He’s originally from Portugal. His vocation consists of high-rises and welding beams in building the tasteful infrastructure of Toronto. I’ve known him for over 20 years; he’s a damn good hockey player, several times I’ve played against him between the pipes. He came into my store just to look around and have a simple conversation.
“You want to see something funny?” he mentioned. “This is my son.” He took out his phone and showed me a video of his son playing hockey. His boy plays AAA, as I was looking at the video not only was his son the biggest, he was the most dominant player on the team. I noticed his son had a fine art for grace, skill, and was able to put the puck into the net with ease.
Then he proceeds to show me another video of the father who owns the team. He laughed, “Look at this guy’s kid, he doesn’t belong in AAA hockey. Every time someone passes him the puck he falls down. I instructed my son to take the puck off the owner’s son every time he received a pass and to go down the ice and score.”
He continued, “You know what the coach did to me Fonzi? He approached me and warned me to stop telling my son to take the puck away from his son. He told me that not only would my son be benched, but his career would be over.”
We both laughed at the scenario solicited by the owner. Then he showed me another video of the team’s hockey coach receiving a wad of cash in an envelope from the owner. I asked my Portuguese friend, “How can you determine that the envelope has cash inside?”
He looked at me, “Get real Fonzi. The envelope has cash. Every time the team needs money they look for the owner to help them out. It’s simple; the only requirement someone not capable of playing AAA is behind-the-door deals consisting of cash. I’ve sure got a sneaking suspicion that my son isn’t being played anymore strictly because of the fact that I told him to start taking the puck away from the owner’s son.”
I told him a little story, “I had one father in my store once who was Greek and lived in the Kingsway. He always found ways to proclaim his riches to me. So one time I asked one of my workers to go to his house to help him put together a hockey net on one of the coldest days of the year. For the three hours that my employee worked he only got $10 to put the net up in front of his house.”
“This Greek guy came back another time with his son’s coach and the team’s goalie. He purchased a pair of pads for the goalie. The goalie was indeed happy, but unfortunately his son was not up to par to play AA hockey. The coach had to make a decision with respect to winning and losing the game and proceeded to bench his son.”
“Once again the Greek guy returned to my store. He told me how he lambasted the coach and the rest of the team’s parents. He stressed that he’s looking for another team that would actually appreciate the benefits that he can provide in terms of extra cash so that his son could play on the team. He kept on pontificating how terrible the coach behaved in view of the fact of him paying for the goalie’s equipment. Mind you, I told him that perhaps he was being a little too harsh on the team’s objectives. This only led to another rant of how terrible the team’s parents were. In my mind it seemed like he wanted payback for his investment even though his son didn’t have the skill to play on the team.”
“I eventually mentioned to my Greek friend how I actually knew the coach and how honest the man was. The coach would often build a rink in his backyard and allow kids of the neighbourhood to play hockey on his rink into the wee hours of the night. That’s how much the man loved hockey. Still, my Greek friend took his son off the team and brought him to another team that was willing to accept his terms, his benefits, and what he was willing to offer them regarding monetary value.”
My Portuguese friend and I were hitting it off now. He showed me another video of his son at a tournament in Niagara Falls, Canada. This video showed the wife of the owner’s son caressing the coach at a bar after the game. In the video I heard the bartender ask my friend why he was taking a video of the couple.
This was completely unorthodox, but my Portuguese friend was persistent and managed to get another video of the owner’s wife going into the hotel room with the coach.
I asked my Portuguese friend, “Can you zoom in on the video so that I can see the bottle of wine they’re going into the room with?”
He laughed, “Fonzi, it was a cheap champagne, it was Prosecco.”
I looked at him, “How do you know?”
“I saw them purchase it in the lobby, that’s when I followed them down the hallway until they got into the room.” He said.
“What are you going to do with these videos?” I asked.
“Fonzi, absolutely nothing,” he answered.
I told my Portuguese friend, “Listen there’s a word in Italian that signifies what these two individuals are doing. The word is: Cornuto. That means a man who has significant influence in a small village that aims to establish philosophy to whatever café he pleases to go to. He may deem himself as a worthy citizen upon the peasants, but the peasants know one thing. they know the truth that the man’s wife has a lover and that they let this man play the game for no other reason than because he is too foolish to realize.”
My Portuguese friend looked at me and told me, “Wow, then I was a cornuto once in my lifetime.”
We both laughed at the scenario. Another day at the hockey store.