Dear President Andrews,
Forty-three days are all that separate us from the season of green. Now those without a calendar handy may think I am referring to glorious springtime casting off winter's pall and bringing us warm weather again.
They would be wrong, and perhaps so upset about being mistaken, in need of a drink. But that's OK—because in 43 days it will be St. Patrick's Day and drinking is quite apropos.
Beyond the drinking and the bagpipes, the parades and the corned beef, the cabbage and the songs, there is the wearing of the green. The nation over dons the bonny color and where in most places, at least for a day, instead of gleaming snow, you see the shade of grass once more all about you.
Well, all about you, unless you are a fan of the AHL. The American Hockey League, God bless 'em, haven't a single item for sale that's green (aside from the occasional Houston Aeros jerseys).
The online NHL shop right now has nearly 200 items for sale that can be found when you search for St. Patrick's Day. Shirts, caps, sweatshirts, ladies tops, knitted caps—they're all there in brilliant green glory. What a beautiful sight to see! Is it shrewd marketing? Is it capitalizing on a patron saint not even of this country? Is it malarkey?
But who cares? Sure, I may have the same shirt in my team's colors, but it's St. Patrick's Day. Throw it on a field of green, and I'll buy it! It is a day meant for fun and leaving your cares at the door, and on the best of days, that is what sports should be about, too.
We love when our teams do well and we can leave an arena with a win rather than a loss, but isn't it the time we spent immersed in these games so much that allows us to shrug off our worries, at least for three periods?
The NBA has 131 products available for a shamrock. The MLB, whose season doesn't even begin until two weeks after St. Patrick's Day, already has 32 products in stock and ready for your order.
While some may feel that the economic climate would not tolerate such frugality, it is my feeling that it is the exact opposite. The hardcore fans will find a way to budget so that they can buy a Toronto Marlies St. Patrick's Day shirt. The casual Philadelphia Phantoms fan will want to show off that he was at the game and that, in fact, he's not such a casual fan. And if Manchester Monarchs fan Jennifer doesn't buy it for herself, Jimmy will buy it for her.
President Andrews—please help your league's revenues by helping yourself to a helping of Irishness and give us the chance to wear the AHL green.