EDITOR’S NOTE: Because today is April Fools, here’s our attempt (keyword: attempt) at humor.
Somewhere in the dark corners of Scheels Arena is a figure who aimlessly wanders pondering what the Fargo Force has done.
Or in his case, hasn’t done. Fans know Kid Bobble as the open-mouthed, large-headed mascot of the Fargo Force. They know he has been with the organization for four seasons and has become one of its most well-known figures.
What Bobble wants to know is why the organization hasn’t received the message like the fans have. Bobble has showcased on several occasions what he can do on the ice. Yet when it comes time for the USHL Amateur Draft, the USHL Entry Draft or a free agent signing, the Force choose to leave him in the stands and not on the ice.
“Well, he is only four,” said Force spokeswoman Whitney Baumgartner. “If the league has a minimum age, I don’t know if he’d be eligible. The entire front office staff would be 100 percent behind him.”
A phone call was made to the league office in Chicago but no one answered the phone probably because it was nice out and who cares about hockey when you can pontoon on Lake Michigan.
The Force, in their four seasons, have become one of the league’s model franchises. They’ve made the playoffs every year they’ve been in town. Crowds at every game continue to increase and the fan base is growing beyond the die-hard fan.
Fans have suffered through four coaches, nearly 100 players leaving the need for a familiar face. Bobble would provide all of these things.
“He has been with us longer than any other player,” Baumgartner admitted. “Maybe he could surpass Bryn Chyzyk and Zane Gothberg (both North Dakota commits) as the face of the Force.”
Bobble has shown on a nightly basis why he deserves to be in the line-up.
He’s shown during intermissions what he can do. He can skate end-to-end in a matter of seconds. He has the size to maneuver around anyone on the ice. He has blocked pucks whenever the chuck-a-puck contest has taken place.
Bobble has shown how strong his shot is during the allotted time for t-shirts. Though his shot does lack consistency. There are nights his shot is like a cannon as it can hit fans in the upper rows. But there have been nights where he’s barely got a t-shirt over the glass.
He also has the physicality. Whenever beer cans have been lined up along the boards, he’s willing to deliver a check to knock them down letting people know he means business.
“I still think if Kid Bobble showed Coach (John) Marks his skills,” Baumgartner said. “I still don’t think he’d make the team.”
Bobble has shown he has what it takes. Baumgartner reinforced that by saying he’s already received an offer from a mascot college down in central Florida ready to take him immediately.
There is an interest. Just not from the Force.
Maybe Bobble hasn’t been vocal enough. His face does tend itself towards confusion. His inability to speak coupled with his lack of eyebrows does make him a weird fit on a franchise known for having players who constantly talk about their “flow.”
And its been said his silence could hurt him in the media. What if Bobble were to score the game-winning goal or have a disagreement with the coaching staff? How would he handle the reaction?
“I’d think we’d give him flash cards,” Baumgartner said. “In the interviews, we’d have to keep it to yes or no questions.”
But as Baumgartner pointed out, Bobble could easily nod his head for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in response to questions.
Yet the questions shouldn’t be aimed at Bobble.
It should be aimed at the franchise not willing to give him a chance.
As the winter dies and spring comes into season, there is a slight chill that fills the April air with a howling breeze. They say at night if you listen loud enough, the sound of Bobble’s wailing can be heard.
Everyone who has heard it has felt his pain.
Except the Force.