Q & A with Flyers Goal Scored By
For the second leg of my interview series, I decided to interview the brains behind Flyers Goal Scored By. They do a magnificent job providing humor to the average fan, the band-wagon jumper and the Flyers aficionado. In this Q & A (or stream of consciousness), Fran and Ryan detailed the blog and their own experiences. They had me laughing all the way, and hopefully you will be too. Enjoy!
MT: What made you guys start FGSB?
Ryan: Finally. Our ‘Behind the Music’ moment.
Fran and I were roommates in a 6 bedroom apartment on 6th avenue and 29th street in this really cruddy part of Manhattan and a guy who I grew up playing hockey with forwarded me a link to a Caps post from ‘On Frozen Blog’ which at the time I think was on blogspot. The Flyers 07-08 season was about to start and I had been kind of getting back into it after my first year of "real life" was the lockout. My second year, I missed most of it just out of being 24 years old in New York and disinterested with a lot of other things going on. Then, the 06-07 season was just painful. That summer, the Flyers brought in Daniel Briere and some other guys (Scott Hartnell & Kimmo Timonen) and it piqued my interest. I always had the itch to write a bit, but didn't know what a blog even was, then I realized that anyone could do what OFB was doing. Also, I figured it would be an easy assignment just to make sure I was writing every day. It was basically like being on an email chain and tossing jokes around with friends, except this was an open email chain to no one, and I could just write whatever I wanted about hockey. Literally whatever - that's what I liked.
It was by no means news or rumors, I was my sitting around and thinking something funny and then writing about it in regards to sports. I never even saw Puck Daddy until after that season and my honest first thought was "Man, this guy is doing what I do. He's stealing my stuff!" Shows you how naive I was even after a whole year in the blogging game (read in Iced-T voice, SVU not rapper). I thought it was pretty cool even though at the time I didn't really tell anyone but Fran because the stigma was pretty big about it being a nerdy past time.
Actually, looking back at that now I remember that I thought it was only going to be for one season – I even listed the days of the season.
So, Fran was my only reader and was doing any graphics I asked of him or just doing some for the heck of it for the opening picture. Eventually, I asked him if he could write a game day post and then it just kind of stuck. And it's been that way ever since. Fran on the game days, and I do the other random weird stuff.
(Also, I just got a chuckle out of the fact that even though I was way off on Briere's point total and Gagne's goals; I was within one point on the Flyers’ total for that season. I’m a regular freaking Eklund over here.)
MT: FGSB is a pretty popular site among Flyers fans; when you started FGSB, did you ever think it would have the following that you have now?
Ryan: From just Fran to 8,000 readers a day? No way never thought that would happen. And, it hasn't Trible, so you can just cool down.
It's honestly never been about the readership. I think we just like messing around online and if anyone gets a kick out of that the way we do then that's just a bonus. Plus, it easily identifies people that we'd like to have a beer or 15 with...
MT: I had the pleasure of meeting you at the first FGSB blogger convention in October. Explain how you came up with that idea. Is it something that you’ll do every year?
Ryan: We felt like it could be fun to meet some of the people we talk to on Twitter. But as it turns out meeting people from the internet is kind of strange (mainly based off of Twitter, even though it'd be pretty weird to meet some of these screen names). Never in my life did I think I would do that so I'm not sure about again. Not because everyone wasn't great, there’s just a lot less to say in person then "so you're a Flyers fan?" The quips on Twitter are way easier. One thing that was really cool was meeting this guy James who really likes the blog. It was just funny because you rarely have anyone ever telling you "good job" on anything when you turn a certain age, which he did. Plus, I think Fran and I were both a bit too excited and treated the game like a freaking Jimmy Buffett concert. Who knows if we’d do another, but probably not. If the Flyers put one together, we'd participate. We want to be the sloppy guys in the shadows at someone else's party, not the hosts.
MT: Who are your favorite Flyers, now and in the past?
Fran: I love this question, because for me it’s a moving target. I almost want to dissect this into different eras, different teams, and different positions even. Off the current team, I don't think you can go wrong with saying Claude Giroux is my/our favorite. There is no one else on the team, with the exception of Jody Shelley, that makes me "lean in" when they have the puck. The unpredictability of his play is what makes him so interesting to watch. Add to that the way he plays, mixing finesse and grit, and he just looks like he stepped right out Bobby Clarke's shadow. In fact, are we 100% certain that this isn't some sort of Freaky Friday type situation going on, where Claude Giroux and Bobby Clarke touched the same mysterious magic skull at the same moment and are now in each other’s bodies?
I got into the Flyers in the early 90s. I have vague memories of the Mark Howe era, but I am the child of those Ron Hextall/Eric Lindros teams. Lindros’ popularity and status as one of the city's elite athletes turned me onto hockey. In the same year that Pete Incaviglia and Mickey Morandini were dominating my summers, Marc Recchi, Rod the Bod, and Lindros captivated my winters. I'd still consider #88 my favorite Flyer from the past, however cliché that may be. His bull in a china shop approach, and "presence" during the game was completely infectious, even during those tough early 90s years. I didn't have ‘Prism’ (the TV network that carried the Flyers’ games) either, and the internet was in some Southern California university's basement. So, the fact that I read about games the morning after rather than seeing them live added to Lindros’ mystique.
MT: What’s your favorite Flyers memory?
Fran:I was a young lad of 13, and my Dad got tickets to a Flyers - Penguins game. We trudged down to the Spectrum one night, for my first hockey game, ever. I was a frequent visitor to Veterans Stadium across the street, but I never went to the Spectrum. It felt weird parking down there but moving in the opposite direction of the Vet. Our seats were top shelf and within the first few minutes, a Flyer forward went in on a breakaway. I'm already a little freaked by the noise of the building, and the feeling that I'm going to fall down onto the ice from the very narrow/vertigo inducing second level of the Spectrum.
So, I stand up, all four feet of me, to get a better view of what is making the entire stadium go quiet. A breakaway. It was as if everyone in the building was taking a deep breath at once, waiting for the inevitable cheer or groan. I’m freaking four feet tall, I doubt me standing up has anything to do with anything, but before I know it, this grimey old dude behind me is yanking me back into my chair. Hand on jacket, pushing me into the maroon foam seat. I think it was the ghost of Jacob Marley. I turn around and he says something I don't remember now, but it had to do with sitting down until the play was over.
It was very. Important. To. Stay. Seated.
The Flyers scored on the breakaway goal, and I missed it because some old dude was being a curmudgeon. It was loud and I was scared to do anything for the rest of the period. I looked at my pops for help, but he was a high fiving machine after they scored. It was so loud. I was a bit freaked out, but in a good way. As the game went on, and the Flyers continued to smoke the Pens (Lemieux was playing, I remember that), the guy behind me kept high fiving me! Me, the little dude who "messed" up view of the breakaway! I felt like I was baptized in the Philadelphia fire that night; learning my place, but being accepted at the same time. I was immediately hooked at the veracity of the crowd, the closeness to the action and the skill on display.
I was a die-hard Flyers fan before I even left the building.
I’d like to extend an enormous ‘thank you’ to Ryan and Fran for taking the time to answer my questions. It was my pleasure. Feel free to follow me on Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Or, just browse over to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/flyerscorner to hear me talk Flyers hockey.