Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Bet

There was a time when placing a bet was not all that simple. Oh, it could be done but still, for me it represented quite the challenge. For those with "connections" it was a simple phone call away. I lacked such connections. And then I remembered. I could make a phone call. To one who could make such a phone call.
Someone with connections...

The time was January 29, 1995. Super Bowl XXIX. San Francisco 49er's vs the San Diego Chargers in Miami. And while I didn't exactly have the fever, I had the burning desire to place a bet on the game. I was ready to pick The Winner. To put some money where my mouth was...

A little background. I am a lousy gambler. To say I am a good poker player would be to lie. To drive home this point. I was in Vegas last year on some family business. I stayed on the strip. I didn't play one slot machine. I didn't pound the strip. Concentrated on the family thing. Caught a show and a Great dinner.
Gambling is not in my blood...

The point spread kept growing larger as game day grew closer. I'll skip all the betting jargon that I openly admit to not knowing. Suffice it to say. I was willing to give points to the team I thought was going to LOSE. In other words. If my team does not win by more points than the spread, I lose even if my teams wins the game. Cover (beat) the spread, I win.
I am not a good gambler but then I digress...

The call was placed. To my guy with the connections. The one who could actually make the bet happen. Hey, I announced over the phone in my most cheerful voice, let's go together and put down a bet on the Super Bowl game. My "connection" is amused and then slowly comes to the realization that I am serious. He asks who we're betting on. Let's give them the points I say with confidence.
Silence... Then laughter.

The night before my calling, my connection had been out to dinner with a group of friends. Conversation had turned to the upcoming Super Bowl game and how LARGE the point spread had gotten. So large that each of them agreed only a sucker would give the points in making such a bet. And now, here he was on the phone with one of the suckers. How much you willing to bet my connection wanted to know. A little more laughter. He was in.
He'd make the call to have the bet placed...

The next day the connection called me back to let me know our bet was "down". He wished us good luck. I think he reminded me that this was not the smartest of bets. I think I said something about maybe not telling his friends. We could just keep it to ourselves. My anticipation in watching the game was growing. For the first time ever in my life I had a real, honest to goodness, bet on the books in Vegas! Yeah, baby. Big time action.
It's game day...

As far as games go, Super Bowl XXIX was just OK. The heavily favored team was winning throughout by a fairly comfortable margin. For them. Not for me. I needed to cover the point spread. Finally, I got my points. With the final game seconds slowly ticking off the clock, I clung to a winning bet as long as the other team failed to score. They had the ball and they were driving for the score. A score that could not bring them victory but would deny me mine. And that of my connection. I thought of what his friends had said. A sucker bet. Panic set in.
Time only for one last play...

The phone call came the next morning. I'll cut you your part of the winnings and mail you a check my connection said. Thanks, I mumbled, between a grin to wide to allow the proper formation of words. We exchanged laughter and replayed the final moments when our bet literally hung in the air. We laughed some more. Are you going to tell your friends about making the sucker bet I asked. Already did the connection replied. Did that the day we placed our bet. Better to have them share in the fun. I hung up the phone.
We had won The Bet...

The connection and I have never again made a Super Bowl bet together. Just the one. I think about The Bet each year when the Super Bowl rolls around. I still chuckle at having made that call. I still remember his laughter. That final pass play just out of reach of the receiver. But mostly I remember the spirit of the bet between the both of us. The Bet representing more than just a bet.
Much more...

And so, should your phone ring around Super Bowl time, don't worry. It's not me asking you to go in on a sucker bet. I have my own private connection for that. I'm sure you have yours. You can be sure I will be calling this weekend to reminisce about The Bet. And to share that laugh, that bond, all over again with.....
"my connection".
peace
fm

2 comments:

Ruth and Brian said...

Alyson and Ford,
So sorry to hear that AA has been a little under the weather! I totally understand about the whole not taking pics when they are sick - not much to share other than the gallons of snot that pour out their noses - Yuk!

Also got a good chuckle out of your "bet" post.

Have a "SUPER" bowl weekend.
Ruth & fam

Meredith Teagarden said...

Have great weekend. I am betting you will enjoy the SB!