An afternoon with the Stanley Cup

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Wish I was in Bonavista this afternoon for Michael Ryder’s Stanley Cup celebration.

As a lifelong hockey fan, it’d be quite a thrill.

It would also bring back memories from the afternoon I spent with the Cup 11 years ago.

Sports greatest prize was in the province on a promotional visit for the playoffs, and I lucked into having it brought to my old office soI could write about it.

Here’s an abbreviated version of what I wrote for now defunct Express newspaper April 5, 2000:

 

Hey Stanley Cup, whaddayat?

It’s OK if I call you Stanley, is it?

Or do you prefer Mr. Cup?

Or do you like Stanley Cup better?

Ahhh... uhhh... you’re not saying much, so we’ll go with Stanley.

OK?

Sorry for the nervous babbling, but it’s not everyday a man meets the object of his youthful affection.

Stanley, until Grade Seven, I wanted to hold YOU — not those cootie-stricken girls that have held my attention ever since.

You wouldn’t believe the number of times I dreamt about scoring the winning goal in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final and then, in total jubilation, hoisting you high above my head.

You couldn’t count the times that, while playing street hockey, I pretended to net the goal that allowed me to kiss you.

Stanley, I guess you know my name was never engraved on your side.

If truth be known, “Steve Bartlett” has never been etched into anything athletic.

I suck at sports.

I’m closer to being a Stanley Roper than a Stanley Cup winner.

Actually, I’ll be honest; I’m a little bitter.

Why wasn’t I good enough to play in the National Hockey League and win a championship?

Having my name on your side would have given me so many things — fame, fortune, and one of those beautiful... rrrrrrr... hockey wives.

What the heck was so special about Henri Richard? You let him hold you 11 times.

How could you let an unskilled plumber like Mario Roberge enjoy the passion of winning the title and drinking champagne from your chalice?

Why, Stanley, have those blasted Habs won so much and those wonderful Maple Leafs so little?

I know, Stanley.

Too many questions.

People tell me that all the time.

It’s an occupational hazard; one I wouldn’t have if you let me play in the NHL and win the championship.

If you let me skate in the big leagues, I wouldn’t be working right now.

I’d be in a play-off race, filthy rich and in awesome shape with washboard abs.

I’d have my own hockey card and I’d likely own a restaurant named Stevie’s.

And I wouldn’t have bank loans or be driving a Ford Escort, that’s for sure...

I’m sorry Stanley. Really sorry.

But maybe you’re taking me the wrong way.

It’s just that, not so long ago, I would have given anything to win you.

In fact, for a while, I even thought about trying to goon my way through hockey’s ranks for the taste of your victory.

Stanley, crab fisherman from the Northern Peninsula punch really hard, you know.

Regardless of my failed dreams, I still love you with as much passion as a man could love a cup — except a protective cup, of course, but that’s a different kind of love.

Stanley, you don’t seem to be listening.

You are mad.

I’m feeling a little guilty.

You came into my office out of the blue and all I do is rant.

I really didn’t want to make you angry.

Come here, let me give you a big hug.

There, that was nice, wasn’t it?

Now that we’re warm and cosy, welcome to St. John’s, Stanley.

It’s a pleasure to have you...

I know you have to go soon.

That’s too bad because I have so many questions.

I want to ask things like...

Are you and Stanley’s Steamer named after the same guy?

Who was better, Gretzky or Lemieux?

Why hasn’t a Newfoundlander ever won an NHL championship?

Why does it cost so much to play hockey these days?

Why does everyone use different words when singing O Canada?

Has anyone ever poured a Blue Star in your top and drank it?

Did Bob Cole ever use you to deep fry toutons?

Anyway, you have to go.

Before you leave, I’ll likely never see you again — so would it be OK if we kissed?

 

Email Steve at sbartlett@thetelegram.com. Follow him on Twitter at bartlett_steve.

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