Maybe it's because I'm from a generation that didn't get participation trophies and that had to build up its own self-worth and self-esteem--but I have a wierd "thing" about sports championhips. I bring this up following last week's well publicized purchase of a pawned-off Packers Super Bowl ring by a Neenah man--who says he plans to wear the ring out and about. For some reason, I have a problem with that--because he didn't "earn the right" to wear that ring. I'm sure the man who bought it is a very nice gentlemen--but he had absolutely nothing to do the team winning that championship.
I'll grant you, the woman who pawned the ring didn't make a single tackle or catch a single pass for the Packers--but maybe she booked the wedding reception in the Atrium that helped the team pay those that did. And I bet her paycheck still has the iconic "G" on the upper left-hand corner--making her at least a part of the franchise. I'd venture to say that she did more for the organization than any of the Board of Directors members who also got rings--and are the most likely to wear them based on the fact they always have them on when I meet those members.
When my beloved Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39-years last June, the team ran a number of on-line contests associated with the Championship. One of them was a raffle where the winner would get their own Stanley Cup ring. It would be modeled after the ring the players got--but would have your name on it. They also offered a contest where you could have the Stanley Cup for a Day--just like each of the players in the off-season. I did not enter either of those contests.
The ring drawing cost money--so that was right out the window for me--but I just couldn't see wearing the thing and having to admit that I got it just because my name was picked--not because I had anything to do with the Bruins franchise. As for Day with the Cup...I've had my picture taken with the Stanley Cup three or four times now. In none of those instances have I even touched the thing. Why? Because I believe touching the Cup is reserved strictly for those who have earned the right to not only touch the Cup--but to also have their name on the Cup. It irritates me when I see these chuckleheads at events hoisting it over their heads like they are the Captain of the winning squad who just had it handed to them by the Commissioner at center ice. My Day With the Cup would have been the most boring in history--since the guy with the white gloves would have been the only person touching it as I stopped at all my friends' houses.
A couple of years ago, my wife's employer held its annual awards banquet in Madison--and their guest speaker was Badger Women's Hockey Coach--and member of the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team--Mark Johnson. After finishing his speech about his experiences with that team, Coach Johnson told us that he had brought along his Gold Medal--and that he would be available for pictures with it when the banquet was done.
After knocking several women to the floor to get to the receiving line as quickly as possible, I saw that the early arrivals were not just having their picture taken with the medal--THEY WERE PUTTING IT ON THEIR NECKS!!! As my wife will attest to, I was really pissed off about that. They didn't earn the right to wear that medal! They didn't do all the "Herbies" at practice, they didn't score two goals against the most powerful team in the world in the Medal Round and they didn't rally in the 3rd period against Finland to clinch the medal--HOW DARE THEY PUT IT AROUND THEIR NECKS!!
When I finally got to the front of the line, Coach Johnson handed me the medal and I held it by the ribbon for our photo op. He asked if I wanted to put it on. I told him "No way, Coach--you earned the right to wear it--not me." And he gave me a smile that I thought said "I know that, and you know that--but we'll let the rest of these people feel special about themselves for a few minutes."