It’s getting on to late August, the dog days of summer. No one is thinking about hockey — especially not me. I’m not into hockey. Its nuances are lost on me. Puck in net = good. That’s about the extent of my expertise.

But even I know that this is the best time of the hockey season. The Stanley Cup is out there, making its rounds. Players who win the Cup — this year, the Chicago Blackhawks —  each get a couple of days to do what they want with it.

No one else does that. Not baseball, not the NBA and certainly not the NFL … at least not until the New Orleans Saints got their hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy last winter.

No, the Stanley Cup gets around. I want to party with you, sir.

They drank beer and champagne out of the Cup in Minnesota. They ate buffalo wings and blue cheese out of the Cup in Buffalo. They’ve put little kids, dogs and beach balls into the Cup.

The Cup went to Niagara Falls and got soaked. The Cup got up on stage with Jimmy Buffett. The Cup went to the Illinois State Fair.

The Cup has been driven around in a stretch limo and a Zamboni and countless SUVs. The Cup has been strapped into the front seat of an ATV and a Maserati. The Cup has sat in the back seat in Corvette convertibles and in the back seat of golf carts. The Cup has ridden the bus, too.

The Cup has been stranded 75 feet in the air when a fire truck’s bucket got stuck.

The Cup has gone to Finland and Sweden and Slovakia and France and, of course, Canada.

Such is the power of the Cup is that it made two remarkable stops in Chicago. It rode proudly, and with absolutely no controversy, in the gay Pride Parade. It went to Wrigley Field, where they put it on the pitcher’s mound and convinced both the Cubs and the White Sox to have their picture taken with it … albeit separated by the Blackhawks.

Everywhere it goes, people love the Cup. They, too, want their pictures taken with it. They want to touch it, not bound by the hockey player’s superstition of never touching it until winning it.

Count me in that group. I’ve seen the Cup up close and I’ve touched it. Someday, I might forgive my brother for failing to tell me that his friend, an NHL player who has a summer home just an hour away from where I live, had brought the Cup to their town for a visit. Seeing the Cup once is never enough.

Another friend got to hang out with the Cup when it visited Madison, Wisconsin, earlier this month. I am envious. He shot this video, proof that this is the best part of hockey season.

The Cup goes to the people:

The Cup goes to the country club: