"...Ahem?" Awya raised an exasperated eyebrow.
"Sorry, sorry." Alton wiped his hands on his pants, as he looked around for a newspaper. Spotting it, he went over to his earlier spot, and returned with the sports section. "Champion is getting a WHL team."
"Well, yeah, I heard about that last month."
"Ah, but that was just the press release about the investment. Today, they announced the team's name." Unable to say the words, he grimly slid the paper towards her. The headline said it all. Awya grimaced, like she just ate something that hadn't quite stopped moving.
"The Champion... Checkers?"
The name hung there in the air for a second, before it shattered into a puff of embarrassed laughter. Awya covered her smile with her hand. "That's awful!"
"I know," smiled Alton. "The worst thing is that you can see how the owners think it's a good idea. Big, tough hockey players are the ones that check..."
"And they can put a checkerboard pattern on their jerseys," added Saab.
"And they can have all sorts of race-themed promotions and terms that have absolutely no understanding of auto racing..."
"And it's a children's game, a verb based on a bank note, and someone who, I don't know, ogles girls," concluded Awya. "Do they really think that any announcer with a shred of dignity can call a team by that name?"
"Apparently," sighed Saab. "And what really gets me? What really burns? What proves that people are ignorant and blind to the world around them?" His fists clenched as he went on. "We live in Champion, Alberta. Champion! It should be a crime to give a bad sports team to a town with our name! Cripes, they could have called it the Champion Hockey Team, and it would have sounded better!"
"The Champion Prizefighters!"
"The Champion Heavyweights!"
"The Champion... I don't know, Showjumpers?"
"Still better than Checkers. How about Thoroughbreds, though?"
"That'll do. Oh! Champion Chargers!"
"Extra points for alliteration. The Champion Knights?"
"Gladiators!" Alton paused for a second. "Sharpshooters is good, though -- it would have been a better Bret Hart reference than "Hitmen"."
"You want to reference Alberta sports? The Champion Dynasty!"
"The Champion Cups?"
"Okay, then. The Champion Ships!"
"We have a winner!" laughed Awya.
Saab, meanwhile, had been getting redder and redder during the exchange. Finally, he railed his fists against the sky. "This is exactly my point!! Why should we be able to do a better job? How can we trust these people?"
The three ladies turned to look at Saab, startled. Quickly, before they could turn away, Alton smacked the back of his friend's head, and turned to his customers. "Sorry, ladies."
"Oh, no worries," the older woman said graciously. "We think it's an awful name for a team, too."
"I know!", piped in her daughter. "I mean, didn't it occur to them that as soon as the team goes into a slump, they'll be called the Champion Chokers?"
It apparently hadn't occurred to Saab. He got an odd, incredulous look on his face, and boiled himself into a deeper shade of red.