In this Orange Update Exclusive, we’ve landed an interview with one of the most recognized and endeared Flyers fans out there, Shawny Hill, informally and popularly known as “The Dancing Guy”. Any Flyers Fan who has been to a game at the Wells Fargo Center has seen Shawn at his finest, during the third period of all Flyers home games, in section 219, dancing the night away and energizing the crowd during the crucial part of the games. Witnessing him dance live at the game is simply amazing! When the song finishes, and play continues, the ovation he gets is just bone-chilling. In our one on one interview with him, we wanted to get the real story out there and his take on being one of the most popular fans in the building every single game night in South Philadelphia.
OU: How did you get discovered by the Flyers? When did they first recognize you? What was the first game you were on the Jumbo-Tron?
SH:Well ironically, before the lockout I had danced on screen and won a Fan of the Game vote and got a $50 gift certificate to Fan Gear. But the whole “Dancin’ Shawny” thing started in a game against the Islanders in 2007, and after I danced Gagne scored on the Powerplay. They came back to me the next game and it kinda grew from there.
OU: What made you get up and start dancing in the first place?
SH: The first time it was just, nothing else was working. I felt I had to do something to get people cheering again, even if it was just for me goofing off. I pretty much was saying, “I’m not giving up on this team, let’s make some noise and see what happens.”
OU: You’ve got a whole lot of moves in your repertoire, where’d you learn to dance like that? And what’s your favorite one?
SH: I just kinda go with the flow. I try to think of funny things to do while dancing, but really people always want to see the same things, and in the end it’s about making the crowd get loud not a “perfect dance number”, haha. I would say my “favorite” is the teapot, because I just thought it would be real funny to have that change of pace and do something everyone knows but no one thinks to do…….in front of 20,000 people. The first time I did it, it resulted in my loudest non playoff ovation.
OU: What is your favorite song to dance to?
SH: I don’t really have a favorite, I have some go to songs, but I prefer the goofier funky ones as opposed to the traditional crowd pump ones. Seems to be a better reaction to “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” than there is to “Jump Around”.
OU: What’s going through your mind when the crowd erupts after you pump them up with those dance moves?
SH: It’s time to start a chant, capitalize on the noise! It’s a surreal feeling to have 19,995 (there’s always a few haters) cheering, but most of them realize the cheering is to lead into crowd noise which in this city, unlike any other, leads to a momentum swing.
OU: What was your favorite moment thus far since you’ve been “The Dancing Guy”, like what game was most memorable for you?
The Phillie Phanatic coming to my section and dancing with me, after they had won the World Series, was unbelievable. I immediately went back to being 5 years old, and it was just one of those “accepted” type moments from the city. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kof6b3G3s8&feature=related)
Another I’ll never forget is the 2008 Playoff series against Montreal in Game 4. The Habs just scored two third period goals to tie the score in the third and I still hadn’t appeared on screen yet. As the camera pointed to me during a late TV timeout, but before I appeared on the screen, some people around my section got excited and were yelling “Get ‘em goin Shawn!” and “Do it Dancin’ Guy!” It was such a pressure situation for the team, and a bit of a nervous one for the fans, and it hit me that maybe I wasn’t just a little chuckle during the games, that maybe I could be something that got people cheering for whatever reason. I dance; they go crazy, Briere scores on a following Power Play. It was unreal!
OU: Who is your favorite player? Currently and All Time?
SH: All time I’d have to say Ron Hextall, I started out as a goalie, and just the way he played and the way he made goaltending an intimidating position, and in this city the legend just grew. Currently, obviously I’m a Lappy fan. The guy is class and toughness and the reason why hockey players are the best of all the pro athletes. I also really like Mike Richards (when he’s playing like the Captain he can be) and Darroll Powe, who I think can be a real good Flyer if he gets a fair shot this year.
OU: I’m sure you are well aware of the “Sign Guy” and how he was an idol during the Spectrum days. We actually compare you to him, only your legacy is going to be known in this stadium, once the FU, then the Wachovia, and now the Well. How does it feel to have solidified your place in Flyers history?
SH: Well it’s an honor to have people associate me with this organization. However, in the end, like Sign Guy, I’m just doing my part as a fan. People start chants, or have good luck charms, or get their section pumped. I’ve been lucky enough that my fellow Flyers fans have allowed me to have a special place in their game day. Personally, it’s been a magical time for me. There’s always a moment right before the I start dancing where I kinda laugh at how amazing this all is, and how thankful I am to have Flyers fans support me as they have.
OU: What’s your official prediction for this year? What are we looking at with this Flyers team this year? Solid D, deep top 3 lines… What’s getting you the most pumped about this year?
SH: I always try to stay away from predicting because I think it’s really a luck thing to get it right, haha. I am confident going into this season, and really am looking forward to starting with a whole team on the same page when it comes to Laviolette’s system. I also think we have a little more depth this year all around, especially as you said on Defense. Health is going to be the big issue this season, if we stay healthy we can be an elite team. Goaltending will always be the issue, but that’s not to say we can’t be successful with it. This team reminds me a little of the 2004, who if it wasn’t for a bad Game 7, would have won the Stanley Cup.
OU: And we have to know, are we going to see the return of that epic playoff beard you had last year? That alone could bring the Cup back to Philly.
SH: Of course! The Playoff beard is one of my favorite traditions (especially now that we can raise money for Flyers Charities through Beard-a-thon) and with last year’s long run it got pretty big. Hopefully this season I can grow it 2 wins longer!
So there you have it, the real story of Shawny Hill, and his rise to stardom amongst the Flyers faithful at the Wells Fargo Center. We’d like to thank Shawn for taking the time to give us this exclusive interview, and also for continuing to pump up fans every game. It takes a lot to inject life into a crowd, during wins and losses throughout the whole season, and Shawny, we commend you for that.
You can follow Shawny on Twitter and Facebook from the links below! Also check out his T-Shirt, only $9.99!