To the average person, at least one possessed of sound mind and body and no craving for sport, this is the City of Brotherly Love. To the 15,000 invaders this weekend, the excuse being three basketball games, this is the City of Rocky.
Everyone wants to be Rocky at an NCAA extravaganza in which no team is playing the role of the fighting underdog. LSU Coach Dale Brown took his team to the Philadelphia Art Museum to run the steps. One group of 100 Indiana fans did the same thing -- at 2 a.m. this morning. Every team bus reportedly has at least one person in possession of a tape with the theme from Rocky.
"There's only one Rocky in this tournament and that's LSU," said Herman Young, LSU Class of '42, who came to the Spectrum today dressed in a tiger suit made of material from Hong Kong. "I've been going to games since 1932, when I was a boy, and until Dale Brown came here there was no LSU basketball.
"Now, we're a basketball school. Look at all the people here from LSU. Best fans in the world. We've got to be Rocky. We're 31-3 and no one thinks we've got a chance."
Young and his wife went sightseeing Friday. They went to Valley Forge. They went to see the Liberty Bell. And, of course, they went to the art museum.
Rocky and the art museum have been in the news here of late.Recently, during the filming of the movie "Rocky III," a statue of the hero was put atop the art museum. When the filming was over, Sylvester Stallone offered to allow the statue to remain there.
No thanks, said museum officials. The statue was removed but the image remains. Everywhere.
With no offense intended to the other three schools, the vote for most avid fans must go to Indiana. The IU contingent arrived here earliest this week and has made its presence felt ever since.
Early Saturday morning, about 50 of them took over the tables of a downtown bar called Dr. Watson's. Took over the tables quite literally, standing on them to loudly sing the IU fight song. When they were finished, they sang the IU fight song again. And again. And again. And so on into the night.
"Understand this," said Fred Mayhew, Indiana class of '53, "the Big Ten plays great basketball but Indiana is the only true basketball school in the conference. Everyone else -- Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State -- it's football and basketball. With us, it's basketball. That's all."
There is a division among Indiana fans, however, over Coach Bob Knight. The alumni love him because he wins but many of them look the other way when he brings a donkey on his show wearing a Purdue hat.
"There's a definite division between the alumni and the students over Knight," said John Clark, a senior. "We all love him 'cause he's crazy, 'cause he says and does what he thinks at all times. The alums, they just wish he would win and keep quiet. All they care about is winning. We care about fun, too."
Clark was one of sixc members of his fraternity who drove 12 hours from Bloomington for the tournament. None of his compatriots thought too much of the ACC teams playing in the second game.
"This one's for the title," said Steve Walker. "This is the game of the tournament."
Naturally, the $64,000 question anywhere in town was, "Who's going to win." NBC's Billy Packer was asked the question so many times he finally developed a system.
"I give a different answer each time," Packer said. "I rotate among the four teams. That way, when this thing is over, at least 25 percent of the people will think I'm some kind of genius."
His partner, Al McGuire, had a different system. This morning, someone leaned across the railing and yelled, "hey, Al, who do you like?"
"Where you from?" McGuire asked.
"I like St. Joseph's," McGuire said.
Packer received something of a shock when he checked into his hotel late Thursday night. Several hours before, in Washington, it took him 40 minutes to get out of Capital Centre because everyone at the Capital Classic wanted an autograph or to have their picture taken with him.
When he arrived in Philadelphia, the man at the hotel counter said, "Mr. Packard? Is that P-a-c-k-a-r-d? No, nothing in your name sir."
"I'm a giant in Philly," Packer said.
If there is a buzz word here it is security. No one goes anywhere without a pass. And the security people are officious in carrying out their duty. They have made few friends among fans, coaches, media.
Friday afternoon, North Carolina Assistant Coach Eddie Fogler was standing outside the locker room waiting for Coach Dean Smith. A security man approached and demanded to see Fogler's pass.
Fogler produced it, then put it back in his pocket. "Keep it visible," the security man snapped. Fogler put it away, anyway.
"You have to leave then," the security man said.
At that moment, Smith came out. "Glad to," Fogler said, and left.
North carolina State Coach Jim Valvano, wearing an identification badge, started to walk cross court an hour before tipoff today to do a radio show. He was stopped by security. Valvano explained where he was going.
"I don't care where you're going," security said. "You don't have a press pass, you walk around."
But the ultimate incident came after Indiana's semifinal victory over LSU. Knight, after an on-court TV interview, was headed back to the press area when a security man stopped him and asked for his pass. Knight said he didn't have one. The security man said he couldn't go to the press area.
"I'm . . . going to go," the coach replied. "Try and stop me." Knight proceeded to walk around the security man, who started to chase him. At that point, NCAA officials intervened.
The Spectrum officials did little to endear themselves to fans by keeping the doors locked until little more than an hour before game time. That left a couple of thousand fans sitting on the steps outside the building; some of them had been there for several hours.
"They don't understand basketball fans," said North Carolina graduate student Burt Woodard. "Part of the fun is getting in early and going to find your friends and fool around."
The Spectrum people are definitely against fooling around.
Students are a rare commodity here. Woodard was one of 2,000 Carolina students who signed up for a lottery that gave the student body 240 tickets. That was the approximate allotment for each of the four schools. Much like the ACC tournament, it takes big money to get into the final four
"Alumni are great for waving shakers but that's about it," LSU history major Janie Allyson said. "If they let students in here, the place would really be loud."
Almost everyone here has a specific reason for loyalty to a school. Either they are alumni, students, officials or longtime fans from the area. One exception to the rule was Blair Nichols.
Nichols, 28, a financial analyst for the Ford Motor Co., flew in from Ann Arbor, Mich., and arrived at the Spectrum wearing a Virginia T-shirt. "Actually, my heart's with Indiana," he said. "But I drew Virginia in a 16-man office pool that's worth $500 so I'm going to root for Virginia. If they play in the final, though, I'm not sure what I'll do. I'll have to think about it."
At the end of the LSU bench today, dressed in a white sport coat, sat Mark Alcorn. For two games this season, Alcorn was part of the LSU team. He became sick and cancer was discovered. He was supposed to have major surgery Friday, but had it post-poned so he could be here.
"Just being here on the bench is my dream come true," Alcorn said. "The guys have made me feel like I'm still a part of it. The feeling is unbelievable, just being in the building."
Truly, Alcorn spoke for everyone.