Years ago a relative of mine died and left me an inheritance. A note with it read: “Tend to this to get what is best, that which you love.”
The executor went on to explain that some money had been put in a trust for me. I could put money into the account if I liked, but I could never take any out. Each year the money would be used to buy a single Leafs season ticket. I was excited. The Leafs were what I loved; I always had. I felt it deep down in my heart, as natural as breathing.
The first year I collected my tickets I couldn’t believe my luck: platinums – the best of the best. So much money had been put aside for me that I was able to sit right up against the glass. When the players crashed into the boards, I felt the rattle in my bones. There were wins and losses, but I was thrilled to be there for all of it.
The next year I showed up to the box office ahead of game one and to my great surprise, I was handed a pair of golds. “There must be some mistake,” I protested.
“No sir, we received the sum from the estate and this is what it bought you.”
I turned my nose up for a moment, but coming to my senses I realized, I could do a lot worse than golds. I sat in the sixth row all year. My bones didn’t rattle quite like they did before, and there was less leg room, but I could do a lot worse than golds, and I was happy to be there.
The following season I showed up to the box office and this time it was worse: greens. Now there were dozens of rows in front of me, almost a whole section. There were kids in every other seat it seemed. When they weren’t screaming they were sleeping, even through the goals. I could rarely even use my own armrests. By now I often found myself not even watching the game. I stared with some grudge at those in the best seats and wished it were me. The season didn’t go well either. We missed the playoffs by a mile and that made it even harder to focus on the game I thought I Ioved.
The next season I couldn’t even work myself up to getting to the game on time. I schlepped to the ticket counter and reached out my hand to see what I would get. I was furious. I wasn’t even in the lower bowl anymore: I didn’t even recognize the colour. “Inflation!” I cried. How could this same sum of money that brought me so close to what I loved only a short few years ago, buy me so little now? I saw the seemingly endless flights of stairs to my seat, so indignant, I took the elevator.
I came to my row, shuffled past a dozen people, and sat down in my seat which hovered over a sticky, popcorn covered floor. What the view of the game was like I couldn’t even tell you – I barely looked. Before the game ended I stomped off to speak with customer relations. “I’m very unhappy with my seats,” I told them. “I don’t want to come anymore.”
“Perhaps that is for the best anyway, sir,” they said. “We’ve heard your attitude is very poor and it’s harming the love of the game for those sitting around you.”
I stormed off towards the office of the lawyer who held the money in trust. “I cannot stand my money doing so little,” I roared. “I must withdraw it and not waste it any longer on this dwindling love of mine.”
“It cannot be withdrawn as was previously explained.”
“Reassign it then! Basketball, soccer, football, anything else, only not hockey which I can no longer stand from such a terrible vantage.”
“The money also cannot be redirected, sir. It was provided to contribute to this single love only.”
“Then what shall I do? I won’t stand this half-measure any longer!”
“A piece of advice perhaps, sir. If I remember the note that was left on the account, you were to tend to the amount given to you in order to get at what is best and best loved. The initial deposit would only buy a platinum seat for a short number of years, certainly not as many years as you have remaining as a young man. The initial deposit seemed to allow you to experience the very best, but the gift would never let you remain there without some further contribution from yourself. If it has taught you to love and pine for the best, then I would invite you to spend of yourself to lay hold of it and to do so quickly before you no longer remember how it once warmed your heart.”