We have all fallen for the it at one time or another. Your daughter wants the stuffed elephant. Your son wants the giant inflatable Cincinnati Reds baseball bat. So you throw a dollar or 5 or maybe 10 at a carnival game.
But this dude went beyond that..... way, way, way beyond that in an attempt to win an X-box video game system.
Sucker? Yep. and he knows it too.
The Blue Jackets amazing run through the final 28 games of the season was capped with a 3-1 win over Nashville. Despite the win, the Jackets missed the playoffs by the narrowest of margins.
I could have been--actually should have been even closer.
Take a look at the disallowed goal from the Colorado game last night. This goal would have given the Avs a 2-1 lead but the boys in Toronto called it a non goal influecing not only the game in Denver, but also the CBJ game in Columbus.
Take a look for yourself.
That's where Columbus Blue Jackets were at the end of the season last season.
That's where virtually every pre-season NHL poll expected the Blue Jackets to be right now.
Where the Blue Jackets are with 5 games left to play in the season.
The Blue Jackets have been exceeding expecations since early March. They've embraced over used sports cliches and somehow found a way to actually embody them.
They've rebuilt the team, indeed the hockey operations department with the now famous "brick-by-brick" mantra which now looks more like "cinder-block-by-cinder-block"
There are words of inspiration on the walls all over the Blue Jackets dressing room.
None more fitting than the following phrase which is on the wall in the training area.
"Be proud of the way we work" it says.
Anyone who has followed the team's success since the beginning of March would have to agree there is plenty to be proud of.
The team is 15-4-4 since March 1. They have picked up 34 of the team's 47 points in that span.
They are currently riding a 4-game winiing streak and flirting with a bid to the post-season.
Whether they make the playoffs or not, their spring surge has made an impression on fans, opponents and those who have covered the NHL for much longer than the Blue Jackets have been a part of it.
Kevin Allen, who covers the NHL for USA today listed the Jackets' season as one of the top 4 biggest surprises in the league this season.
Head coach Todd Richards has said many times over the last few weeks that his team believes in itself and its ability to win every night out. That belief pushed the Blue Jackets to dramatic come from behind wins on the first two games of their current road trip.
The Jackets were sleep-walking through a game at Minnesota Saturday night, riding the amazing goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky into overtime at the XCel Energy Center.
But Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson scored in the extra period and Bobrovsky stood tall to earn the Jackets the victory.
Monday night in Colorado, The Jackets committed a late penalty which lead to a late Colorado goal which seemed certain to be the game winner for the Avs.
Instead, R.J. Umberger scored a goal with a minute to play to force overtime and Nick Foligno won it for Columbus in overtime.
Umberger said afterward, "Everyboyd knew we were going to win this game."
There's that belief thing again.
The Blue Jackets and their belief are in California for the next two games. Many have come west looking for fame and fortune. The Jackets just want a spot on the playoffs.
They managed to shed the "Same-old-Jackets label with this run.
The blue collar team was devoid of a super-star when the season began but they are in the process of developing one now.
Bobrovsky, the Russian with a "Just stop the puck" attitude has personified the team's run to the cusp of the post-season. He has almost single-handidly brought respect back to a team that barely respected itself a year ago.
He's collected four shut-outs since March 9th and has been recognized as one of the NHL stars of the week three times since the beginning of March.
(For you Buckeye fans still learning the game, that is like being named Big Ten Player of the Week.)
But it's been about much more than Bobrovsky.
For all the talk of heart, belief and hard work, this is first and foremost a team. Not a team blessed with an over abundance of talent--No Jackets player is among the top 30 in the league in goals, assists or points--but a team hell bent on proving people wrong.
Defenseman Jack Johnson has said as much this season. "The experts were wrong", Johnson said during the middle of the team's franhise record 12-game point streak.
There's no Rick Nash but there is a conviction to change the culture. A determination to end the losing and reshape the organization's reputation.
The process is underway earlier and with more urgency than anyone expected.
They may not be a part of the playoff picture this year, but the Columbus Blue Jackets have turned enough heads and changed enough minds to make believers out of us all.
The hours were ticking by. Most sports fans in Columbus were focused on Braxton Miller's new haircut rather than some guy name "Marian".
Fact is the Columbus Blue Jackets trading for the guy named Marian was one of the more savvy moves pulled on the NHL's day dedicated to swapping players at the last minute.
The Jackets hockey operations department headed by President John Davidson and General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen appeared ready to stand pat with their current team and continue to pull every ounce of talent out of the group to make a playoff push.
Then while many were just getting back to their computers after an extended lunch hour, things began to move.
Steve Mason was traded to Philadelphia for a back-up goaltender and a draft pick. Not a totally unexpected move but not exactly a needle mover.
As that was being tweeted, the block buster deal no one expected drowned out every other tweet league wide.
The Blue Jackets had landed a big fish. A three-time all star who scored 41 goals last season for the New York Rangers.
And his name is Marian.
"When a player of Marian's capabilities comes along, we were extremely excited about the opportunity" said Kekalainen.
Marian Gaborik is a game changer. A former first round pick of the Minnesota Wild. A guy who has scored 40 or more goals three times in his career. A bona-fide all star.
Now he's a Blue Jacket.
Columbus had to give up three players to get Gaborik. Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore. No matter. What Gaborik brings comes with a cost and the Jackets were ready to pay it.
The move has its critics. Mike Milbury of NBCSC wasn't convinced the trade will bring Gaborik out of his season long slump. Nor would he go as far as to say this trade would enhance the Jacket's chances of making the playoffs.
But what the trade does show is that Davidson and Kekalainen aren't just fooling around trying to build Columbus into a winning franchise.
It takes bold moves to move a perennial cellar dweller into a contender. This was a bold move.
Keklainen said repeatedly he didn't want a rental player to help the Jackets over the post-season hump this season. He feels Gaborik and his $7.5 million annual salary can be a cornerstone of the Jackets rebuilding process.
"We're looking at this as a long term solution," Kekallianen said. "We told Marian that as well."
The move pushed Columbus into the "winners" category in the deadline day analysis provided by The Hockey News.
Columbus fans hope it moves the team into the "winners" category on a regular basis.
It's the shot heard round the NHL from Vancouver to Boston to Broadway.
Don't let the name Marian fool you, This trade is further proof that as far as Davidson and Kekalainen are concerned, Columbus is done being the league's doormat.