Sometimes, the most amazing things happen when you never thought possible. Last season, during the San Jose Earthquakes amazing run to the Supporters' Shield. the team celebrated a very popular giveaway promotion, Steven Lenhart Wig night. Yes, the curly coifed fan favorite ran the pitch while thousands of fans played his doppelganger in the Buck Shaw stands.
The wigs even brought a bit of good luck to the Quakes, as Lenhart himself scored a very, very, very late stoppage time goal to salvage a point against the smoldering Chicago Fire. The visitors in red fumed as Lenny donned a Lenhart wig in his goal celebration, and the crowd erupted in blond-haired bedlam.
Fast forward to 2013, and the Earthquakes season has not gone as well as last year. The team is struggling to gain traction in a very tight Western Conference playoff chase, but at least is still showing dominance at The Buck. Just last week, the Quakes earned a gritty 1-0 win over Eastern leaders Sporting Kansas City as Chris Wondolowski -- on Chris Wondolowski bobblehead night -- netted the only goal of the game.
But perhaps more newsworthy on the night was a brief announcement by the stadium PA that the next Quakes home game would also host a giveaway promotion, one that had the entirety of the Buck Shaw crowd asking anyone who would listen, "Did I hear that right?"
Buck Shaw Stadium PA announcer just let everyone know that #SJEarthquakes home game September 8 is Steven Lenhart Chia Pet giveaway night.— Robert Jonas (@robertjonas) August 19, 2013
Initially, this earthshaking news was met with disbelief. Would the Quakes actually be holding what immediately became clear was the best MLS promotion ever? It took another day for a press release to verify the wondrous news, but the fevered pitch frenzy for what could possibly become the most sought after MLS trinket of all time was in full effect.
"The San Jose Earthquakes will host Steven Lenhart Chia Pet Night, presented by Cosmopolitan Catering, on Sunday, Sept. 8 when the club hosts the Philadelphia Union at 8 p.m. PT. The chia pet will be available to 2,500 fans at the gates on matchday." -- press release
Only 2,500 Lenny Chia Pets to go around?! Crowd control experts must be shivering at the prospect of the crush of Quakes supporters that are sure to descend on the tiny Santa Clara Stadium that Sunday. Already, ebay templates have been created by those looking to parlay the one-of-a-kind gift into a tidy fortune. Economists have reportedly included the giveaway into their lectures on supply-and-demand to illustrate the extreme scenario that is surely to develop.
But what about Lenhart himself? Reserved in character, a complete contrast to his on-field demeanor, Lenny would seem an unlikely character to get caught up in the hype surrounding his Chia Pet night. More likely, the free-spirited forward was bemused by the whole thing and quietly going about his business in sleepy Santa Cruz.
Instead, as it turns out, Lenhart has been a curator of the chaos all along. As revealed by the crack Quakes staff, Lenny is leaps and bounds (and sprouts) ahead of the anxiously awaiting fan-base in cultivating his Ch-ch-chia pet's wavy coif. Most importantly, he obviously cares deeply about his little terracotta likeness, fawning over it like a proud papa would his progeny.
Just a man and his Chia Pet. Happy Friday. pic.twitter.com/0m1gORgc55— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) August 23, 2013
Certainly his real hair needs to catch up to his Chia hair, but with a fortnight of follicle flowering to follow, large Lenny has time to match the little green mane. And for the rest of us, our own gardening adventure commences can't start soon enough.