I wouldnt say "bleeding orange" because I'm from NY (rangers), but I follow the Flyers because I've lived in South Jersey for the past 15+ years. SOOO ever since I met Gagne when I was 13. He was a rookie, lol.
I started following the team casually during the 1996-97 season when I was 13/14. This was also the time that the Philadelphia Phantoms moved to town, and this also helped turn me into a hockey fan. Since the Phantoms tickets were far more affordable. The key game there being the Phantoms game 2 versus the Hershey Bears. Which the Phantoms won handedly 7–4, and featured a massive brawl highlighted by Niel Little destroying the Bears goalie (who actually goaded Little into fighting).
It wasn't until the 1999-2000 season (I was 16/17) when I became obsessed. I was initially sucked beyond my status as a casual fan by the 'team turmoil' story and their ability to over come that and win. Also, having been more a fan of the Phantoms up to this point was seeing players come up from them to the Flyers (namely Brian Boucher and Andy Delmore). But what sealed the deal for me being an obsessed life long fan was the playoff run that year. Key here being I had knee surgery on Monday May 1st which left be laid out for the rest of the week. Which left me the time to watch games 3 and 4 against the Penguins. Both were ofter time games including the legendary 5 OT game. Being that I was still recovering I wasn't going to school that week and I was able to stay up and watch the whole game. Then of course there was the Andy Delmore hat trick. Most of all for me was Boucher's stellar play with the puck getting lodged in his masking and having to use his Phantoms mask. Finally there was Boucher's stop on Elias which I'll never forget.
As we all know it ended in heart break, but I will always fondly remember that run for bonding me with the Flyers forever.
I started following them in the early 80s. I'm from CT and I was a diehard bleed-green Whalers fan, but there's not much to watch in April/May when you're a Whalers fan, and I liked some of the Flyers players (Pelle, Propp, Kerr, Howe, Brown etc). Then in '86 Ron Hextall joined the team, and as a goalie how could I not love that guy? All the stuff goalies don't do (stickhandle and shoot, get physical, even fight), Hexy did them. So I started following them closely from then on, and when that ******* moved my Whalers to Carolina I went 100% orange & black.
I became a Flyers fan upon birth in December of 1976.
I first bled orange as a nine/ten year old as I got to watch the awesome insanity of one Ron Hextall's stellar rookie season.
I remember games 6 & 7 of the 87 cup finals very clearly. I remember the day we "traded" for Lindros and how happy I was.
I'm happy the Phils got me a parade that I could actually remember, but I so badly want a cup parade to go along with it.
The mid 80's were crazy. As bad as I want to experience a cup parade, I don't think a cup parade now could never compare to the past cup parades, or even the Phillies parade. Going into the Stanely Cup Finals, the Flyers were HUGE underdogs. They hadn't beaten the Bruin in the previous 19 contests, and the Bruins had Just won the Cup two years earlier. No expansion team had ever won the Cup. You had players that everybody knew and loved. They were the Broad Street Bullies. They had an identity, a persona all their own. Clarkie, Barber, Reggie "the rifle" Leach, Bob "the hound" Kelly, "cowboy" Bill Flett, Don "big bird" Saleski, Dave "the hammer" Shultz, Andre "moose" Dupont, MacLeish, Clement, Van Impe, Barry Ashbee, Jimmy and Joe Watson, and Bernie ... Bernie ... Bernie, among others. You had Kate Smith singing and Gene Hart calling the play-by-play. Then, not only did they win the Cup, but, they won it back to back.
Even the 08 Phillies somehow built that juggernaut mostly from within. They had been Phillies for a while. They weren't just a club that fielded their team de jour, here today, gone tomorrow. People grew to love Charlie, and they stuck with him. Their amazing finish and another Mets collapse. Lidge's perfect season. Harry the K getting to make the call. It was all just out of the blue. The much hated WIP always used to have this topic "Which philly team will be the next to win a championship?". The Flyers were always a good pick and won a lot of division titles. The Eagles were another top runner and won a lot of division titles. The Sixers had Iverson and had been to the Finals recently and still had support at the time. The Phillies were never in the running. It was said the ownership "didn't want to win". They were constantly trashed. Then bang, 2008 was another storybook season to go down in Philly sports history. It was pretty amazing. Philadelphia was so hungry for a parade and you couldn't have asked for a clearer day.
So, as much as I also want to see another Stanley Cup parade in Philly, I am very afraid it would not measure up my expectations. I don't think in today's hockey you could ever say "Win Today, Walk Together Forever". Too much in and out trying to piece together the puzzle instead of just letting it gel.