We got to see the best of all sports trophies — the Stanley Cup — this week. It is June and we get to see another less-frequently seen (and slightly boring) trophy, the World Cup (unless FIFA has sold that, too) in a few weeks. The Golden State Warriors won the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Friday night, long after most of America stopped watching. Nonetheless, we do love our trophies.
There are too many great things about the Stanley Cup to describe in one column, although my favorite is probably this: At the decisive game, two gentlemen in suits wearing white gloves gently bring the venerable artifact onto the ice and deliver gently to the representative of the winning team. Then, for the next three days, the players on said winning team — the Washington Capitals, in this case — drag the trophy all over their town, drinking beer from it, tossing it around at the parade, bathing babies in it and who knows what else. There’s nothing better than a trophy that can multitask.
Alabama football has a varied selection of trophies, some tucked away waiting on display space. Alabama’s many trophies in other sports — gymnastics, golf and so on — are of the generic NCAA variety: wood-based DIY-looking with a plaque that may have been glued in place.
David Magadan’s Golden Spikes Award is pretty cool, though. Also, Justin Thomas bringing his Wanamaker Trophy to town was a big event, although that PGA Championship Trophy seems slightly out of scale at about half the size of the golfers who have to hoist it.
Of those Alabama trophies housed in the Mal Moore complex, the Heismans are certainly iconic, sculptures that sort of transcend judgment of “good” or “bad” because they are so drenched in college football history. The Lombardi Trophy, a block of pinkish granite on a pedestal, is the best of the other player trophies.
Like many people, I am not particularly fond of the new College Football Playoff Trophy, which looks like a failed prototype for a lava lamp, or something that was pried of the original Starship Enterprise when the Federation scrapped it for parts. The BCS has its shortcomings, but the crystal football was the real deal. Yes, it was somewhat fragile — Alabama only shattered one that I know of — but it looked great in a photo when hoisted by the winning coach. With the new trophy, you aren’t quite sure what’s being hoisted.
Most of the older bowl game trophies are all right. The Sugar Bowl looks like something you could use to serve milk punch, which is entirely appropriate for New Orleans. The Orange Bowl trophy used to have plastic oranges in it, although I think that design has been changed. There is also a Blockbuster Bowl trophy that is really racking up the late fees at this point. The Foy Trophy — certainly the only rivalry trophy in any sport on the planet that is presented annually at a game involving an entirely different sport — is at Auburn this year, so enough about that.
Things have not reached the participation trophy level in the Southeastern Conference, thankfully. Before long, the summer will be over and the good times when teams are actually competing for trophies — pretty, ugly or somewhere in between — will be back. We will have survived the summer — and may deserve a trophy for that.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.