Chris Chelios, Lord Stanley, and Me

September 3, 2002

 

Ok, so there I was at the Cubs game Tuesday night, doing my usual thing on Waveland -- waiting for home run balls and checking out the local scenery -- when I see this bus stop in front of the Engine Co. 78 firehouse, and a bunch of guys get off and start walking down Waveland Ave. It's Chris Chelios, surrounded by a security detail, carrying the Stanley Cup!  Pretty soon a crowd has gathered and as they make their way towards Murphy's, I maneuver myself fairly close to Chelios and the Cup and Dave takes my picture as we’re walking down Waveland.

Me, Cheli, and the Cup walking on Waveland Ave outside of Wrigley Field – 9/3/02

 

Pretty cool, eh?  Me next to Cheli and the cup, walking down the street?  But wait, there's more....

 

So now we're in the back at Murphy's. The Stanley Cup is on the bar, Chelios is leaning against the rail (he's totally ripped) and the security detail is doing an excellent job of keeping all the drunken guys away from the Cup, and letting all the pretty girls come up and talk to Chelios. As a red-blooded American male, I'd have to say I'd do the same thing if I were them. Still, I managed to snake my arm in there and actually touch the Stanley Cup.

 

Even cooler, eh?  I mean, to actually touch the ultimate symbol of possibly the most exciting sport in the land?  But wait, there's still more....

 

Now a couple of bartenders start cracking open Bud Lights and pouring them into the Cup. I'm thinking "Whoaaaa, Cheli’s going to chug from the Cup." But like I said, he is totally ripped already, so he just faces the crowd, holds the Cup out in front of him, and starts tilting it towards whoever is lined up in front. I don't mean to offend the deeply religious out there, but damn if it doesn't turn into some kind of [un]holy communion. 

 

So everyone starts pushing and shoving, trying to get in there so they can have a taste of history. Of course, I'm right in there with them, and drawing on some of my bodychecking experience from my younger days, I was fortunate enough to be one of the few to drink from the Stanley Cup before they had to pull back and settle the crowd down.

 

And yes, I've heard the stories as to what's gone on (or in) the Stanley Cup over the years.  So I did have a brief moment of trepidation before imbibing, but it's been almost 24 hours and I'm still breathing, so I think I'll survive.

 

Anyway, I think my fifteen minutes of fame are starting to run out, but my oh my, it's been a glorious ride.  As for this latest chapter -- well, coming from someone who spent their TV childhood watching Hockey Night in Canada with Howie Meeker and Don Cherry, it doesn't get much better than this...