Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Week 8 NFL Picks - Part 1

I spent last Thursday and Friday with seven guys in one of those scenes that makes you feel like you're in a vodka commercial with P Diddy and Frank Vincent only, instead of Vegas, we were at an old horse farm that someone had had the good sense to turn into an exclusive 36 hole golf complex. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that this is one of those places where you find yourself commenting on how good a bloody mary would taste while you're putting your on your shoes and the next thing you know someone emerges from locker #27 and hands you about the best goddamn bloody mary you've ever tasted. Then when you get to the range, there's another one next to your golf bag . . . being served by an Adriana Lima impersonator in a Waterford crystal goblet monogrammed with your initials.*

"I heard you guys were
from Baltimore so I
wore purple today."
After 36 holes** we dined in a wood paneled room surrounded by shelves full of old books that I'm pretty sure were full of 18th century pornography. After a loaf of bread, french fries and a few other courses, a plate holding a 20 oz. steak and a 3 lb. lobster landed in front of me and I remember thinking a good plot for a horror movie would be where they lock people in a wood paneled room and feed them to death. (Given some time to reflect, I no longer think that would be a good plot for a horror movie). Ten minutes later I solicited a "wrong glass sir" call from the waiter as I tried to dial-up a Big Gulp of Pinot Grigio to flush-out the various arterial sandbags I had just deposited throughout my circulatory system. I think we would've sat there all night but when a member of our crew completely failed in an attempt to hit the seat of his chair from a distance of approximately 14 inches, we knew it was time to go.***

For what I assume was the same reason that 4th grade teachers separate the hyperactive kids on a field trip, we were divided into two separate living quarters. One was fully equipped with the college common area from heaven including a suitably large television along with a fully stocked fridge and bar. Suffice it to say, we all went there where I discovered that I still had about a 12 oz. empty reservoir behind my right kidney and proceeded to fill-it with Bud Lite. At this point, it was about the middle of the third quarter of the Thursday night game and I decided to explore the studio space a bit and found an adjacent room full of plush couches and a roaring fire . . .

. . . when I opened my eyes at 4:00 a.m., I'm not sure what I though first, "where in the hell am I?" or "where in the hell did everybody go?" or "when did I eat a bowl of cat litter?" All of the lights were on and the TV was blaring and then I thought, "where in the hell is the bloody concierge to turn everything off?" I laid there for about a minute contemplating my options: (1) turn everything off and collapse back on the couch for the rest of the night, or (2) head back to my private room overlooking the course. I chose the latter.

"Oh my God how long is
this freakin' driveway?"
Unfortunately my room was on the other side of the damn farm but after another minute of internal debate grounded on the fact that I wasn't sure which direction I had to go to get there, I headed outside where it had gotten distinctly colder and wetter. I climbed into the nearest golf cart, breathed a sigh of relief that it had a key and drove down the long driveway in what had to look like the country club version of Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels' scooter ride to Aspen. By the time I got there, I was thankful that the concierge had gone home for the night because well . . . that would have been a little awkward.

The ending is somewhat anticlimactic. We got up, everyone made it to the course on time, had a few more bloodies, played through some occasionally steady rain before the skies finally opened up after nine holes and said, "take the hint you clowns . . . it's time to go." We lingered in the clubhouse for about an hour having a few more beers and refusing to let go but then the reality of driving home in rainy Friday afternoon Mid-Atlantic traffic set in and we willed ourselves off the property. And with that, golf season in the region is pretty much over. Oh sure, we'll catch some nice days before the end of the year and play some casual rounds but nothing with that kind of camaraderie and flavor. I'm sorry what was that? Palm Beach in December you say? I'm in.  

Minnesota by 6.5 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

Thanks to the Vikings strong start and the Bucs somewhat explosive offense, this is a much better Thursday night match-up than the NFL deserved when they decided to schedule two teams in prime time that went a combined 7-25 last year.**** Last week I said the Vikings were going to make it to 6-2 before sliding back to mediocrity and I'm sticking with that but these Thursday night games have been getting ugly and they're only going to get uglier as we get deeper into the season and the lack of rest becomes more of an issue. Not to mention, even the uniform colors clash tonight. I like the Vikings in a game only worth watching between innings of the World Series . . . 17-13.

Endnotes

* Not really but I did leave this idea in the club's suggestion box.

** We literally finished in the dark (in more ways than one) by shining the headlights of the golf carts on the final tee box and green. It was just like that scene in M*A*S*H when the power went out and Radar was the hero for coming-up with the idea of using the headlights from the jeeps to light the operating tables. (For the record, in my ongoing attempt to repel any readers under the age of 40, that's my second M*A*S*H reference in two weeks).

*** This was no slight miscalculation where one cheek catches a piece of the seat. This was a complete air ball. It would have been the equivalent of Felix Baumgartner aiming for New Mexico and landing in New Delhi.

- "Tagliabue always said you were greedy."
- "He meant it as a compliment."
**** The next three Thursday night match-ups with last season's combined records are Chiefs v. Chargers (15-17), Colts v. Jags (7-25) and Dolphins v. Bills (12-20). I'm picturing Roger Goodell and NFL scheduling czar, Howard Katz, betting a dollar on whether they can beat the baseball playoffs in the ratings with the crappiest possible game on the schedule (at the expense of the fans of course).