Monday, June 16, 2014

Point/Counterpoint: What to do when confronted with a Cup you didn't win

Photo courtesy of Crossing Broad
Welcome to another edition of Point/Counterpoint, where yours truly and another poor writer... duke it out over matters of extreme hockey importance. 

This time around, heading into the ring with me, it's the mastermind @4who4whatsports, as we discuss proper fan protocol when you're in the presence of a major professional sports trophy located in a likely place during an unlikely situation. 

One significant part of hockey's "Code," whether you believe it or not, revolves around the public and its right to handle the Stanley Cup once a team -- and it doesn't necessarily have to be the one you like or that's representing your hometown -- wins it and it is put on display or is carried by a winning player for their one day with the trophy. 

The Los Angeles Kings have wrapped up their second title in the last three seasons, and that means ex-Flyers and Jersey Shore homeowners Justin Williams and Jeff Carter will be bringing their silver, 35-pound reward to Margate and Sea Isle, respectively. It may be unlikely that the Philadelphia Flyers will win the Cup in our lifetimes, so what happened in 2012 with the Cup's tour of the Shore and what is likely to occur again this Summer is the closest many fans may get to see the oldest and most prestigious trophy in professional sports up close.

Is it your right to touch the Cup or not?

Point, Bob: It's been told and shown to me over the years by various hockey personnel (including Chris Therien and Keith Jones) that the "Code" is most likely to be obeyed, no matter how ridiculous the "rules" are at the moment -- like the furor and superstition about touching/not touching the Prince of Wales Trophy or Campbell Bowl before reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. Therefore, no member of the public should just up and touch the Cup when presented, and it should only be done once a player who has won it gives express permission.

Even then, it's verboten to lift it or drink from it, because the hard work and sacrifice as a fan to wait however long it was to witness the Cup up close isn't anything compared to the same experienced by the player who put in his time to win it. So, when you're out at the Jerome Avenue playground or sitting on a deck somewhere off Landis Avenue, just wait until a signal is given. If none is forthcoming, tough luck. See with your eyes, not with your hands.

Counterpoint, 4Who: Did I just play through the most emotionally and physically demanding tournament in the Big Four to win the best looking trophy in all of sports? No, I'm just some schlub who tweets during those games and makes snide remarks. But if you think that if I'm going to be in the immediate vicinity of the Stanley Cup and not touch it you're dead wrong, "Code" be damned. 

That being said, being the respectful person that I am, I definitely don't have the gall or stupidity to grab Lord Stanley's Cup without permission. Will it take every fiber in my being not to run over and lay a finger on it? Probably. Then again I didn't win the thing. So out of respect I'll wait until a member of the team offers the opportunity to touch, and if I'm lucky enough drink from, the Cup because they are the ones who put their blood, sweat and tears into winning the thing. If they so choose to let some random guy have that opportunity who am I to say no?

Bob: Scenario: we're finished with the SeaGoal Cup and through some machinations, bribery, internet stalking and plain ol' good luck, we end up at a certain Sea Isle condo owned by a certain Los Angeles King and the's right there in the living room. Every other partygoer, male and female, is fawning over the Cup, taking shots from the bowl, passing it around,. feeling it up, whatever. 

What do you do...what do you do?

I do nothing. Well, I try and locate at least one member of the winning team and make my intentions clear: one picture of me drinking out of the Cup, but only if two persons connected with the team lift it for me. If they agree to the plan, then I get one of the thrill moments of my life and a picture to last forever. But...if a winning member just waves it off and says they don't care what I do, then it's time to spring into action.

I quote the "Code" back and express my disappointment that a professional hockey player wouldn't abide by the rules, bacchanalia or not. This lack of aggression will not stand, man. Without the go-ahead, the closest I get is right next to the Cup, hands folded behind my back. Anything less would be uncivilized. 

4Who: You're worried about being civil at a house party in Sea Isle?

Alcohol adds a different variable to this argument. The deeper in the hole you are the more inhibition goes out the window. But let's say I'm fairly with it by the time we grace the Carter house and the Cup is being passed around (among other things), I may be feeling a little bullish and straight up ask if I can drink from it. Now, if they say no I might get us kicked out of said party but when they say yes I will be doing the holding. It is my Hockey Gods-given right to do so, in my opinion, because that might be the only way I ever get to be with the pristine 35 pounds of sterling silver. 

Don't give me that this would jinx the Flyers chance to win it all for years to come. For the same reasons no person should ever use "we" when discussing their favorite sports team, a fan has NOTHING to do with a teams success. Not that I don't believe in jinxes and bad juju but that is for players in the National Hockey League. Neither you or I are members the league nor the organ-eye-zation and because we are not we have zero involvement of the fortune and mojo of the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Bob: Ills, you ignorant slut.
Rules are rules and someone clean and sober has to enforce them. All the Hockey Gods do is based upon how we treat things down on Earth.  Maybe it's not about sinking any chances of this city winning or losing a Stanley Cup, but just for us to win or lose a SeaGoal Cup or league title. Either way, I'm not hedging.

See this? This is a major violation. It's TSN of Canada "reporter" Cabbie partying with the Cup, filled with
M&M's and he's holding it with both hands.

Last I checked, this guy is not a member of the Los Angeles Kings, its coaching staff, front office, nor does he hold a position in any NHL organization which has won it previously.

Media personages, myself included, are not exempt from the "Code." Maybe he received permission, but maybe not. My guess is, in this instance, he was just allowed to handle the thing in the middle of a celebration, which does not fly.

Therefore, Toronto gets five more years tacked onto its title drought, which has already reached 47 years. Can't risk that for the team I was taught to love and which I cover on a semi-regular basis.

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