Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh The Fates, Ye Be Cruel

Ok, let's be honest here. No one actually wants a championship ring so they can wear it. They're gaudy, heavy clunky things that attract way more attention than most people are comfortable with in their private lives and not always the good kind.

But they're also really, really cool to look at. Duh.

Who wouldn't want a championship ring of some sort, really? They're fun to show off and a sense of great pride if acquired through an actual accomplishment even if it spends all of its time in your safety deposit box. Of course some people just want them because of their value and will acquire them through whatever means they wish, which is surprisingly easy if you've got a big bank account.

Finding rings in eBay auctions (some more bizarre than others) isn't all that unusual, and seeing them randomly wind up in pawn shops isn't so rare either. Of course, sometimes the means aren't all that legitimate.

So I hear the questions. "Dave, why are you talking about this? You're never going to get a championship ring for yourself. You're just a wee wannabe sportswriter." True, this statement may be, but working for a team professionally has been a thought in the back of my mind from time to time, and regardless, having a championship ring of any sort would be pretty sweet, even if I had to keep it locked up at all times. A burden, sure, but one I'd love to have even if it were just for bragging rights, but either way, it's never been a prospect I've thought I'd have a real shot at or seriously entertained.

And then I came across this story.

Those Chicago Blackhawks were quite a fun team to watch this year, but as I've pointed out on more than one occasion, I was rather excited to see them win the whole shabang even if they weren't the New Jersey Devils. Ever since I worked as an intern for the Blackhawks during my senior year of college four years ago, I have had a soft spot in my heart for the Hawks, both as someone who has seen the inner workings of a professional sports franchise and as someone who still has friends in the organization. It is disconcerting to see that they still lost money this season despite partying with Stanley, but that is likely a remnant of the antiquated business practices of former owner Bill Wirtz, who famously refused to broadcast home games on TV. The team should turn a profit this coming season and be well on its way.

I was more struck by this part of the article, however:

"There's definitely no penny-pinching going on. Among those set to receive Stanley Cup rings next season include the team's interns."

They're giving rings to everyone. They're giving rings to interns. It's hard to play the what-if game here, but I think you all can see what I'm getting at here, which, essentially, is that, if I were four years younger, I would be getting some new hardware this summer.

I would have a Stanley Cup championship ring.

This is, of course, a very silly and abstract argument to make since being four years younger likely would have led me on an entirely different path through my life. That is probably pretty clear. Moreover, considering that Chicago finished last in its division the year I worked there, a title was hardly a plausible idea at the time. But it's still fun to dream and in my mind, I apparently came oh so close to bragging to all of my friends over a dramatically undeserved piece of jewelry.

So close, and yet so far away.

There is some better news however, which is that the tickets to my next planned venture have arrived. Now, it won't be the next unusual stadium I make my way to. My sister and I will likely be at the Giants-Rockies game in San Francisco on August 30th and there is a very slim chance that I might get to knock Dodger Stadium off the list on September 1st to make up for last week's near miss after my sister and I drive down the California coast.

But barring that, my next big trip will be to Indianapolis to see the quadrennial Manning Bowl with Dov Turner. The Giants visit the Colts once every eight years and with the next time coming on September 19, I will be there in the very last row of Lucas Oil Stadium to watch Big Blue spoil the AFC Champions' home opener after some banner raising fanfare.

Excited? You bet. I'll be sure to post a story once the trip is complete and with the Mets being a completely unmitigated disaster these days, I was happy to receive something to take my mind off the pain.

It may not be a Stanley Cup Championship ring, but today it will have to do.

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