More Than Just A Game
Born into a family of ultra-passionate Philadelphia sports fans, it would only be fitting that a fan with as much love and affection would choose the Orange-and-Black above all.
Love? Affection? Philadelphia?
Meet Eric Rothstein.
But you may know him only as Superfan.
Superfan grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and has been bleeding Orange-and-Black for as long as he remembers.
Superfan’s late Father, Paul Rothstein, who passed away earlier this summer after a fight with cancer made Superfan into the fan that he is today.
“I was raised to be a Flyers fan,” said Superfan. “And my Dad raised me right.”
There wasn’t a specific moment that Superfan woke up and decided he was going to be a die-hard Flyers fan. The love affair goes all the way back to when the Philadelphia Flyers won their first Stanley Cup.
Superfan was four years old for the first Championship – five for the second.
And that love and affection that his Father inspired him with, is the reason Superfan has become the face of the Philadelphia Flyers fan base.
“I bleed Orange-and-Black, I really do,” Superfan said.
Chances are – if you’ve been to a Flyers game since 2001, you’ve seen him; if you’ve watched a Flyers broadcast on local TV, you’ve seen him; if you’ve watched a Flyers broadcast on National TV, you’ve seen him.
Heck, if you Google image search ‘Flyers fans’ – you better believe his mug is on the first page of pictures.
Soon enough, I’m sure he will be on a Campo’s Deli commercial – and deservingly so.
You see, Superfan, is no ordinary fan. Nope. Not in a million years.
Every fall, Superfan, has to strategically set his hours of work so he doesn’t miss a game.
Eric hasn’t missed a home game since the 2001 season.
“During the regular season I’ll usually show up to the Arena around 2 p.m. and most of the time I’ll try to cut out of work early,” Superfan said.
But during Playoffs – it’s a whole different animal.
Superfan showed up as early as 4:17 a.m. to one of the 8 p.m. starts in the Stanley Cup Finals this past season – nope, that’s not a typo.
But be sure of this…
“I will not miss a game, I’ll quit my job if I have to work,” said Superfan.
“I will not miss a game, no way.”
The passion Superfan possesses doesn’t come around very often. Philadelphia fans get the wrap that they’re some of the best fans in hockey, this and that, but Superfan is simply on another level.
Since you started going regularly – when was the last time you’ve missed two games in a season? I asked.
“Never,” he said with a stern look.
“How about one game?”
“Never… Ever,” he said with a glare.
And like many of his fellow fans…
Who’s your most disliked team?
“Pittsburgh,” he replied without hesitation.
“Crosby,” he said before I could even finish the question.
He sports an Orange-and-Black Mohawk – daily. That Mohawk? It’s got its own Facebook fan page. Next to that Orange-and-Black Mohawk – the word FLYERS on each side, sitting right on top of a Flyers logo. Down his arm – Bobby Clarke scoring the game-winner in the 1974 Cup Finals against Boston. His other arm – Bernie Parent. It doesn’t stop there. His legs are covered in Orange-and-Black ink as well.
If the Mohawk with Flyers tattoos on his head wasn’t enough…
“All I wear is Flyers gear,” Superfan said with a smile.
“That’s all I have.”
Superfan admits, when he was growing up, he liked all of the Philadelphia sports teams – and still does – but ‘liking’ the other three major sports teams compared to the love Superfan has towards the Flyers can’t even begin to be measured.
“If the Flyers were on, that’s what we were watching,” said Superfan. “The older that I’ve gotten the more and more I like the Flyers and the less and less I like the other teams,” he added.
And the Philadelphia Flyers organization knows it.
Superfan was honored as ‘Scott Hartnell’s Guest of Honor’ during Hartnell’s celebrity tennis event this past summer at Villanova’s Pavilion.
And in a real show of class, the organization delivered a basket of flowers to the Rothstein family just one day after the passing of his Father.
Through the years, Superfan’s love for the Philadelphia Flyers organization has continued to grow.
Though this year will be different without his Father by his side, no more high-fives between the two when they watch away games together and no more celebrations; a Paul Rothstein-guided Stanley Cup Championship to the City of Philadelphia seems more fit than ever.
And Superfan will be there waiting for the gift from Dad.
“When I even think about it, my eyes start tearing up,” he said.