Montreal vs Ottawa used to have an annual closed Scrabble® tournament, in which the winning city was presented with a highly coveted prize, the Ulu Cup. Why the Ulu Cup? Because ulu is a common weird word in Scrabble, and it is a bit of Canadiana in our Scrabble dictionary. I don't know who originally had the trophy piece made. Maybe Joel Wapnick can help out with that info.
Anyhow, before my entrance into Scrabbledom, this sacred trophy went missing. I played my first Ulu Cup on March 19 2005. At that time Lou Cornelis and Bernard Gotlieb speculated that perhaps Dr Peter Teitelbaum had the trophy, but he had quit playing Scrabble. I remembered that piece of information.
Later in June 2005, I played in Montreal's tournament, and met Jakob Teitelbaum, Peter's son. Jakob was 1800s, quite young at that time, and probably would have been a top 20 player if he had stuck with it. But that was the last tournament he played.
Years went by. A few more Ulu Cups happened, and nobody really put in any effort into finding the Ulu Cup. I friended Jakob on Facebook, and played the odd Scrabble game against him. He is living in Switzerland right now if I am right.
This year I decided to send Jakob a message on Facebook, to find out if his father knew the whereabouts of the trophy. He got back to me in a couple of days with "good news" and contact info for his dad. So I called up Dr Peter Teitelbaum last night. Dr Teitelbaum was actually at a bar called Woody's playing Scrabble with a friend of his. He said he was getting back into playing Scrabble, and he let me know a guy named Lenny Borer had the Ulu Cup trophy. The name sounded familiar. Ah, yes. I had played him once at Pam's annual MS fundraiser event. I even remember playing HONOREE against him. Peter said he'd get in contact with Len, and I should expect a call from him.
This morning I got up early to take my bike into work. I wasn't feeling good after having a strep throat bomb hit me on Saturday morning. I decided to take the day off work, and just get some extra rest. At noon I crawled out of bed. At 12:30 the phone rang. I did my best to sound like I had a scratchy throat expecting it to be work calling. Instead, it was "Hi, this is Leonard Borer." Wow! We talked a bit, and I found out he lived within walking distance of me, so I went over to his house to pick up the trophy. When I got to his house, he said, "I hope you brought a bag or something to carry it, it's huge!" I was expecting him to produce an oversized bowling trophy with an ulu placed on the top when he said that. Something like this:
Instead, he produced this little manila tag bag with bubble wrap on the inside. He shook the bag, and the trophy fell into his hand. "This is it!" I shook my head in disbelief. He let me know if got a little dinged up in a hockey bag of his, but it probably would add a bit more "panache" to the trophy.
Anyhow, after all that, I have the trophy safe and sound, and it will be up for grabs again in late January. Dr Teitelbaum will probably come to the Scrabble Club again, eventually, after years of not playing. And Len said he'd like to start playing Scrabble again too and may make an appearance at the club.