the website today. However, because of the new policy that resulted from it, I asked them not to post it until I had the opportunity to make this addendum. I am very happy that management reacted to the voice of the fans and closed the door to this type of embarrassment from here on out. It is definitely a positive step in the direction toward creating an atmosphere conducive to pride and winning…
To those responsible for constructing and implementing this new policy: Thank you very much!VanMurph's View Blog Archive