Follow your dreams

Section: 
Editorial

Last Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., I sat down for breakfast at the University of Regina’s annual fund raising banquet.

 

The guest speaker was Richard Peddie, former president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

 

From reading the Toronto papers, I always pictured Peddie as a greasy, little bean counter. He doesn’t come across that way at all.

 

He mentioned, in the question and answer format, about the number of Leafs fans there are in this country and also how fanatical some can be.

 

When he attended the University of Windsor, he wrote down his goal in life – to run a NBA (National Basketball Association) basketball team. As head of MLSE for 15 years, he ran the Raptors, Leafs and Toronto FC.

 

His advice to his audience – follow your dreams.

 

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Peddie’s autobiography, which I’ve started to read.

 

Peddie says in the book that he loves to win and hates losing. Fans, however, always said he and his cohorts at MSLE didn’t care who won or lost as long as the profits kept rolling in.

 

He says he might have stayed longer at MSLE, “but I just got tired of losing.”

 

And there’s no escaping the toxic email and telephone messages from fans.

 

**

 

Peddie says in his book that Maple Leaf Gardens was the company time forgot.

 

The popcorn at the Gardens was stale, really stale. The reason it was stale was that Gardens had too few popcorn machines and so it was produced in batches weeks and months ahead of time.

 

Peddie believed in customer service so that and many others things changed when he took over.

 

It’s rather sad that there are still business people who don’t have a clue about customer service.

 

**

 

The university coaches met with Peddie later in the morning and daughter Sarah, the hockey coach, was impressed with what he had to say.

 

She had Peddie autograph his book for me. He wrote: Eric…Dream big Leafs dreams!

 

That’s a risky one.

 

By the way, only one sports team in Canada sells more hats, sweaters, etc. than the Saskatchewan Roughriders – that’s the Leafs of course.

 

**

 

I’ve always followed hockey, baseball and football but it seems to me that many super fans are slightly psychotic.

 

The lead story in the Sunday Star, for example, featured a fan of the Buffalo Bills. A long-time season-ticket holder, he’s been attending games for years in a costume that includes a pro-wrestling style mask and cape. Now he has the face of the Bills founding owner tattooed on his right arm.

 

But enough about sports.

 

Write down your dreams.