Short of watching Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane leap out of it, seeing Lord Stanley's cup was the culmination of years of devotion to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brian Anderson.
"It's not just a trophy, it's an icon ... it's a legend and it's here," said Anderson of Palatine, who kissed the gleaming silver panels of hockey's greatest honor.
It touched down for two hours Friday at the Daily Herald's Arlington Heights office where employees and their families -- many clad in black and red -- got a chance to pose for photos and touch a piece of sports history.
Not yet engraved with the names of Blackhawks players who won the NHL championship in June, the Stanley Cup is making the rounds of the suburbs, the United States and the world.
"When I saw it come in here, I had tears in my eyes," said Jenny Louis of Lake Zurich, who with husband Jim was first in line for a photo. "When you think of all the names inscripted on there like Bobby Hull -- my heart's still beating fast."
Grown men like Wally Bogdanski weren't ashamed of getting slightly misty-eyed as they stood with the trophy. The South Elgin resident was invited to a cup-showing party in 2009 after the Pittsburgh Penguins won but -- horror of horrors -- "by the time I got there, it was leaving," he recalled. This time, his timing was just right. "I still got the chills," Bogdanski said.
Even 4-month-old Sofia Lewnard looked pleased as mom Candace gently raised the infant and held her over the bowl of the cup. The spontaneous gesture seemed appropriate because, after all, "she loves watching the games with her dad," Lewnard said.
Wearing white gloves and keeping a careful eye on the 120-year-old trophy was Howie Borrow of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Borrow is among four cup keepers who escort the prize as it makes the rounds to players' hometowns. The cup is washed daily "with soap and water to take off the lipstick stains and fingerprints," he said.
Borrow has traveled from small hometowns in western Canada -- "I like going to old hockey rinks where the players learned to play" -- to sophisticated European cities. "I thought people there would be more interested in the world championships or the Olympics but they're very intrigued by the Stanley Cup," he said.
Hawks President John McDonough also accompanied the trophy to the Daily Herald office.
He compared this championship to the Hawks' win in 2010. "The intensity, the fervor, the passion and sheer numbers (of fans) are greater," he said.
Standing out in the sea of Hawks jerseys was 8-year-old Gavin Pracher who endured a 20-minute hairstyling session to achieve his black and red Mohawk. "It's cool," said the Carol Stream boy and hockey forward who hopes to play professionally one day. "This is the first time I've ever seen it."
On Saturday, the cup will make a stop at Wrigley Field along with Hawks Coach Joel Quenneville.
Longtime fans waiting for their turn to touch the cup Friday recounted the days when the Blackhawks were only available on radio if you didn't have a ticket.
"Many people have suffered long and hard to get (the Stanley Cup) and on the losing side -- a lot of people will never get a chance to have it although they competed for it," Steve Dreyer of Cary said.
"To see guys lift it up who never have lifted it up before, the guys who are 35 ... 40 years old and never had the chance to do it -- it brings a tear to my eye," he said. "I remember going to sleep with the radio on listening to the Hawks. They were bad, bad days but I always enjoyed just listening and hoping. Once a fan, always a fan."