AFTER WATCHING last night's crushing 4-3 overtime loss bring them to the brink of playoff elimination, Broad Street Bully wondered if our Flyers can summon the die-hard heart of superfan Eric Rothstein, and keep the Stanley Cup dream alive.
So who is this Eric Rothstein?
His head is shaved, except for an orange-and-black mohawk that his go-to stylist, Gloria at Shape Ups on Grant Avenue near Bustleton, touches up weekly before the orange fades into yellow. He has a Flyers logo tattooed on each side of his mohawk, giving his head the look of an old-school Flyers helmet.
So even in the sea of orange-and-black-clad fans at last night's game, Rothstein, 41, who had his glaring game face on even during pregame warm-ups, stood out as the hardest core die-hard at the Wells Fargo Center.
Born in South Philly, raised in Olney and now living in Northeast Philadelphia, Rothstein told Broad Street Bully, "I base my whole life around the Flyers." He said that his dad, Paul, who passed away on July 13, "never missed a game. If the Flyers were on, that's what we were watching. I watched both championship parades sitting on his shoulders. He raised me right."
As he said this, Rothstein's face - as tough as any Flyers' enforcer's - suddenly softened. "This season hasn't really been the same without him," Rothstein said. "People tell me he's always here with me at the game. I don't know. Maybe he is."
Rothstein said that his mom, Rochelle, and sister, Lisa, were always big Flyers fans, but that lately he's had a falling out with Lisa because her son developed an admiration for Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby. "I can't live with that," said Rothstein, who hates all things Penguin with a passion. "Not in my family."
Unlike even the most fervent fans, Rothstein wears his Flyers heart on his sleeve - and on his head - all year-round. Even in the heat of summer, he's rocking Flyers gear. "I don't own anything else," he said. "If I have to get dressed up, I have a Flyers tie."
For years, he's never missed a home game - arranging his work hours at Slack's Hoagie Shack in Port Richmond around the Flyers schedule, arriving hours early, standing next to the Flyers' bench to watch warmups, then taking his seat in Section 213, Row 15 for the game. If the Flyers lose, he said, "I get what I call 'Post Flyers Loss Depression.' "
"You don't want to be around me after a loss," he said. "I need Prozac."
But he never stops believing in them, never stops dreaming, never stops wearing Flyers gear.