Flint Firebirds Coaching Staff Fired, Rehired Over Moldy Pumpkin

In a shocking move, Rolf Nilsen, owner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds, fired his entire coaching staff Tuesday.

Nilsson woke up Tuesday morning to discover that a pumpkin on his front stoop had become moldy, a state of affairs that he had warned head coach John Gruden [sic] was not acceptable. The incident led directly to Gruden’s dismissal.

The pumpkin, carved with a tooth from Cecil the Lion by famed pumpkinist Nada Algorey, featured an elegant rendering of the team’s logo: a phoenix spewing fire onto everyone who has ever hesitated in Nilsen’s presence.

One of 14 pumpkins scattered about the six difference entrances of the Nilsen estate (located outside of Flint, because he obviously can’t live in Flint proper), the pumpkin was found to have traces of a pewter-green fluff at its stem.

A representative of the team, who spoke to Crooked Scoreboard under the condition of anonymity, said that there were concerns that the pumpkin might mold. The pumpkin and the pumpkinist were brought into the owner’s office the day before to discuss the possibilities of rot, mildew, smashing, and, most importantly, mold.

Algorey and the pumpkin were given strict instructions not to mold. According to sources, Nilsen said, “Screw mold. If you mold, you just don’t have ‘the win’ in you.”

But, being a pumpkin, it molded.

Simiono ver Acton, a Flint-area botanist, said that the fall in central Michigan has been abnormally arid, with no snow and little rain. Ver Acton opined that it was actually quite odd that more of Nilsen’s pumpkins hadn’t molded. “They should count themselves lucky that all of their pumpkins aren’t moldy at this point,” she said. “They’re very fortunate. All pumpkins mold or are smashed eventually.”

The town’s alderman, Jesus Watchoodoo, was asked to come in and mediate the situation between Nilsen and Gruden. In a statement given via phone, Watchoodoo said, “I mean, Jesus. I don’t know. You buy a bunch of pumpkins. Some are going to mold. Some will get crushed under a boot. I don’t know. Maybe one or two calcify and live forever. What do you want me to do about it?”

Nilsen was unavailable for comment, but offered through his publicist, “This was a special pumpkin. You couldn’t possibly understand. This was my pumpkin. You don’t have a pumpkin like I do. And if you do, well, I don’t care. This was my pumpkin, and I’m so rich, you have no idea.”

On Wednesday, the team announced that the pumpkin was no longer moldy and had returned to work as a decoration at Nilsen’s doorstep.


Dustin Nelson is a writer who, like Rolf Nilsen, enjoys gourds and their relatives. You should follow him on Twitter.