October 11, 1984 was full of alot of firsts. It was the first game of the 1984 NHL season, it was Rick Tocchet, Peter Zezel and Mike Keenans first games in the NHL, along with Bobby Clarkes first season as new General Manager, it was also my first game ever in the Spectrum, and I was changed ever since. "Thanks to my Aunt Dee for getting me and my dad tickets"
I have seen numerous games inside the confines of the Spectrum, I saw Hulk Hogan body slam Brutus Beefcake when I was a 12 yr old youngster, not soon after this my dad lets me know that wrasslin is fake and I didn't talk to him for an hour after this "news". I have had the pleasure to see Metallica, Michael Jordan, Korn, Harlem Globetrotters, the circus and many NBA games inside the place on Broad and Patterson, I even passed on the chance to see one of the greatest basketball games in history (Duke/Kentucky) because of a baseball game. "I could have thrown a no hitter and it wouldn't have made a difference how ticked I am for missing it"
To tell someone how incredible it was to be in those "maroonish" (but very comfortable) seats doesn't do it justice. I swore, I could hear the conversations that happened on the ice we were so close, I swore I could also have heard conversations in the last row in the third deck. "Hey Dad, I think the guy upstairs wants popcorn and if he yells shoot one more time I'm going to..."
Now, as I see the Spectrum being torn down, its a piece of my childhood being taken from me, those iconic steps, the Rocky statue, the Dr J masterpiece, Dorny scoring against the North Stars (How many goals have their own statues?) Kate Smith belting God Bless America (What I wouldn't give to have been there) and that small scoreboard outside the place, letting us know what events are coming up. "Mom, Dad, look!! Barnum and Bailey are coming back!" but I only cared about the Flyers at the time.
The Spectrum is Philly, a very blue collar town, no roof blowing off, no wrecking ball on the first swipe is going to knock it down!
In May 1996, the Flyers played their last game in the Spectrum, against the Florida Panthers, it was Game 5 and the Flyers had the series tied 2-2, the game went to OT and a guy named Michael Hough ended the game.Flyers lost game 6 in Florida and the season, along with the Flyers ol' home were done. "Hey Dan, want to get tickets? " "Sure, how much are they?" 85 BUCKS?? A piece?? I hope the prices don't go up any higher in the future!!"
I like the new (Corestates, First Union , Wachovia) Wells Fargo Center, its very spacious, alot of bathrooms, enough elbow room in the concourse but it just isn't the same. I'm going to look at the place where the Spectrum once stood (Like I do with the Vet) and just remember the great memories I had there, I will also know that the last event to take place there, Pearl Jam, I spent with the woman I love..I couldn't imagine a sweeter send off.