Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Rags to Riches

TELL ME, O MUSE, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by the sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hypterion; so the god pevented them from reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them
-- Homer

Friends, I return to you with an epic tale. A tale so fantastic in character that it might be confused for fiction. But I assure you, every word of the following account is true.

There were 9 of us scattered throughout the Saddledome. Matt's Dad and the trio of ladies were down in the lower bowl with some company tickets, two other friends were in some sort of box with company tickets, and Matt, Dirk, and I were up in the nosebleeds. And when I say nosebleeds, I mean the very last row -- where you could reach up and touch the saddle. We could see the entire ice surface, but various pipes blocked off all but the first 7 rows on the other side of the arena.

Naturally, I was wearing my Oilers sweater while my companions were wearing their Flames gear. I hadn't gone into the game thinking that I would actually cheer for Nashville. I had intended to go in as a rather impartial observer - if anything cheering against overtime. However, when the "Oilers Suck" chants started to rain down on my head it was clear that I was a Preds fan. I have to say, some of those Flames fans are pretty witty: "Hey Oilers fan . . . you stink."

Just before the game starts, I head down to get a beer, and as I'm making my way to the end of the line I overhear a bunch of guys in Flames sweaters asking a very large man in a very large suit to throw me out of the building. When the suit turns around it turns out to be Flames owner Ken King. He walks over to me and says, "What were you thinking wearing that sweater here?" To which I reply, "I was thinking that five cups is better than one." But, in order to actually not get thrown out I quickly followed it up with "But I appreciate all the good work you are doing with the Flames to try to catch up."

At this he smiles, shakes my hand, and says "Well, thanks for coming - despite your proclivities."

I thought that was both funny and gracious of him. Proclivities -- like cheering for the Oilers is deviant or something. What a guy.

Anyway, I get my beer, strap on the crampons, and begin the long hike back up to the seats. About every ten steps someone hurls an insult my way, which acts to significantly improve my disposition towards Kariya et al.

I really think I rattled the fans, though, because there were a great deal more "Oilers Sucks" chants than "Nashville Sucks". I honestly believe that wearing that Oilers sweater up there really threw the fans off their game.

Anyway, between periods we go down to meet up with the other members of our party. Between the first and second Mrs. Sacamano comes running up to me excited as can be. It turns out that their seats are three rows in front of the Flames Owners Box! Even better is that she actually knows someone who is sitting in the owners box!! Even better than that is that this person has an extra ticket!!!

To make a long story short, Mrs. Sac spent part of the second period in the Flames owners' box, and I spent most of the third period in there -- wearing my Oilers sweater. Sadly, I apparently just missed meeting King for the second time. I would have loved to have had that conversation. I will say that even I knew that while sitting there it would be a terrible idea to openly and loudly cheer for Nashville. In fact, everyone in there was so darn nice to me -- despite the sweater -- that I almost felt bad when the Flames blew another two goal lead. Almost.

Other random funny things:

- the guy in full out Flames garb who pulled me aside and said, "I secretly like your jersey".

- the fact that there are TV's running only ads above every urinal in the place.

Overall it was one heck of a night. And Kudos to Mr. King and the other Flames owners who really were fantastic. And of course, kudos to Matt and Mrs. Matt for setting the whole thing up. Good times.


Yer fulla crap, Sack-man. You never would have got into the owner's box wearing an Oilers sweater. Next thing you'll be telling us that you pulled on Harvey the Hound's tongue.

Awesome. I just watched the Seinfeld episode where Elaine gets kicked out of the Yankees owners box for wearing the Orioles hat. Talk about serendipity. Unless this is a Senifeldian hoax of yours.

I have a friend who lives in Calgary, and his goal is to buy a jersey of every other team in the league so that he can always show up opposing the Flames.

You're right anonymous (Matt?) I forgot to report that I did pull on Harvey's tongue (while still up in the cheap seats). I can confirm that it is very firmly attached these days.

Great story.

Would it have been as much fun to wear a Wild sweater in Rexall Place (Center? Promenade?) tonight? I expect so.

For a team that can 'score at will' the Oilers don't score so much lately. Maybe they've lost the will?

Go Flames.

The Oilers play better with Markkanen or Morrison in net. Conklin kills their spirit. Why he is still with us, I don't know.

Other random funny things: the guy in full out Flames garb who pulled me aside and said, "I secretly like your jersey"

Insert your own Brokeback Mountain joke here.

Insert your own Brokeback Mountain joke here.

Didn't Kinky Friedman write a song many years ago on that very subject called "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other"?

Did you know that Oilers rearranged spell I loser?

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