Thesis Part 9
From the outset, it was clear that the team’s new philosophy had the potential to benefit not just divorced Swedish bicyclists, but a wide array of the (often lonesome, often depressed, often yearning) population across the globe. It was just a matter of spreading the word. Perhaps a little ahead of their time, Team Gustav saw it as a question of marketing–they needed posters, slogans, and–first and foremost–a catchy term of art for their new discipline. Not being men prone to poetic turns of phrase, this endeavor proved difficult.
To their credit, Team Gustav understood the power of a name. There was no question that the right name would make or break their burgeoning movement. After all, what if, instead of A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway had titled his first novel A Sad Time in Italy? Or what if 21 Jump Street had been called 25 Year-Old Undercover High School Cops? And suppose Cary Grant had stayed with his given name of Archibald Alec Leach? You get the idea, and so did Team Gustav.
As the TGICT continued across the Western reaches of Germany (with Team Gustav in a dead tie for second place with a team of Italian widowers), Pete and the boys toyed with and abandoned several potential titles, including How to Keep on Keeping On, Aerobic Memory Training, Introspective Peace Exercises, The Game of Life, Experience Contextualization for Happiness, and Chess Jammin’.
Even Spartan Pete, generally a man steeped in eloquent phraseology, found the right title eluding him. Every night found Pete pouring over the dictionary, writing down random collections of words from magazine headlines and advertising copy and pasting them to a bulletin board he kept in the team’s tour bus, all to no avail. It was not until the team had a weekend off in the Alsace-Lorraine that Pete came up with a name that–while not as evocative as Dianetics or Sacred Hoops–captured the imagination of his teammates.
Many of our readers may remember the self-help book from 1978 of the same title, written by former Team Gustav member Georg Hultmann, who after his stint as a professional divorced bicyclist, moved to the states and founded a highly profitable hotel art distribution business (and later, a less successful chain of 3-D pornographic movie theaters). The first edition of the book features the dedication “For SP. You taught us chess, and the rest followed.”
Next time: an unexpected event in the Alsace-Lorraine.