On a recent Sunday afternoon, I happened to be in the audience when three Finnish NHL players held a press conference about their game later that week in Helsinki, Finland. The Anaheim Ducks players were on the podium, in their impressive looking suits that they’re required to wear as stipulated in the Exhibit 14, Paragraph 5 of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ association.
While listening to them, I happened to notice that two of them were wearing very impressive looking watches on their arms.
And when I say “impressive”, I mean “expensive”.
Afterwards, as we walked to the tram, I mentioned the watches and the suits to a colleague of mine, and he told me a story about the Washington Capitals, and how they were invited to a Versace event last summer. While the rest of the team came sharply dressed, the team’s captain, Alexander Ovechkin showed up wearing a Nike T-shirt, he told me.
He paused, and looked at me.
“But on his arm, he was wearing a 238,000-dollar watch,” my colleague said.
“That’s absurd. Really? 238 000? That’s like wearing our house on his arm,” I said.
“You must have a nice house,” he said.
I don’t even know how much my watch cost because it was a present from Wife, and even when I had to go get the armband fitted, I promised her that I wouldn’t take a look at the receipt that was in the bag.
“I mean, you know,” she said, “I don’t want our anniversaries to become these big events when we give each other big presents.”
With Wife, it’s hard to tell, though. When we first started dating, her idea of a lot of money was 500 Swedish crowns, the equivalent of 50 euro, or 75 dollars. My idea of a lot of money back then was in the 500 000 crown neighborhood. That’s one area where we’ve got a lot closer over the years.
That’s why my present to her on our fifth wedding anniversary was a Wonderwoman tea mug.
When I got back to the hotel, I called Wife and told her the story about Ovechkin going to a Versace event wearing a T-shirt, and a 238 000-dollar watch. By that point, I had forgot if it was 238 000 dollars, or 283 000, but since I didn’t want to exaggerate, I went with 238 000.
“Can you imagine that?” I sort of asked her.
She couldn’t. She was speechless.
Later that week, I told the Ovechkin story several times. I told it to colleagues, old teammates, and guys I bumped into at the media center at the arena. I told them about Versace, all the nice suits, the T-shirt, and – wait for it – the 238 000-dollar watch.
On Friday, I told the story to my father who had driven five hours that day to come to the game. I told it to him as casually as I could, delivering the punchline about the watch. He laughed like it was the craziest, and the coolest thing he had ever heard.
We talked about the Finnish NHLers, and the game, and the ticket prices, before I had to go back to my seat in the pressbox. Dad sat down in his seat, behind a group of the Ducks’ American fans.
On my way to my seat, I bumped into L, an old friend of Dad’s – one that he hadn’t seen in years – so I asked him if he’d like to say hi to my father. He did so we walked to Dad’s seat and surprised him. After a few niceties and quick updates, Dad pointed to the man sitting in front of him.
“I wonder if that’s a Stanley Cup ring, or if it’s a fake,” he said.
“It’s probably a fake,” said L, Dad’s teammate from oldtimers’ hockey, and a guy who often took on the rest of the team in hockey trivia games, and beat them, on their trips.
“Did you see the story about the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup rings?” I asked L. “They have 300 diamonds on them.”
My Dad shook his head. “Unreal,” he said.
L rolled up the lineup sheets he had in his hand, and tapped the palm of his other hand with them.
“That’s right,” he said, and paused.
“And I hear Ovechkin’s watch is worth 223 000 euro,” he added.