You’ve heard the tale too many times.
Because I’ve told it too many times, on a just about yearly basis. In hopes that I might purge the fear that arrives just after Thanksgiving, as if delivered on time by UPS.
There’ll be a black Crown Vic parked outside my place. Inside will reside a couple of swarthy looking gents. On the dashboard will be a couple of cups of Keurig espresso, a half eaten cannoli and baklava crumbs. As well as a black cloth bag, which appears from the outline to contain a Glock.
It’s Guido and Hassan, or some variation of their ilk, Joey the Vig’s associates. Come to make sure I enter The Vig’s bowl pool, which annual endeavor lines his already abundantly full pockets, and provides him enough amusement through to the first of the year, when he and his adored “bride” head to the Seychelles for the winter.
Oddly, and surprisingly, this year’s been different.
Imagine my surprise. As the two-times in a row double defending champion, I was expecting a squadron, including fellows rappelling down the side of my condo complex to my otherwise inaccessible porch.
No threats, veiled or otherwise. No visitors, knocking on the door in the middle of the night, coming into my place and rummaging through the fridge for a snack. Nuttin’.
At least from The Vig, who obviously knew his other “clients” would be up in arms, due to my recent successes, and would make sure themselves that I didn’t forget to send in my entry fee, visions of The Big Payback dancing in their heads along with Sugar Plum Fairies.
The Vig knows.
No Vito. But I did get a few suspect packages in the mail, which are now in the custody of the FBI’s bomb squad.
The return addresses included names like Big Hugh, Hawaii 5-0, Older Wiser, all of which I recognize as fellow “players.” Plus a couple that seemed less familiar, Schmarkdog and NOVA.
A couple of lucky years during bowl season, and I’ve been advised by my attorneys to secure an application to the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Geesh, I mean, I promised The Vig I’d give his guys and gals a chance to get their moolah back. I’m not an idiot, right? I wasn’t going to go hide, thus spend the rest of my life running, looking over my shoulder like Dr. Richard Kimble.
But, now that the entries are in — and I’m oh so sure my formula for success has been replicated, like prep sophomores cheating on their French I test — I shall again reveal my formula for victory.
No research. No looking at teams, wondering who might be more motivated. No checking out the Gold Sheet to see which school has won five bowls in a row.
It took me about a minute to circle all the underdogs. Every game. Period.
Even the three interlopers with losing records, though one might have been a favorite, though I really didn’t pay any attention whatsoever to my choices.
I could have done it quicker, but I had a sneezing spell, which took up a few seconds.
A quick look at The Vig’s Master Sheet with everybody’s picks tells me some have followed my formula. Which means there could be a fourteen way tie after my pick Michigan State wins the national crown. (Actually that ain’t gonna be how it happens. Only four of us went with Sparty.)
Then again, it’s hard for some of these inveterate wannabes to maintain the focus and discipline necessary to honor the fact that expertise and prognosticatory acumen have nothing to do with it. So, most, I trust, have strayed, picking a favorite here and there. .
The Vig does make it interesting. He puts the games in pods, so you don’t have to pick every one of them. Which games each entrant chooses can make ’em or break ’em.
Pat Riley once, after his Magic/ Kareem-led Lakers had won two in a row, promised a threepeat, much to the chagrin of his stars, who tried to stuff a towel in his mouth, I make no such promises. One’s luck does run out.
Anyway, I’m ready for this opening day’s slate of the Celebration Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, Camellia Bowl, Cure Bowl and New Orleans Bowl. I know there will be more carnage in the BYU/ Utah game than here at my place, the FBI having advised that all of the packages sent to me, save one, were false alarms. The other has been defused, and the sender’s house is currently under surveillance, with a SWAT Team on alert.
And I’ve even gotten some baklava, just in case The Vig’s minions show up to watch a game with me.
Plus, should the improbable occur, I shall not only retire The Vig Champion’s Cup, but will gladly get to watch my most ardent adversary, Badger Billy, keep his vow and take a dive into the Ohio River from the spanking new Abraham Lincoln Bridge.
In fact, I have promised said naysayer that, should I somehow prevail again, I shall absolutely hold him to his vow. Shall pay for the wet suit. And shall secure police protection, so he won’t be arrested when taking the swan dive into the deep.
— Seedy K