Some ideas pop up like tiny imaginary cartoon light bulbs above your head.
Other ideas stretch 1,815.4 feet high into the sky and light up the whole city emergency red.
Turn the CN Tower into the world’s tallest goal light.
That was the eureka churning in the mind of Scotty* Booth, a marketing student at Toronto’s George Brown College who wrote his final exam Wednesday and, if his brainchild becomes reality, should have no trouble landing a job.
Fueled by a playoff dream nine years deferred and the subliminal advertising power of the Budweiser Red Light, the Toronto Maple Leafs fan came up with the notion two weeks ago.
But in true superstitious-sports-guy fashion he chose not to broadcast his plan until his Leafs officially secured a playoff spot, which they did Saturday in Ottawa.
“I just figure it’s been so long since we have made the playoffs, why not make a really big deal about it?” Booth says. “I mentioned it to a few friends and they thought it was an amazing idea. I didn’t want to say anything about it until it was definite that they had clinched a spot. Imagine if I set this all up and they didn’t make the playoffs — I would’ve have been run out of town.”
As of Tuesday morning, Booth’s petition — addressed to the CN Tower (CLC Ltd.), Budweiser Canada, MLSE and various TV networks** — to convert to the freestanding structure into a beacon of Joffrey Lupul’s drives to the net and Phil Kessel’s wrister had racked up more than 2,300 signatures. Booth’s goal is 50,000.
“I tried to find a number that was both daunting but potentially realistic. Right now the petition is at 150 signatures,” he said Monday when I contacted him, “which still makes 50,000 a long shot. If it does in fact hit 50 grand, I have a feeling it won’t stop there.”
Through the speed of social media, Booth’s idea was already being bandied about the MLSE offices on Tuesday morning.
“The petition is the focus,” Booth, 25, explains. “Everything kind of revolves around it. With that said, The last two days have been spent non-stop tweeting and emailing everyone that I possibly can think of that can help. All my friends have been so helpful in getting the word out as well.”
For all u suggesting turning the CN tower into a goal light for the post season… #genius !
— Nazem Kadri (@43_Kadri) April 23, 2013
While the CN Tower is no stranger to special lighting treatments to honour unique occasions — flashing to music for Nuit Blanche, burning orange to honour Jack Layton’s funeral, or turning green and white to celebrate the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 2007 Grey Cup victory — this would be a first.
Booth doesn’t envision a subtle blue-and-light illumination; he wants the world’s fourth-tallest structure to light up red and flash with a spinning beam: “As close to a stereotypical goal light as possible,” he says.
But wait a second here. This is the Canadian National Tower, Scotty. Aren’t you worried that such a grandiose display of Leafs pride would further enforce the idea that Toronto views itself as the centre of the hockey universe?
“Toronto is the centre of the hockey universe. That’s not an opinion; that’s a fact,” Booth says. “I would encourage every Canadian city to light up a landmark for their teams. Wear it loud, wear it proud!”
Indeed, there is a celebratory momentum in T.O. these days, so it seems fitting that Booth discovered that his Leafs qualified for the playoffs at a wedding. His email correspondence is juiced with exclamation marks, and he’s “very optimistic” that his idea will come to fruition.
“My motivation was in creating something huge that the whole city could see and enjoy,” Booth says. “It’s a good idea, and it’s hard to stop a good idea once it starts rolling.”
* “Scott is your jerk boss who makes you stay late on Fridays,” Booth explains. “Scotty is the best friend who buys a you a beer once you finally get off work.”
** “Change.org has a limit on how many characters you can use when addressing your petition,” Booth says. “I literally ran out of room for more names. I’m sorry for not including you guys, though. Please don’t send Kypreos after me!”