Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Week 2 NFL Picks - Part 1

On the eve of the Ryder Cup* and with week 2 of the NFL season looming, I find myself in a jam as I have prepared nothing. How did I manage to get myself into this predicament? Well as usual, it started on a golf course. (I feel a timeline coming on). In the words of Lewis Carroll, this is one of those stories where you just need to "begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end . . . then stop":


Is nothing sacred?
8:15 a.m.: It was that time of year again when I decide to stick my toe outside of my comfort zone and attempt to qualify for a spot among the 16 man field that will compete at match play for the honor of my club's champion.** This year I would catch a break as the qualifier was limited to one round and, as every little guy with a big mouth will tell you, the shorter the fight, the less chance of getting killed.

9:25 a.m.: The first hole is a long uphill par 4 and after pushing my drive right, I laid-up and made bogey which was consistent with my gameplan: (a) take your bogeys, (b) do not hit a 3-wood at a green and (c) never hit an uphill putt more than 3 inches past the hole (this course is a Tillinghast so anything beyond that gets very dicey). I may as well have put condoms on all of my clubs.

9:50 a.m.: My first emotional roller coaster came on the 3rd hole as I half-skulled a chip 20 feet above the cup and then made the par with a putt that would have rolled off the green and ended my day. I felt like I just avoided getting pancaked by an 18 wheeler on the beltway. This was supposed to be fun right?

9:55 a.m.: Standing on the 4th tee I saw one of my fellow 6 handicappers on the 8th tee. He was 4 over and wanted to bet $50. I accepted the bet, hit it to 4 feet and drained the putt for a 2. With apologies to the FGW, that may have felt better than . . . (don't say it) . . . let's move on.    
"You are such a pussy!"

11:05 a.m.: Skipping ahead to the 9th tee where I stood at 2 over after making just one bogey in the previous four holes. No. 9 is a 205 yard uphill par 3 that's probably playing about 225. A perfect 5-wood for me except for the fact that it's into a hurting cross-wind and I tend to hit my 5-wood higher than my 9-iron meaning that I would be introducing all kinds of big numbers if I go for it. So I laid-up on a par 3 and made 4.*** I know. I know.

1:30 p.m.: Let's jump ahead to the finish because there's nothing exciting about nine holes with 5 bogeys and 4 pars other than the fact that IT GOT ME IN AS THE 12TH SEED BABY!!! I screwed myself by three putting 16 and missing a 5 footer on 18 because erasing one of those mistakes would have bumped me up to the 9th seed. As it is, I have to play the same +3 handicap who beat me 4 & 3 two years ago. Then again, that year he crushed me by 20 strokes over two rounds in the qualifier and this year he only beat me by 5 so maybe I'll get to visit the 17th hole.

2:30 p.m.: This is when the fun began because I had planned a second 18 that afternoon with some friends followed by a post-round dinner with our wives (seemed like a good idea at the time). Suffice it to say that I was flying pretty high and the beer was flowing like wine (unfortunately, the women were not flocking like the salmon of Capistrano . . . yet . . . we'll get to that). We were cruising along until the 4th tee when the skies turned a freaky shade of purple and then burped-out a torrent of water that made it clear that we were done golfing for the day.

3:30 p.m.: We're sitting in the clubhouse bar with four hours to kill until dinner and someone said, "we should go to Kaos."**** That drew one of those laughs followed by silence followed by everyone looking at each other like, "what in the hell else are we gonna' do?"

"I don't care if your mom's meth
lab caught on fire, you're on the
schedule from noon til 6:00."
3:50 p.m.: We walk into Kaos and the best way I can describe it is if you imagined the Double Deuce in it's condition when Dalton first showed-up but instead of a raging Saturday night, picture it on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. There were three guys with house arrest bracelets shooting pool and a middle aged woman behind a bar that had a bucket on it to catch the rain water. As we approached, she dropped a line on us that will go down in infamy, "sorry boys, none of my girls have made it in yet today" and with that we became the answer to the question, "what's sadder than some 40 year old guys spending Saturday afternoon in a strip club?"

4:00 p.m.: (Yes we sat down and ordered a beer anyway). A girl came running in with a backpack like she was late for her waitressing shift at the Olive Garden and told us to give her five minutes. I remember thinking the personalized service was a nice touch.

4:05 p.m.: She hit the stage and jumped right into her act.

4:10 p.m. We all started looking at each other like, "what in the hell are we doing?" and took-off. The problem was that we still had three and half hours to kill until dinner and we were in what I like to call a "Zack Mayo situation."

This story still has about 54 hours left in it that I don't want to shortchange and I am out of time in this writing session so . . . . . .

. . . . . oh wait, I've got to make a pick.

Green Bay by 5.5 over Chicago: The Pick - Bears

People who want to look at the 49er's game last weekend as an aberration are ignoring the fact that that was the second time in a row that the Packers have been manhandled by a physical defense at home. For reasons I will cover in Part 2 of these picks, I didn't see a lot of this game but every time I looked-up from my bar stool, Aaron Rodgers was making the same "why is this happening" face that he made throughout the loss to the Giants in the playoffs last year. And don't look now, but here come the Monsters of the Midway with a healthy Jay Cutler sporting a giant chip on his shoulder. (Don't forget that it was in the NFC Championship Game against the Packers where Cutler went down with a suspect injury and was accused of being a wuss). All of the pressure is on the Packers tonight who do not want to fall two games behind the Bears with a second home loss. May not be enough to cost them the game but it should keep it close.


* So when I wrote this, I was under the impression that the Ryder Cup started tomorrow when it doesn't actually start for another two weeks. The bad news is that I'm an idiot but the good news is that I got a jump on the Ryder Cup Preview. Hey, it not's like I write a weekly golf . . . oh shut-up.

** I am a 6 handicap. This year 28 players attempted to qualify and 24 of them had handicaps between +4 and 3. The other four of us were hoping to shoot our best round of the year AND get lucky. As I chronicled last year (The Club Championship Preview), these circumstances have broken my way on only one other occasion. 

*** If you ever thought my writing lacked full disclosure, I hope that admission along with the Ryder Cup gaff convinced you. 

**** I'm not going to link to the Kaos Gentlemen's Club commercial on Youtube but, if you really want to get a feel for this scene, you should check it out.

Click here for Part 2.

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