Someone who spends the winter selling refrigerators to Eskimos would be qualified for a summer job peddling hockey and basketball tickets in Washington.
Many of the eager young hustlers who have sweated on behalf of the Capitals and Bullets are about to return to school, wiser in the ways of business but not significantly richer.
There has been no rush for season tickets, either in response to the Capitals' offer of a 20 percent rebate or to the Bullets' world-championship status.
"There is no more difficult job in sports than selling hockey tickets in August," said Andy Dolich, the Capitals' marketing director. "It's a hard sell. We've never had the luxury of coming off a world championship, or even a playoff, and we've learned that you don't hype people into many things in this area.
"We've had to take a paramilitary approach. We knock on the door until the boss will see us, and then we talk hockey until he buys tickets or throws us out."
Last week, a salesman who ignored a "no soliciting" warning was literally thrown out by an irate building superintendent, his blue and red tie wrapped very tightly around his neck. Some salesmen never return to Capital Center; their enthusiam is rewarded with a new job offer, if no signed ticket application.
Roger Moskowitz, the Capitals' director fo season tickets sales, illustrated the summer selling problem from his own recent experience.
"We try to personally visit those who haven't renewed," Moskowitz said. "This one man was simply too busy to see me, he wouldn't answer my messages and when I went to his office I couldn't past the secretary. Finally, I resorted to leaving a note on his car windshield, and he saw me and came down. He said he had written his check and promise to send it in right away. I told him I'd be glad to come upstairs and get it. When I did, he handed me the check, dated Jan 1.
"We thought the reaction to the rebate would be a little more positive," Dolich said. "some people did object to it as a gimmick, although many more reacted favorably, and I think it saved many fans who were turned off by the losing season.
"The best months are coming up. mr. Pollin set a goal of 10,000 season tickets and we still believe we can get there or close to it. Mr. Pollin has some more plans to get things moving. There is no gigantic tidal wave of Capital fever but there is some sort of wave out there, and when it breaks people will be calling us. Right now, though, we have to call them."
Despite their NBA title and concurrent hoopla, the Bullets are not being overwhelmed with ticket orders, either. Their season ticket base has always been smaller than that of the Capitals, with game crowds even more sharply attuned to specific attractions - on weekends.
Acknowledging the absence of an army of ticket buyers. Bullet President Jerry Sachs nevertheless said the team had enjoyed "a significantly sale and it seems to be building." In addition, normal attrition among renewals has been reduced, according to Sachs, from the usual 8 or 9 percent to only 4 to 6 percent.