August 22, 2011
What trophy would you like to hold without having to win it?
Today is the last day of a two-week trip with our grandson by car, plane and sailboat. We should be driving home with great memories and, hopefully, ready to resume work.
As I wrote in the post on August 15, I am changing the format of Support4Change and will eliminate some of the sections, one of which will be Take-a-Breaks. As I noted in that post, I created a “Fond Farewell” category for the blog and am including a few articles that won’t be in the new website.
This is the second in that series.
The article Holding a Champion’s Trophy was inspired by Joel Stein, the irreverent commentator of TIME magazine after I read his May 21, 2001, article called “My Day with the Stanley Cup,” which began, “My first clue that the National Hockey League is not a well-run organization came when they offered to give me the Stanley Cup for a day.”
It was a wise decision on Joel’s part to begin by telling me why the 3 foot, 35 pound Cup was important enough to merit the fuss it got, since I’m not what one could remotely call a fan of sports, let alone a fan of testosterone on ice in which players seem as interested in hitting one another as in hitting the puck. (But you’ll notice that I do know enough to call that round thing they chase with sticks a puck, though I don’t know what they call the sticks.)
Anyway, it seems that Joel had a blast lugging this thing around town. He began with a half hour in the office as “every member of TIME’s tech department had his picture taken with the cup.” (Don’t any women work for the tech department or is Joel Stein just not politically correct?) Then he put it in the case (apparently under the supervision of the cup’s chaperone and curator, Phil Pritchard) and wheeled it to a pawn shop, where the shop owner appraised the silver at $250. When several businessmen spotted it and came rushing in, the owner raised her bid to $1,000.
This gave Joel an idea and he returned to TIME and organized a Foosball tournament in which the winner would get a half hour with the Cup. Next, he and Phil went to the Grill Room at the Four Seasons, a place where it’s extremely hard to get a table for lunch. However, that wasn’t a problem because Joel simply told the managing partner, “I don’t have a reservation, but I do have the Stanley Cup.” This not only got him a table — where the Cup could be admired by fellow diners who cell-phoned assistants to bring a camera so they could get their picture taken with the Cup — it also gave them a free meal.
What Would I Do With a Trophy For a Day?
The story of Joel’s experience with the Stanley Cup started me thinking about what I would do if I could have such a trophy for a day. And although I don’t know as much about sports as my son-in-law, who plays in one of those fantasy baseball tournaments and reads sport statistics for fun, I do know enough to have held an Olympic gold medal. Really. Honest. No lie.
It happened this way. My husband I were flying back home from a vacation in 1992 and the stewardess made the announcement that on board were members of the Spanish soccer team who had just won a gold medal in Barcelona for their defeat of Poland 3-2. Everyone applauded. Since they were sitting behind us, we got to talking and they were kind enough to let us (and some other passengers) hold the medal in our hands. So I did hold a gold medal — though my claim to fame in having it was about as flimsy as Joel’s claim to the Stanley Cup.
Anyway, there are lots of awards for sports. You can get cups that travel from team to team like the America’s Cup and the Heisman Trophy and individual prizes like those Olympic gold medals. You have lots sports to choose from. For example, there are NASCAR races and golf tournaments, the Pinewood Derby and hang gliding. (What do you receive if you win the top prize in hang gliding? Maybe you just get to continue breathing a bit longer.)
What Trophy Would You Like to Hold?
And if you don’t give a flea’s sneeze for any sports, how about an Oscar or Tony, a Nobel prize, an Agatha Award for the best mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie, the Newberry and Caldecott medals for children’s books, the LAME prize for electrical engineering, etc., etc., etc.
There are awards and prizes that any of us may secretly wish to have, even if for only a short while. Of course, if we had it, we could only reflect in the glory that someone else earned through hard work and long practice, but still, it would be fun to speculate on what we’d do if we could have such a prize in our possession.
What would you do? What prize would you like to have? It could even be the prize that you still think you should have won in the third grade when little Carl Freeman cheated by knocking you to the side when the teacher wasn’t looking and putting his foot over the finish line a second before you could recover.
It might be fun to ask your friends and family what trophy, plaque, medallion, prize, or honor they would want to have and how they would spend twenty-four hours if they had it. Such fantasy is good for the imagination — and the best part is that it doesn’t take any effort or energy.
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Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website: