Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Sunday Feeling

At the outset, let me reiterate a position I have steadfastly maintained since beginning this stupid blog some 2 years ago or so. Division I Men's sports is a cesspool. Men's basketball is the heavy sludge at the bottom of the cesspool.

Despite that fact, there I was Friday night sitting in a bar in West Little Rock with my brother John, some genius financial analyst (No lie. The guy makes a high 6 figure income writing a financial newsletter for one of the local banks. Works an hour a day. Really.) and some leggy brunette of unknown provenance who decided to sit with us because she coveted my french fries.

I am not making this up.

John gave me the "head's up" that she was coming over.

John: " I think she likes you."

Me: " She looks like nothing but trouble."

John: "Yeah? And your point would be?"

Me: " I don't do trouble anymore"

John, as he recoiled in mock surprise: " Since when?"

Since a long time actually. I am practically monastic nowadays. It's just easier.

Anyway, this motley crew was united only by our thirst for adult beverages and the NCAA basketball tournament that was playing on all 3 flat screen TVs there in the tavern. Vanderbilt (of all people) was giving Georgetown-the number two seed in that region- absolute hell. It was great fun.

My buddy Don-whose eccentric musings may be read at -went to college at Vanderbilt. And so, throughout the game, I would receive periodic messages from him as the Commodores threatened to upset the Hoyas. Now Don knows his football but he would be the first to tell you that he knows next to nothing about basketball. This puts him in quite the tenuous position socially as he now lives in Chapel Hill. Anyway, up until last night about all that he has allowed about Vanderbilt is that he thinks it is silly to have a sailor as your team mascot. But there he was, with his nose to the tube watching the Sailors scare the bejeesus out of Georgetown.

Despite the fact that Don is pretty ignorant when it comes to all things hoops he is responsible for singlehandedly blowing one of the best runs of luck I have ever had in an NCAA tournament office pool. The story goes something like this.

About 18-20 years ago, way before the advent of "the Internets" (to use Houston Nutt's felicitous phrase), Don worked in one of those huge law firms in Los Angeles. As you might imagine, when tournament time came around they had quite a good sized office pool with a potential grand prize of around 5 grand or something. So, since there was big money at stake, Don turned to me for guidance.

This was the year that I hit 3 of the 4 eventual entries in the Final Four. If memory serves, the Final Four that year was like a CYO invitational with Georgetown, St. John's and Villanova all vying for the title. Anyway, I won a considerable amount of money here locally and, as it turned out, Don and I won the pool at his office.

Unbeknownst to me, Don's ex-wife got wind of this bonanza and seized the winnings for child support.

" But half that money's mine!" I yelled into the phone after he had broke the bad news.

" Yeah, well.." he replied. " How are you going to enforce it? I don't know a state in the Union where a gambling contract is enforceable. Sorry, Bud."

2500 bucks goes flying out the window and all I get is "Sorry, Bud."

Such is life.

Another memorable tournament was the year that Maximum Girlfriend Emeritus for Life LS beat me soundly while picking teams based on their colors or nicknames. She picked UTEP in an upset because LS had a girlfriend who went to school out there. She always liked the desert whenever she went to visit her friend back when she was at Baylor.

You know. The scientific method based on informed opinion.

Yes, men's basketball is worse than a cesspool. But, hypocrites that we are, we love it so.

Maybe I'll watch the Finals back at the bar with John. Maybe I'll order fries just to see if "Legs" shows back up.

I don't do trouble anymore but it doesn't hurt to look at it. Doesn't hurt at all. And it is a lot less problematic than betting on college basketball.


Polycarp said...

You always addle the facts when you tell this story. It wasn't child support--we were still living togeher at the time. She just found the money, asked where it came from, smiled sweetly, and and took it. She didn't throw me out until the following January. You just can't grasp this simple dynamic because you've never been married. And it wasn't picking the final four that put us in first--lots of people picked those (no Catholics, either--Kansas, OU, AU and Dook). Your great pick was Richmond over Indiana, then over Tech in the second. Ours was the only sheet in the entire pool hat had Richmond over IU. The guys in the mailroom called me "Spider" for years.

tmfw said...

Dear Spider-

Thank you so much for taking the time from your busy schedule to write. I think that the basketball story-like many other oral legends-has morphed over time. My brother John always tells the story at this time of year and he always describes the domestic support obligation in question as "child support." Only, in his telling, it is always described as "back child support" which makes the story more amusing for guys though less so for women.

Being the student of the Bible that you are, surely you recognize the story as an allegory in which the "facts" of the story are less important than the larger meaning that the story means to convey.

Here, the larger point of the story is that this was the only time that your historic female troubles actually cost me money. The fact that you would be a wealthy man but for these chronic difficulties is of allegorical proportions much along the lines of the story of the man who built his house on the shifting sands.

But this one actually hit me in the wallet as well. Which is kinda hard to do.

That is the larger point behind the story your Jesuitical salami-slicing notwithstanding.

Thus endeth the lesson.