The Real Final Buzzer is when the Street Lights Come On…

22Feb10

That Timmy’s commercial with Sidney Crosby still gives me goosebumps every time I see it…

Last week I heard a story that hit home with me…and for no real reason other than the fact it was a genuine feel good story. No barriers were crushed, no obstacles overcome, no ‘Road to the Gold’ mentality…it was just a feel-good story, one that if you weren’t paying attention, would probably go unnoticed.

A colleague of mine in Montreal was the one who told me the story, and was able to give me goosebumps at 5:00 on a Tuesday afternoon when most people were taking off for the train ride home, the first day back after the long weekend (God bless family day).

We were promoting the Stanley Cup Playoffs at work as our sales teams went out pitching to the media buyers, and with them was the one of the most iconic hockey figures you will ever come across. The shimmer will make you look twice….hockey fan or not. The stories, the legacy…the tears of happiness and the tears of defeat suddenly rush to the forefront of everyone’s emotion once the first glimpse of this figure is seen. I have seen many grown men, in the best shape anyone can be, be beat up and beat down all over the ice – take sticks, pucks, and fists to the mouth, and still push on. But the first time they lay eyes on this icon they become children..most if not all…weep.

The Stanley Cup has a way of touching everyone it surrounds and this story is an example of it.

Father & son – playing hockey on the backyard rink (I swear this wasn’t scripted, but someone get Tim Hortons or MasterCard on the phone..) the little boy filled with the genuine love of the game, out to all hours of the night (or if you lived in my house, until the street lights came on…that was the ‘final buzzer’). No CBA could taint this kids view of hockey (note I didn’t say NHL) – watching his stars is one thing – flying down the ice pretending to be those God-like figures is another. He shoots and scores, and each goal is as exciting as his first. He’s a kid. He’s a fan. He’s the root of all real sports fans.

His father organized a game in his backyard and had it fixed that his son would score the overtime winning goal because he knew that there wasn’t a single thing on earth that would make this kid smile more than that goal.

It went off without a hitch – the friendly game of pick-up with friends and family went to sudden death, and the little boy got his goal. On top of the world.

His father then surprised him with a mock Stanley Cup, crafted mostly with tin foil and scotch tape. The kind we’ve all had at one point (mom always knew where to look when a roll of tin foil and 3 tupperware containers were missing). The boy was so happy and excited and he turned to his father and said…. “Dad, one day I’m going to win the Stanley Cup…and I’m going to give it you”

And that was that.

Not many children can grow up to actually do what this little boy had promised – and for every one that is able to, there are thousands who are handing the tin foiled Becel containers to their children, hoping to bring them the joy that every little kid dreams of as they sit in front of the TV watching the legends take the ice.

Well the final stop of the Stanley Cup Roadshow in Montreal was the basement of the colleague who told me this story where he invited friends, family and clients over for a social gathering – to trade their fondest Hockey Night in Canada stories (we are with CBC after all), remembering when they pretended to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug into the air, just like Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and the rest of them did – and here it was, right here in the basement of a home where no hockey legends (on-ice) lived – nothing but a bunch of fans, decked out in their favourite team’s jerseys with the names and numbers on the back.

Well the colleague of mine had to call his one buddy and tell him to come over because he had a surprise for him in the basement. So he agreed, grabbed the keys, asked his son if he would like to go for a ride – which he did, and off they went. They got to the house and were met by 80 pairs of shoes (they were counted) and they headed toward the basement where all the commotion was.

They got down the stairs and in the middle of the room there it was. The Stanley Cup. Drinks were flowing, people were laughing and talking – most crowded around the bar where Mike Bolt (the keeper of the cup) told another one of his famous stories – he’s got a good Chris Chelios one – but in the middle of the room…the most silent, yet speaking the loudest – was Lord Stanley.

The father and son walked over to it and as people moved away giving them both a clear shot at it, the son looked at his father and without skipping a beat said:

“Told you…”

…for everything else…there’s MasterCard.

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