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The Cup Runneth Over (03/02/04) --
When I heard on the radio the other day that the Stanley Cup was going to make its first ever trek to the city made most famous by the movie that filmed zero scenes here or by helping supply Grand Forks with millions of gallons of water with which to flood itself, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity. The last exciting thing that came to Fargo was me, so I was ready for something out of the ordinary.

Last Friday evening, my roommate and I braved the unusually warm evening and headed to the local shopping mall where Lord Stanley’s punch bowl would be making an appearance. I knew that it was going to cost five dollars to get up close and personal with the Cup, so I was prepared to pay. I didn’t know, however, if I should expect to be able to walk right up it and get my picture taken or if I would have to wait in line until Saturday morning for that to happen. Knowing how things like these usually work, I expected the latter.

The first thing that should be pointed out is that the Cup was being displayed in the food court, a relatively new wing of the mall that I have probably been in five times total. So while it was strange entering through the doors in front of Subway, Taco John’s, etc., I had my eyes thoroughly transfixed on the prize. The downside to this location wasn’t immediate until I ran into no short of three people that I don’t see that often who were eating there. So while they were all anxious to renew acquaintances, I kept my eye on the hordes of hockey jersey wearing fans streaming in the door and into line. True, this is my fault for going so close to supper time, but these people can call me if they want to chat. I had a Cup to touch. (It’s not like it sounds)

Finally we were able to get into a line that looked not unlike those winding lines at theme parks where you stand there for an hour while physically moving a distance of about ten yards. The beginning of the line formed right by the curtained off Cup area, so naturally I peered in through the crack to look at what I was about to pay to see.

It was at this time that I heard someone say something like, “Stop it. Hey, you, stop it.” If I would have had to speculate at that time, of the thousands of people in the Food Court at this point, I would’ve put myself right behind the clerk at Grandma Dee’s Doughnuts as the most likely to be reprimanded. But the guy behind me pointed out that it was indeed me who was getting told to stop doing what I was doing. I turned to see a, how can I put this, very whale-ish woman in a security uniform telling me that I wasn’t allowed to look through the crack at the Stanley Cup.

(Insert your own disbelieving profanity here)

Yes, that’s right friends; it was actually illegal this night to look at the Stanley Cup until you had paid to do so. And it was an extra special kick in the junk that this reprimand came from a security guard who was about as athletic as the Rock of Gibraltar. I could have ran up, taken the Cup, relieved myself into it, and then hoisted up again to dump the contents on her head by the time she would have moved far enough to even give the faint impression of “running.”

Times got better though, as the guy who alerted me to the security wench told me a story about meeting Gordie Howe. It seems that Gordie Howe came here last year and the newspaper advertised “Go to the Radisson and meet Gordie Howe!” So, naturally, he did. What they didn’t advertise was the fact that you had to go to a roped off area, purchase a $50 bobblehead, and only then did you get to meet Gordie Howe.

The only person’s bobblehead I would pay $50 for is Jesus Christ’s and you know that privately I would still be complaining that "this better pay off on Judgment Day."

With that nugget of info, $5 to see the Cup didn’t seem so bad. Neither did the line, for that matter, which looked large but actually moved from fat lady to Cup in a solid fifteen minutes. After watching entire families go up and ogle the Cup, tell stories about it, and take a nap beside it, I was primed to go up and do so myself.

When my time came, I went right up and started to look at it and trace it with my fingers. Now, I didn’t want five minutes with the thing. I just wanted the thirty seconds everyone else was taking. And all I really wanted to do was pick out a name I recognized.

“Hurry up, people are waiting” is what I heard after probably ten seconds of Cup viewing. I turned my deaf ear to this noise, finally spotting Kirk Maltby (talk about star power) of the 2001-02 Red Wings. When I turned to see who was yelling at me, there was another overweight person, only this time it was an old man (Click on the picture to the right. You can actually see his gut sticking out from behind the Hall of Fame guy's body. I wish I was making that up.) I’m not going to tell anyone how to do their job, but I think there should be some weight parameters in place in regards to the people charged with protecting the Cup from armed bandits. In what was a complete middle finger move to those giving me a hard time, I threw my arm around it, grimaced like I was crushing it, and lifted my arm in defiance for my picture. The people behind me, having been hassled themselves, cheered for me as the picture was snapped.

People asked if I was worried I’d get yelled at again, but like I said then, I was going to be out the door in ten seconds anyway, so they could complain all they want. My last order of business was to get my picture taken with the guy who travels with the Cup. He didn’t feel he was worthy of a photo, but I’m sure it made his day to be actually recognized. After all, it must be kind of a blow to the self-esteem when a 35-pound piece of silver gets all the attention and you have to talk to the portly security people the whole time.

So for all the troubles and annoyances, I got what I wanted: One sweet picture with the Stanley Cup. I also got a column out of the deal so for five dollars, I guess I can’t complain.

But I have and I will.

The Leonardite
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Dedicated to The Stick