June 12, 2009

If I Could Have A Day With The Stanley Cup

Each player on the team that wins the Stanley Cup famously gets to spend a day with it. And you also get the company of a "keeper," who is basically a roving curator from the Hockey Hall of Fame, whose job it is to see to it that Lord Stanley's Cup remains safe during your time with it.

Some odd things happen to the oldest and most venerated trophy in sports -- it has been placed in a Finnish sauna; found its way to the bottom of a swimming pool; has been used as a bowl to serve (among other things) Froot Loops, dog food, and ice cream; used as a baptismal font; and as one might imagine, has seen frequent use as an actual cup, from which beer, champagne, and other frequently alcoholic beverages are consumed at backyard barbeques, taverns, parties, social events, and of course, strip joints. None of this strikes me as particularly irreverent -- the Cup is about sports and fun. Somewhat more charitable or civic-minded players have auctioned off some of their time with the Cup to charitable events or used it as a morale-booster for Canadian military troops deployed overseas.

The original cup, commissioned by Frederick Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley of Preston, 16th Earl of Derby and Lord Stanley of Victoria, and the sixth Governor General of Canada, is not what is on the NHL trophy, and sits permanently in a vault in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

If I got to have the Cup, what would I do with it? It stands about three feet high and weighs more than 35 pounds, what with all the bands put on it for the many years it has borne the names of the players who have won it. It sounds like an ideal dispenser for cold bottled beverages at a party.

There is no more intense event in all of sports than game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The puck drops tonight at five o'clock in Detroit, and the line is 1.5 for Pittsburgh.

No comments: