Frankly, I like hearing Kate Smith sing ‘God Bless America’ in Philadelphia. I like the fact that tradition is upheld, even in Philly, and old Kate been’s singing this tune, alive and dead and off and on, since the Broad Street Bullies of the early and mid 1970’s terrorized the league with their thuggery.
I also love the idea of the Flyers getting smoked after Kate revs up the crowd. Kate couldn’t stop the Canadiens all those years ago, and hopefully she can’t do it now.
I remember Kate Smith from long before the Philadelphia Flyers came into existence. She sang on the Ed Sullivan Show many times, this oversized plain Jane with the terrific pipes and substantial glittering dresses you could have made a four-man tent out of, and she belted out the tunes loud and clear through our old black and white TV. She was a long-established star by the time the Flyers embraced her, and I’m sure the team is mighty thankful they latched on to this big mama because not only have they had success when she sings, but they’ve created a special moment reserved only for the Flyers and their fans.
Kate’s record at Flyers games over the years is an impressive 81 wins, 21 losses and three ties. She’s not perfect, although Flyers fans think she is, and it’s a lovely thing indeed when the Flyers get spanked with her there, even though she’s been dead since 1986.
There also may be three separate occasions where opposing players have tried to add levity to the situation and throw the Flyers off by presenting flowers to Kate as her song finished. Ed Westfall of the New York Islanders appparently did it, and I’ve read that Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr of the Bruins and Serge Savard of the Canadiens did the same on other nights.
When I hear Kate belt out God Bless America, it reminds me that tradition is a wonderful thing and the old broad could really sing. And it also reminds me of how great it is when the Flyers lose after she does.