Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The trigger of my current bout with indescribably wretched morale begins to officially take shape. And I still don't know if this new development will cost us the Spectrum, and/or cause the Phantoms to relocate to the suburbs, South NJ, AC, or Delaware... or, worse, to a distance that would make attending weeknight games next to impossible.

It is unlikely that the Flyers will allow any decisions that force their farm club to stop practicing in Voorhees. They went to the expense of builidng, from scratch, a training facility that allows their front office to watch ALL players from BOTH clubs at will. The micromanagers in the Flyers front office are unlikely to relinquish that benefit without a fight. So I hold out hope that even the loss of the Spectrum would not be enough to completley cost us access to our team as well.

And as of today's press conference, there was no decision announced regarding the fate of the Spectrum: it could still be included in the development plans, when all is said and done. The details I have read do NOT make a final declaration one way or another.

Still, the mere thought that the ONE thing that I have unfailingly been enthusiastic about in the past 12 years could be rendered difficult or impossible to partake in regularly, has been a morale-destroyer. Out of a 365-day year, I don't think that having 40 Phantoms home games, plus a statistically-unlikely maximum of 16 playoff home games (presuming home ice advantage throughout the playoffs and four 7-game series) is too much to ask of the Universe. It's my ONE outlet that I have always looked forward to, even when the bouts with wrecked morale have sapped my energy and interest in literally everything else. I do not want to lose access to something that has proven to be so therapeutic, nor see my access to it reduced. That Won't Be Good. Even thinking about that possibility for the past ten days Hasn't Been Good. It has resurrected a 24/7 battle with a mindset that I have been waging war on for a lot of years. If the wrong sequence of events occurs, I don't want to think of what that battle is going to look like, so I won't borrow trouble. Just pray I don't suffer a case of battle fatigue. My daily cross, for years, has been the kknowledge that only one loss would render all the years of victories for naught. This latest kick in the proverbial gut is the equivalent of applying poison ivy to sunburn. I absolutely DID NOT NEED this.

When I separate my own personal feelings from my evaluation of this possible plan, I reach a conclusion that is far less rah-rah, confetti-and-streamers than was evidenced in today's press conference. I will refrain from carping about how building all these ways to spend spare cash, when we are heading into a recession, is likely to result in less-than-optimal earnings from an entertainment complex until and unless the economy straightens out.

I know that the Riverview entertainment complex, currently home to the only remaining movie theater in South Philadelphia, has not been able to consistently maintain any of the businesses in the buildings surrounding the movie theater.

People have limited excess cash to spend. PERIOD. I forsee an either/or situation where the competing theater complexes cannibalize one another's patrons, perhaps to the detriment of both.(OK, skip the 'perhaps'. My concern is that they WILL, not MIGHT, do more harm than good to one another.)

Hotel.... say, how about we build the new hotel, then knock down the one at 10th and Packer and put an arena there. I'm not really joking... I dont see a pressing need for two hotels that near to one another, when I wasn't aware that the one on Packer Avenue was filled to overflowing on a regular basis.

Moreover, I don't see why people would travel to Philly and stay in a hotel here, JUST to eat in the same restaurant chains, see the same movies, play in the same arcade chains, and shop in the same chain stores that they could patronize at home, without incurring luxury hotel or travel fees.

I am not thinking that the new complex will stand empty and unused. God, I hope NOT, if they go to the trouble of building things down there. But I think the press conference is all about the New Shiny Pretty Things and not about the realities like our current economy and the amount of spare dollars that people actually have got to throw around.

I won't go so far as to call myself flat-out pessimistic about a new complex, but I can honestly say I do not share the unbridled optimism that was proclaimed during the Happy Happy Joy Joy press conferrence. What it CAN earn, and what it most likely WILL earn, are likely to be very different things.

So anyhow, this is where my mind has been for the past 9-10 days. I hope you're not sorry you asked. ;)

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