The International Writers Magazine
Lama- The Number One New York Ranger's Fan but it's him versus
the Pope and Fidel Castro in the fantasy league!
of well-armored limousines pulled to a grinding halt near the private
entrance at Madison Square Garden. A gaggle of security guards, armed
and wired to the hilt get out and check all round them for anything
that may be suspicious.
They give a sign that the area is clear, a pull on an ear or a brush
of an arm, to one of the cars and the driver files out in typical fashion
to open the back door. From the back of the car comes the burgundy and
orange flowing robe of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th incarnation of the Dalai
Lama. A smile on his face and a nod to the nearby onlookers and he is
quickly ushered in to The Garden.
It is about 6:30 on a cold, crisp December evening. Snow is in the forecast
for later that night. This is the reason that the Dalai Lama is in New
York City. He has actually been in town for several days, but tonight,
he will join 19,456 people that are at the arena for this event.
As he walks through the halls of the arena, he hears the dull roar of
the crowd finding their seat, cajoling with friends that have this common
interest. The Dalai Lama is shaking hands and taking the time to speak
with all of the people bold enough to approach his Holiness. He feels
his adrenalin start to pump. It has been over three years since his
last night like this.
As the Dalai Lama walks into the sold out arena, few people notice the
large group of Buddhists sitting together. Fewer still notice the large
team of security guards or the bulletproof glass separating His Holiness
from the rest of the arena. The Dalai Lama takes his position and the
evening is about to begin.
It is a little known secret that the Dalai Lama is a huge hockey fan.
More importantly, he is a diehard New York Rangers fan. As if there
were any other kinds. He has been in town for about three days speaking
to various special interest groups and has had very little time for
himself. He specifically scheduled this trip around this game, New York
Rangers versus the New Jersey Devils; an historic rivalry that matches
that of any in sporting history.
Upon completion of the National Anthem, a player from Rent, introduced
the Lama and they showed him on the Jumbo-Tron. His Holiness blushed
in embarrassment and humility but managed to wave a hello to the crowd
who was in awe at being unknowingly graced by the presence of one of
the most sacred men in history. Well, him and King Clancy.
It comes as a surprise to many people that a man, who lives his life
preaching the virtues of peace and non-violence, can be such a hockey
fan. The truth is, that on one of his first trips to the United States,
in 1950, he happened to see a game between the Detroit Red Wings and
the Hartford Whalers and got hooked. He was so impressed with Gordie
Howe that he actually made his staff arrange an introduction. Two days
later, during a layover in Chicago, it was so. It was a short visit,
but one that also made a lasting impression on the greatest player to
ever lace up skates and, though he had never even heard of him when
they met, he often times credits the Dalai Lama for his success. A comparable
impression was made on His Holiness for those in the inner circle, they
know that it is not unusual to have a pick up game of broomball hockey
take place in Tibet. While His Holiness is closing in on 70 years old
and no longer plays due to age, we will still skate and take penalty
shots when his schedule permits. Even to this day, it is very rare that
his shots get blocked.
In fact, the Dalai Lama is such a hockey fan, that it is not unusual
for him to be part of two or three fantasy hockey leagues with people
around the globe. Under the moniker Holy_Goalie, he has
not won the Fantasy Stanley Cup yet, but does feel that this year is
his big year and if certain, not to be named players, would get off
of the disabled list, that he might have a shot. They know who they
are. He sometimes feels that if he can live a life of no desires and
be ostracized from his country, that these NHL players with a twisted
thumb can go out there and put the puck in the net for $4 million a
year. Then he goes back to being the Dalai Lama.
John Paul II is also in his fantasy league, but doesnt have
nearly as good a surfer name, GretzkyFanII, nor has he been consistently
as good. It is clear that the Pope is sicker than he lets on in
the media. It would surprise a lot of people that the Pope is not
the only world leader that takes part in this Fantasy Hockey League.
Fidel Castro (FireNIce), Yassar Arafat (FrozenFish), King Abdullah
Hussein of Jordan (23Ice), and Al Sharpton (Zamboni1) are all part
of the league as well. Thanks to the Internet, they are all able
to take place with minimal amount of time and effort. It is clear,
though, that there is some animosity between the Pope and the Dalai
Lama, no just due to religious differences, but also because the
Dalai Lama got the good screen name. The puck drops at center ice
and the action begins.
Scott Schnaars -Feb 2004
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