experts: real estate column Wednesday, July 31, 2002

A great American icon

The great thing about a successful career in real estate is the freedom to take the holidays you chose.

By Marty Douglas

As published in REM - independent news and opinion for Canada's real estate industry.

The great thing about a successful career in real estate is the freedom to take the holidays you chose. No matter where I am, I'm a news junkie, preferably in print. Three local papers and a New York Times and I'm in heaven. In Phoenix this spring, a sports headline snapped my heat-dulled head around. "USA is striking it rich with MLS". And just how are they doing that? Turns out the reason is simple - MLS stands for Major League Soccer and there folks, is why the trademark rights to MLS in Canada must be so vigorously protected.

Speaking of baseball. I wasn't? Well, I meant to be.

There we were, Section B Row 11, watching the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants begin the first inning of a spring training game in Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Cactus and palm trees surrounded six thousand fans and the emerald green infield. Real grass. American beer and hot dogs. Does it get any better? Just wait. It's a clear desert afternoon, the temperature in the high eighties - yeah but it's a dry heat - you've called the office and it's snowing at home - and along comes Muhammad Ali.

America does patriotism and hero worship better than any country in the world. I mean, Canadians are good but we're shy and reserved, concerned the reaching out of a fan might bother the object of our affection. If we wore our hearts on our sleeves, we'd wear a jacket on top. But we're not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Ali wasn't ten feet down the aisle heading to a seat behind home plate when the chant began "Ali! Ali! Ali!" and the crowd assumed the standing O. The batter didn't have a chance. The champ and the crowd took the ball teams out of the game. The umpires called time for several minutes while we recovered our composure and Ali's entourage, including two troopers, women and children, got settled. In Canada, we wouldn't have seen the champ; he would have been in a luxury skybox. We probably wouldn't have bothered him after the entrance, figuring he was here, like us, to see the game with his kids.

No sooner was he seated than the first autograph seeker descended. And the line up began. At the fourth inning when we took a break for the washroom - damn that Yankee beer - the line was about one hundred long, patiently waiting, baseballs or programs in hand. And the champ was just that - a champ. He talked, he signed, he laughed, and watched the game. The fans were brought to him like supplicants to the high priest. It was great to watch.

No, I didn't get an autograph. However, I think I will have another look at the Will Smith movie. If I didn't know Ali was a great man, he proved it to me in a small desert stadium, sitting and watching America's game.

Marty Douglas is the sales manager for Coast Realty Group (Comox Valley) Ltd., one of nine Coast Realty Group offices on Vancouver Island. He is a past Chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation of BC, the Real Estate Council of BC, the BC Real Estate Association and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. email mdouglas@island.net 1-800-715-3999 fax 250-897-3933




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