Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A splendid idea

You know those times when someone hits on an idea so obvious, so slap-the-forehead well-duh perfect, that you kind of hate that someone a little because they came up with it and you didn't?

This is one of those times.

This is the time to recognize a former Fort Wayne Komets massage therapist, who wrote a letter to one of the local papers wondering, if you can put a statue of Harry Caray outside Wrigley Field, why there shouldn't be one of Bob Chase outside the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

An excellent question.

Because, listen, if Harry was Wrigley and Chicago to a lot of folks out in the rest of America, Bob Chase was the Coliseum and Fort Wayne. Yes, he was the voice of Komets hockey to that great swatch of America and Canada reached by WOWO radio's booming 50,000 watts, but he was just as surely the voice of  Fort Wayne, Indiana. So many of us discovered this when we ourselves were out in the rest of America; for me it happened in a hotel bar one night in Gettysburg, Pa., a story I've told numerous times.

I mentioned where I was from; the other patrons of the bar came back with "Bob Chase!" and "Komet hockey!" None of them had ever met Bob, or seen a Komets game or Fort Wayne or, indeed, the inside of Memorial Coliseum. But, because of him, they imagined they had.  He was the voice not just of our winters here in northeast Indiana, but of an entire mid-sized Midwestern city.

And so, yes, surely, he deserves a statue somewhere in or outside the Coliseum. If the place was built as a tribute to our veterans, well, Bob was one of those, too, serving in the Navy. And, like, Harry in Chicago, he was not just the voice of the Coliseum, he was its very embodiment.

Of course, because this is Fort Wayne, the question would be who would pay for it. But the answer to that is as obvious as everything else about this.

Who wouldn't pay for it?

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