If the B.C. Lions president and CEO was alive a few thousand years ago, he would likely be facing a very dismal future after Sunday’s game against Saskatchewan.
Public proclamations, predictions and guarantees such as Dennis Skulsky made last week were very dangerous in the old world, especially if the prediction did not favour the reigning king or the outcome did not occur as forecast. In such a world, the B.C. Lions president would have suffered a very bad day Sunday after guaranteeing his team would beat the Riders. It would have been a career-ending day complete with a beheading, public stoning or some other gruesome form of execution.
Thankfully, we live in a different age and his boasting that B.C. would win the football game was a great public-relations strategy. In fact, it was brilliant in my opinion and added excitement that rivaled comments from a Winnipeg Blue Bomber player that resulted in the annual “Banjo Bowl” between the Bombers and the Riders.
As for B.C., Skulsky went on record saying, “The Saskatchewan Roughriders have challenged this community. They have purchased billboards promoting their team and they’re hosting a ‘Rider fan party and rally in our backyard.”
He was totally correct and I think what burns his butt more than anything is the huge number of B.C. fans that prefer to hang out and party with Rider fans. It begs the question, can a person be a loyal Lions fan and also party with the opposition, especially if the visiting team is victorious as was the case when the Riders won 20-16 on Sunday at B.C. Place?
“We’re a very good football team and we’re here to proudly represent this city and this province,” the president told the media before the game. “The best way to do that is to win on Sunday and we guarantee that will happen.”
If you ask me, guarantee is big word, especially in our world of text messages and abbreviations for almost everything. The Oxford English dictionary defines guarantee as a formal assurance (typically in writing) that certain conditions will be fulfilled. It is defined as a promise in the Oxford American dictionary. Call it what you want, Skulsky went way out on a limb and was the club’s first president to publicly guarantee victory over an opposing team. However, he added a disclaimer that if the Lions lost, all fans in attendance would be able to redeem their game ticket for one of equal value at one of the four remaining regular season home games.
I imagine there are a lot of Lions fans who were not happy with their team’s loss and the president’s poor fortune-telling skills, but a free ticket to an upcoming game will definitely go a long way in making hometown fans feel better. Furthermore, it will increase attendance at future games and money that would have been spent on tickets will instead likely go toward souvenirs, food and drinks.
My only beef with Skulsky’s conduct is the way he twisted the meaning of the word guarantee, but it worked well and generated a lot of interest. Manufacturers often have similar guarantees or warranties that outline how a product is to be repaired or replaced if it fails in a set period of time. Conditions are typically applied to guarantees and can include the owner being responsible for shipping the unit to the nearest service centre which may be in anywhere in North America (or points beyond in some cases).
Guarantees used to ensure a unit or service would perform satisfactorily for a predetermined time period.
At one time, a person’s word was his personal guarantee that an obligation would be fulfilled. As for the Lions CEO, we all know his personal guarantee doesn’t carry much weight, but it was only intended to be a media stunt.
Actual product guarantees or warranties were intended to be an indicator of quality since a manufacturer could be forced into bankruptcy if there were a huge number of failures during a warranty period. However, as products became cheaper with the advent of massive factories in Third World countries that offer lower labour costs, guarantees and warranties seem to be less important than in years past. One thing that is guaranteed under our present system of commercialism is landfills will be one day be filled with throw-away products that are cheaper or easier to replace than repair.
As for sports, the guarantee of a victory for the B.C. Lions added an element of intrigue to the Aug. 24 game. Furthermore, it was a step up from trash talking which is becoming more commonplace in sports. It also generated a lot of publicity and excitement which is always good when it comes to public events and the need to attract a crowd.