Eternally devoted to the Spectrum

I miss the Spectrum.

Sure, the Wachovia Center is a beautiful place, full of the glam and bling and sparkly things you need these days to keep fans happy.

20100528_inq_fpaper28-b
Danny Briere of the Flyers shares his thoughts during a media event in Chicago.

And I'm sure the place will be a madhouse if the Flyers win the Stanley Cup next Friday after Game 4 or on June 9 after Game 6.

But it won't be like it was in the Spectrum back on May 19, 1974, when the Flyers beat the Boston Bruins, 1-0, in Game 6.

I wasn't there for that game. But I spent seven seasons in the 1990s watching the Flyers from the press box, and I can tell you the Spectrum had these tentacles that wormed their way into your heart.

Sure, it was cramped and dark and getting to be a bit dingy. But it was a cramp like your dad's basement rec room, and you sort of liked it that way.

The narrow concourse corridors were usually jammed with all sorts of people between periods, and the crush of the crowd often swept you a few yards past the restroom you were seeking.

Sitting in the press box - shoulder to shoulder with other reporters - was like sitting in the stands. It was open and midway up the bowl, and fans often peered in and offered advice on how or what to write.

We were all in this together, they'd say. Players, fans, reporters, team owners, and general managers. And they were right.

There were no "luxury" boxes or private places for players and general managers to watch from. They all sat in the press box, right behind the reporters.

So when things went against the Flyers, you didn't have to strain to hear the GM or a player curse or grumble.

It's the same way in Chicago these days. They tore down the old Chicago Stadium, and the Blackhawks play in the gleaming United Center.

Like the Spectrum, the Stadium had its own personality. The dressing rooms were like closets. You had to duck and nearly crawl down a set of stone stairs to reach them.

And when the old pipe organ played, and the crowd roared throughout the national anthem, you couldn't help but get chills.

I don't yearn for the old days. I love the comfort of the Wachovia Center.

But I miss the Spectrum.


Contact staff writer Gary Miles

at 215-854-4487 or gmiles@phillynews.com.