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"Why I Shouldn't Own the Team" mind matters
October 24, 2002
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One of my family members is thinking about buying the Buffalo Sabres. It's an exciting idea. Many of my relatives are huge hockey fans, and I can imagine their pride should they become owners. I hope the decision and purchase work out to their satisfaction.

I, on the other hand, don't know too much about hockey. In fact, I know almost nothing. Were I the owner of the team, I would have absolutely no idea what to do with it. While my cousin is likely to improve the quality of the franchise and even the sport, and to raise everyone's spirits, my ignorant tomfoolery would probably drive it into the ground. In fact, it's a good thing that I'm not going to be owner. Want to know why? In the spirit of good fun, I'll tell you.

First off, I'd develop some charitable but bizarre product tie-ins. I've always been interested in the ecclectic over the obvious. So forget breakfast cereals and candy bars. It'll be Sabre Lager and Sabre Shampoo. A Sabres toothpaste? Mmm, maybe not.

Id throw a party and add the entire team to my invitation list. For Halloween, I could have the players dress up in ripped clothes and chains, like evil spirits. Before the party, to help me set up, they could line up in a human relay between my house and the supermarket, and carry in the groceries. Then Id teach them to cook.

If I owned a hockey team, nobody in town would need to shovel their driveways after a heavy snow. In the spring, Ill ask them to use their sticks to clean the gutters on my house. And chase away the pigeons. Maybe theyll help repair any new potholes in the streets, too.

Theres a middle school up the street. Maybe I could author a skit, giving each player a cool part. I bet the kids would love it. My story could be about the lonely goalie who never gets to leave the net while the other players skate around the whole rink. It would have a happy ending, where the goalie himself wins the game when all the other players are squeezed into the penalty box for being mean.

Why buy only one hockey team? Suppose I bought all the hockey teams. The NHL has 32 of them. Id assemble them into a giant singing choir, and wed sing traditional songs by Vaughn-Williams, plus a few Latin madrigals. Maybe they could deliver singing telegrams to my friends, too. With so many hockey players available, Id build houses for the city homeless, and start a soybean farm out here in the suburbs.

On weekends Id borrow the parking lot in the center of town and teach everyone the Chinese Checkers variation of hockey, in which four teams start in the lots corners and then attempt to travel to their opposite corners faster than the other teams. As the players get better, well start dropping in obstacles like giant tractors and angry goats.

Meanwhile, Id never have to drive anywhere, because they could carry me. Alongside us, other players would play "Sabre Dance" on xylophones and tympani. My friends will see me, carried down the center of the street, and ask me where Im going.

To the game, Ill say.

And Ill be right.

See? I should never own a hockey team.

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Copyright 2002 Seth Maislin


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