Sunday, June 4, 2006

Sign my ballcap, you autograph monkeys!


mike w said...

The last Oilers autograph I ever got was when I was six, and Kevin Lowe rather incredibly walked by my school.

Since then, I've always been partial to completely ignoring celebrities, although I can't say I've been tested a whole lot in Toronto when I see dripwads like Jian Gomeshi or Leah McLaren walking down College Street.

Pleasure Motors said...

When I was in Grade Five, Dave Semenko of all people came to my school to give a motivational talk. What the motivation was, I forget (if someone is making you money, protect them at all costs?), but it was part of some special day with a few speakers, and even though the others were completely uninteresting stiffs (I think maybe some Olympian who had never won a medal, and maybe a local news personality, but it's sketchy) they announced there would be an autograph session with all three at lunch, as if a bunch of 10-year-old boys were going to line up to get "Daryl Roberts - God Bless" on their Oilers hats.

Anyway, the class before lunch for me was Computers (I'm pretty sure that was actually what it was called), and since I finished my work early that day, I got to play games, which meant playing Oregon Trail. I was really getting into the game, across a river, no oxen lost, no dysentery, when the lunch bell rang, but since we were allowed in the computer room at lunch anyway, and I didn't want to have to restart after my run of good luck, I asked the teacher if I could just stay, and she said yes, evidently completely missing the fact I was in a thick, blue, old-school Oilers logo sweatshirt and had a brought a small black book that actually had the word "Autographs" written in seven-year-old, full-fist letters (I'd had the book for a while, and it was still pretty empty, actually).

So I trekked my way across America, completely oblivious to the fact there was anything other than kickball going on around the school at this time. This feeling was aided by the fact that my friend was also in the computer room, playing Number Crunchers as I recall, though he was a poor barometer of Oiler-related activity in the area, as he was an asthmatic who started playing Axis & Allies in the fourth grade, and so was not the type who could name the entire 1987-88 Oilers lineup. Though I guess that's neither here nor there.

So anyway, I played until my friend got up, saying something about how he actually wanted to eat before class was back in. Then I realized it. Class was back in about five minutes, which meant I didn't have time to eat my pudding and get Dave Semenko's name in my book. I bolted to my locker, fought with my stupid, crappy Master lock that would not let you go over even half of one number while spinning, grabbed a baloney sandwich and a chewed pen, shoved the sandwich into my mouth and ran, barely chewing, down the hall toward the gym. The bell rang just before I hit the doors, but the gym was long empty, as ours was a small school, and 30 minutes was more than enough time for Dave Semenko to scribble 200-odd names while Swimmer Guy and Gord Steinke made small talk.

Just across the short side of the gym, the tables were being put away, and Dave Semenko now had a big, black jacket on and was shaking our principal's hand. I ran towards him, pen tucked in the appropriate place in book, on the verge of tears, yelling, "Mr. Semenko!" before he crouched down (he's about six kinds of big) and took my book. Three seconds, smille, hand shake later, and I smiled until I told my dad the story over beef stroganoff that night.

I would later go on to lose the autograph through carelessnes, and feel absolutely no real remorse whatsoever, other than a vague frustration about having a bad memory and being messy. Regardless, though, it meant a lot at the time, and it hurts a lot to see the dead, meaningless look in the eyes of both players and the soulless automatons throwing hats at them, likely only vaguely aware of their minutes played in Game Four, or power play assists in the playoffs (though I will say the filming couple seems much more agreeable than hat guy). I'm not saying all autographs are meaningless, but for the love of God, maybe a few kind words not directly related to the signing, in recognition of the human being you just talked to being more than a jersey with a pen?

the Prez said...

Very touching!

I think we used to play something called Yukon Trail in school. I was very bad at it, as I recall. There was also another game where you had to find some cure for the Incans. It involved going fishing with a spear, but I only managed to catch logs.

And Jian Gomeshi may be a dripwad, but he's a dangerously attractive dripwad.

sacamano said...

You just made me cry PM. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Steve said...

1. I believe it was called "Number Munchers", not "Number Crunchers", even though the latter name is clearly superior by virtue of including a pun.

2. There's no reason that you can't both play Axis and Allies *and* know the Oilers' 1987-1988 lineup. In fact, there even seems to be some synergy there.

3. Only scant hours ago did I learn that Jiam Gomeshi used to be with Moxy Fruvous. I always thought he was just a CBC host.

4. The game you're thinking of, Heather, is called Amazon Trail.

mike w said...

>And Jian Gomeshi may be a dripwad, but he's a dangerously attractive dripwad.

You can't be serious! Yuck!

James Mirtle said...

I remember Charlie and Martin Sheen came to my elementary school to play basketball (Cadence was filmed in Kamloops) and I picked up autographs that disappeared as soon as I got them. That was as close to royalty as we ever got in the forlorn Interior.

bigleaguer said...

I got Krazy George's autograph after an Oilers' victory many years ago. Beat that!!

Pleasure Motors said...

You just made me cry PM

I cried when you shaved, so I guess we're even.

Adamn! said...

Remember those Carnival of Champions things they used to have at what was then called Northlands Coliseum? Featuring Oilers and Eskimo stars? Well, when I went, it was like, early to mid 90s, meaning even our "stars" were shit. I was too shy to get many autographs, though; I think I only got Petr Klima and some Eskimo whose name escapes me at the time.

There was also that big shindig when they opened the Butterdome. I think it was right after they won the Stanley Cup, 87 or 88 I think. I was even more of a chicken-shit then (well, I was only 4 or 5), and passed up the opportunity to have my picture taken with GRANT FUHR AND THE FUCKING CUP!

The one time I ever got "backstage" at an Oilers game was also in the dreary mid-90s, but it was by far my greatest haul: a ticket-stub crammed to the point of illegibility with the John Hancocks of a bunch of shitty Oilers and Canucks players, plus a picture of me, my brother, and Don Cherry that I'm actually quite embarassed by now (cause he's a big prick, see).

My most recent Oiler autograph was Dougie Weight, who I'll unfortunately have to cheer against for the next week or two. It was at the Oilers' first training camp at the then-new Millenium Place in Sherwood Park; I was the last person he signed for before heading back into the work-out room. It made my frickin month. And then Glen Sather traded him. The bastard.

Coluch said...

I met a bunch of Oilers back in the day when they played for the Niagara Falls Thunder in the OHL. I met the guys often cause I was always at the games and team events as a kid... you could basically walk into the dressing room if you wanted to in those days. It was rad!

Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Greg De Vries, Jason Bonsignore (what ever happened to him?). Plus Brad May, Kieth Primeau, Jay McKee, and loads of great players that I never heard of again but should have, like Brandon Convery & Bogdan Savenko. Then they moved the team to Erie, Pennsylvania and re-named them the Otters. I. Was. Pissed. Dreams crushed, I began to worry that my Oilers would suffer the same fate (the Nordiques & Jets moves made it seem inevitable).

All I still have from those days is a photo of myself chillin' with Manny Legace in baseball gear (the Thunder played baseball vs. the NHL Maple Leafs every summer back then). Maybe I should dig up that photo and get Manny to sign it before he hangs himself?

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

As far as elementary school goes, it was Reggie Lemelin (lived across the street), Oregon Trail, but also something called Logo or Turtle or something. Remember. forward 80 steps turn right 15 degrees. Up. down. It led to the inevitabel walk forwad 2 Billion. Turning the Apple 2E's green and black screen entirely green. Reggie was good as well.