I’m actually a newbie to the pool, whose official name is the Greater Vallejo Monday Night Football Pool Eating and Drinking Society. I’ve only been associated with the pool for the last 16 years. It was a little awkward breaking in as the new kid. In fact, when John brought me to the first football pool dinner, I had no idea that the members thought I was a kid. I figure it’s because I don’t have many wrinkles.
(c) Copyright 2011 Marcia McCord
My friend B. G. says you can’t have an unwrinkled face and a tiny derriere at our age. Well, it’s not like I wanted to be “plush sized” but if the side benefit is being mistaken for John’s “cradle robbee” then I guess it’s OK. Let’s just say I’m not as young as a lot of people think I am. Then again, I’d say I was much younger! One year I started dropping comments revealing my age so people would relax, for goodness’ sake. Over time, the poolies and I have gotten to know each other a bit and I don’t feel like I’m treated like both the blonde and the little red sportscar all rolled into one. I don’t think of myself as my husband’s midlife crisis, but more like the cure for it. They probably do get that between the two of us, the dog provides the only adult supervision in the house.
So, when Ricky Rasputin, our illustrious organizer, sent out the Week 1 picks sheet, I considered long and hard before playing along. There’s a little history of course. About three years ago, I decided to take the pool seriously. You know what I mean: Study. I read the newspapers, listened to the pundits, figured the point spreads, even threw in a favorite color or mascot into the mix for fun. I submitted my selections faithfully, writing role-playing emails to RickyRasp posing as the Faithful Servant to Mindless Leader of the Sunless World.
Even the role-playing has history. My husband spent two years in India in the Peace Corps and returned for a few visits, once as a Fulbright Scholar. Pardon me for bragging but I think that’s pretty cool. After all, at the same approximate age, I was still trying to referee my parents’ fights, teach junior college courses in collecting antiques and get a second college degree, this time in a marketable skill. I can’t call going to Missouri exotic travel, especially when I started from Illinois. Refereeing my parents’ fights died off as a calling when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and decided not to fight with anyone any more. At least I got to spend some quality time with her before she died. And I don’t think I saved the neighborhood from my parents’ quarrels since by then they were good at keeping them within household and decibel boundaries, refining the process over time.
So, back to the hubs. While he was in India, one of the people he worked with there thanked him for his efforts to bring sunshine to the sunless world. It transformed over time to be an official title of the Mindless Leader of the Sunless World. So when we got together, I became the Faithful Servant, the scribe for our little kingdom and Mindless' right hand. Maybe left too. As you can imagine, appealing to Ricky Rasputin requires a certain decorum. You can’t just say, “Here ya’ go!”
Week after week, I studied and submitted the picks, beseeching Ricky Rasputin to accept the humble efforts of the unworthy scribe. Week after week, our collective score sank like a stone to the inglorious position of next-to-last. If we had been last, we would at least have gotten the prize for being the worst.
Alternatively, our friend Maxine basically threw a dart at the wall and submitted all her picks at the beginning of the season at random and finished a teeth-gnashing above-average. Fie! Phooey! Fine. Other f-words came to mind, few of them football. So the last two years, we’ve signed up for the pool but not submitted any picks, watched our friends’ fortunes rise and fall throughout the NFL season, hosted our requisite GVMNFPEADS dinner on the Monday night we signed up for and just enjoyed everyone’s company.
There are a few poolies who have passed on, one in particular a retired doctor originally from the Boston area, who would have snorted at the idea of just enjoying everyone’s company. But Rocky adored my husband and was delightful with me, something not everyone can say. Rocky and his sunny wife Kay served us dinner most Thursday nights until they became too infirm to do so. Now they are both angels in heaven. At least Kay is. But Rocky was serious about his football. I’m not sure he would appreciate that we were just as serious about our socializing with the pool and its other extraordinary members.
We’ve had a judge, a couple of doctors, teachers, civil servants, politicians, other medical professionals, a roofer, a former merchant marine, the gardening experts, the flooring folks, sales, service and the humane society people in the pool. This is a fun bunch of people dedicated to good food and good football. They are world travelers. They are organizers. They are promoters. They are movers and shakers. They are people like anyone else trying to get along.
So this year, after a little prompting, I’ve decided I would dip a toe into submitting my picks, using, of course, the Tarot! No analysis, this time, no serious studying of the sports section or calculation of odds or factoring in injuries. Nope, just the Tarot this time. Each week, I’ll post the picks on a separate page here in my blog which I’ve named Mr. Goon’s Sports Page. Each team gets a card for the game it plays that week. Pitted against its opponent’s card, they will duke it out Tarot-style. The games will be ranked based on whether their card pair comparisons look like a sure thing (high point values) down to the hard to tell games (low point values).
OK, boys, let’s spin that Wheel of Fortune! I’ll let you know how I do.