Why Silver is Better than Gold

My friend and colleague, Travis Long, is one of the best accountants I know.  Like me, he has a column in the Cedar Street Times and he is committed to educating the public about taxes and other related topics.  Also like me, he occasionally strays from the focus of his columns to write about various subjects that appeal to him on a personal level.  I normally trust, respect, and value his judgment.  However, his last column’s absurd and offensive claim that soccer’s World Cup is the “most valuable trophy” in all of sports cannot be ignored.  (See “We Buy Gold . . . FIFA World Cup Trophies.”)  With regard to this subject, I must proffer a strong rebuttal.

In his column, Mr. Long states that the World Cup is made almost entirely of 18k gold and that if you took the championship trophies of the NHL, MLB, NFL, and NBA and “melted them all down,” their combined value would only be worth a fraction of the “melt value” of the World Cup.  One wonders whether he also judges the value of collectible cars at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance by sheer “melt value.”  The Bugatti Type 41 Royale, a beautiful automobile produced in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, has an estimated value of over $10 Million due to its beauty, its appeal among collectors, is rarity, its ingenuity, and its history.  But Mr. Long would calculate the value of the metal, rubber, and glass and determine its worth to be only a few thousand dollars.  He must not be familiar with the concept that the whole is worth more than the sum of its raw materials.  Does he value his friends this way too?  “Well, if I were to sell all of your possessions, you would be worth $X.”

When using the proper metric for determining intrinsic worth, focusing upon history, beauty, tradition, and meaning, hockey’s Stanley Cup is clearly the most valuable trophy in all of sports.  

The Stanley Cup was originally purchased by Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada, in 1892.  The original trophy was awarded to the hockey champions from that time until 1970 when it became thin and frail and was retired to a bank vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  Since that time, the same authenticated “Presentation Cup” has been awarded to the hockey championship team each year.  Objectively speaking, it truly is the most beautiful trophy in all of sports.  Its shiny silver gleams in the light.  The NHL employs Philip Pritchard, whose only job is to act as the official “Keeper of the Cup.”  He goes everywhere the Cup goes, all over the world, keeping a keen watch over the cherished chalice and handling it with white gloves.

To paraphrase from an article featured in the Bleacher Report (www.bleacherreport.com) by Chris Hoffman on November 3, 2011 entitled, “5 Reasons the NHL’s Stanley Cup is the Best Trophy in Professional Sports,” I offer my evidence as follows:  

1.  You Get your Name on It.  All players, as well as executives and coaches, who have won the Stanley Cup in the history of the NHL as well as those who won it prior to the formation of the NHL, have their name engraved on the Stanley Cup.  If you are lucky enough to see the Stanley Cup in person, you can look at the names engraved on the Cup – Richard, Howe, Orr, Gretzky, Messier, Yzerman – and get a sense of the rich history of the game and the true honor of having one’s name permanently listed on the same trophy as the legends of the game.  This is unique to all sports trophies.

2.  It’s the Oldest Trophy.  The original World Cup was created in 1946, 54 years – more than half a century – after the Stanley Cup was first handed out to hockey champions.  Both the Stanley Cup and World Cup are older than the trophies of the MLB, NBA, and NFL.

3.  You Get to Take It Home with You.  Everybody who wins the Stanley Cup gets one special day to take it home and to celebrate with friends, family, neighbors, and fans.  Players sleep with it, take it water skiing, jump in their swimming pools with it, drink champagne out of it, and let their kids drink chocolate milk and eat ice cream out of it.  New York Rangers management burned the mortgage to Madison Square Garden in it.  Sylvain Lefebvre of the Colorado Avalanche even had his son baptized in the Cup!  

4.  It Has Been Used and Abused.  Championship teams celebrating a little too much have misplaced it over the years, generating legendary stories of the Cup’s misadventures.  In 1906, a Montreal team took it to a photographer for a team photo and left it there.  A few weeks later, NHL officials discovered that the photographer’s mother was using it to plant geraniums.  Mark Messier took it to an automotive repair shop to fix a dent that was the result of rowdy celebration.  There are scores of other legendary stories about the Stanley Cup that no other trophy in sports matches.  It has been all over the world, including a combat zone in Afghanistan!   

5.  Players Get it First.  Most trophies in other sports are presented to the owners, then other executives, then the coaches, and finally the players.  The Stanley Cup, on the other hand, is handed first to the people who truly earn it: the players.  They take turns hoisting it high above their heads before passing it to the coaches, executives, and owners.

KRASA LAW is located at 704-D Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, and Kyle may be reached at 831-920-0205831-920-0205.