The Gambler’s Life

I’ve never been much of a gambler. I don’t even buy lottery tickets because I am not what you would call “the winning kind” when it comes to games of chance. I don’t win at Monopoly, I never win in a raffle and I’m not raking in the winnings for cards or dice.

So why did the football lottery at school appeal so much? I started at first to let Roy fill out my sheets for the winning NFL football teams for the week. I put in the money, but he made the picks. And neither of us, aware of the quirks of fate and the unpredictable NFL, really expected a win.

Until this week. I had begun doing my own sheet to see how I would stack up against Roy. Last week, he picked more winners than I did, but this week I was determined to do better.

“Why did you pick Denver?” he asked, looking over my shoulder.

“Because they are playing Jacksonville and I’ve never been to Jacksonville, but I’ve not only been to Denver, but I have family there,” I answered, such an obvious point.

“Do you even know what the Denver team is called,” he asked after a moment’s silent reflection.

“Something to do with horses or something,” I was busy making my next pick. “Now, let’s see, these Houston Cowboys…”

“Dallas Cowboys,” he corrected.

“Dallas Cowboys then, I’m picking Chicago against them,” I made my mark on the paper.

“I hate to ask why, but I will,” he mumbled.

“Because city boys from Chicago are likely to know a lot more about football than cowboys would,” honestly, some things are so common sense.

He didn’t question any more of my picks and I gleefully handed in his paper and mine the following day. All I was really looking for was to beat him.

Then, the games started piling up and I was winning a few of my guesses. After Baltimore beat Tampa Bay and Denver took out Jacksonville (see, I told you), I started taking an interest in the winners. After all, I had my 5 bucks on this…maybe I could win!

I usually watch the Vikings and cheer for them because that is the team of my father and my husband, but this week, I found myself screaming at Cousins, “Come on, you Chump, I got money on this! Throw a first down!”

I got New Orleans over Las Vegas…New Orleans is so much nicer than Las Vegas…and then, New England beat the Jets. That stands to reason..have you ever seen the autumn leaves in New England???

When Tennessee beat Houston, Roy actually cheered, because it meant I had one wrong. I gave him a cold and evil stare, “Perhaps you don’t want me to win? Perhaps you don’t want a few extra dollars in this house?”

“Are you going to share it with me,” was his next question.

“I wonder how Washington is doing,” I said, avoiding his eye. “I bet big on them.”

“You bet five dollars on the whole works,” he replied. “And I knew that if you won, you wouldn’t share.”

I was riding high until the Green Bay/Buffalo game. I bet on Buffalo, but it was still nerve-wracking. After Rogers pushed through the third first down on a single drive, I threw my sewing at the television. “Rogers, I’m just not going to watch if you are going to play like that!” I yelled.

“It’s just 5 dollars,” Roy said again. What did he care? He was already out of the running.

“It’s not the five dollars,” I lied. “It’s the principal of the thing. I thought we cheered against Green Bay no matter what, in this house.”

“It’s the five dollars,” he said.

By Monday night, I was close to winning the pool, but had Cincinnati won over Cleveland (I picked Cincinnati, because it’s more fun to say than Cleveland), that might cinch the deal. No such luck. Pretty name or not, Cincinnati went down to Cleveland. I tried to shrug my shoulders and say it wasn’t a big deal, but at the thought that I was so close, I could feel my lip trembling and my mood going down.

So, it was quite a surprise on Tuesday when they handed me the football pool for this week. Apparently, I picked 45 total points in the game as a tie-breaker and I was spot on! Well, of course, I always choose 45–it was one of my favorite years in age!

I came home with this week’s sheets and a fist full of cash. Roy made his picks quickly and then looked over at mine. “Why Seattle over Arizona?” he asked.

“Because,” I really shouldn’t have to explain something so simple, “I like rainy weather better than dry heat. And I picked Kansas City over Tennessee because we live closer to Kansas City and…” I may not be suited to the gambler’s life!


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