Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tearing down the walls

The Spectrum will be torn down in a year. There was talk of this not so long ago, and I really thought that maybe it wouldn't happen. However, it seems more money can be made in other ways, turning the stadium area into more of a destination to visit even when teams aren't active.

This is where. . .
My mom took me to see Dorothy Hamill skate in the Ice Capades. Yes, I was sitting there with my Dorothy Hamill haircut, too.

My dad took me to see WWF matches and to witness Gunther Gabel Willams tame his wild lions and tigers. I even got pulled out of my seat by a clown and we danced on the steps during the opening number. I loved the circus.

My mom's boss once took my mom and me to see a Flyers game (my first). A puck flew by my head. I got to see Bobby Clarke play and there were lots of fights. I've seen Bernie Parent on the concourse. I saw my favorite game: Flyers vs. Rangers--lots of fights starring Tie Domi, and watching Hextall jump up and down in the crease were worth the price of the ticket. The Flyers won.

I have watched the Flyers and Phantoms. I've been to the team skills competition. I sat next to the ice and Rod Brind'Amour stood in front of me. I grabbed my mom's knee so hard she yelped.

I've seen Dr. J make a few amazing baskets in that building, too.

The first among many concerts I saw there, Iron Maiden, will always be remembered quite vividly in my 16-year-old mind. One of my favorite memories was of this guy in his fifties or sixties up on the jumbo-screen thing dancing around before the concerts began. He always had floor seats and we'd all go crazy for him. Two other good memories are seeing Cinderella open up for David Lee Roth--seeing a local band make it big. The other, was being able to see Cliff Burton play not long before he was killed in a bus accident. I remember all of the friends I made in the parking lot, too.

"Which side do you want to me at: Rocky? Hockey statue?"

The last time I was there was in the summer of 2000. I volunteered for the RNC. I went to the Spectrum everyday, after getting my credentials at the Vet. I sat in there waiting for my shift to begin, before I made my way over to the Wachovia Center (then the First Union Center). It was dark and cool, while outside, it was sweltering. I always stared up at the banners and wished for new ones. One day they were setting up for a Brooks and Dunn concert to be held for the delegates. I think it was Cheney's party. It was the night he gave his speech. That looked like a good time.

I remember when they imploded the Vet. I didn't expect it, but I got quite a huge lump in my throat. I expect the same will happen when they tear down the Spectrum. A lot of my youth was spent there, and it feels like a destruction of the past in a way.

The building only housed those memories. Those good times will always be in my mind, and I am sure new memories await.

(H/T: KYW3)

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