I am a somewhat-faithful reader of ESPN.com’s The Sports Guy. Maybe you know him; maybe you don’t. He used to be known as The Boston Sports Guy, if that tells you anything about his prejudices and allegiances. He makes no bones about being a Patriots fan.
Well today, The Sports Guy is too unhappy to bring the funny. So I’m going to step up and help him out, via one of his own favorite devices: the running diary of a sports event (in this case, yesterday’s Super Bowl). The following contains 50% facts, 30% crap made up because I thought it was funny, and 20% “grey area” material – meaning half-truths, ellisions, fictionalizations of real events, and dreams I had after the game ended.
9 am: I stalk in a groggy stupor around my kitchen. I’d like to still be in bed but I have chili to make. I start chopping chicken thighs and onions.
10 am: My pot of chili hits the stove. It’s a bubbling cauldron of sweet, smoky, spicy deliciousness. I have one more pot of chili yet to make (a vegetarian option) and also breakfast to cook for myself and The Little Woman. Note: The Little Woman is only known as such on football days, and only in whispers when she’s not in the room. For I am no fool.
12 pm: We’ve eaten our late breakfast and my second batch of chili is in the crock pot, slowly warming up to room temperature. The beautiful thing about vegetarian chili is that a lot of the prep work isn’t really necessary – you don’t have to chop, flour, and saute two pounds of chicken, for instance. Kitchen’s a mess. The TV is off; I’m afraid I can’t take six hours of speculation about Tom Brady’s lightly sprained ankle and whether the man is “dimplelicious” or just a butt-chinned space mutant. Also, fuck Tom Brady.
12:10 pm: Spent the last ten minutes lying on my bed and yelling “Fuck Tom Brady!!!” into my pillow. Feel slightly better.
12:30 pm: I just realized that I don’t have any of the final ingredients needed for my chili: beer and bourbon. This is what I get for not being a drinker. I call my friend Porch Dog, expecting to rouse him from an alcohol-induced coma so I can raid his stash. He tells me that he is out of both beer and bourbon. I die a little inside.
12:40 pm: Spoke to other friend The MCP and all is well. He has bourbon, he has beer, now my chili won’t taste so queer. (As in strange or unusual, not homosexual. It’s against the laws of the universe for a pot of chili made on Super Bowl Sunday to display homosexual qualities, even if you make it with Pepto Bismol for pinkness and tie a ribbon around the crockpot. Super Bowl and chili = manly heterosexuality.)
12:42 pm: Spent two minutes kissing my cat and telling him how much I luvey wuvey his furry kooshiness. Signed up for that flower arranging class, also.
1 pm: I realize that at this very moment, I am elbow-deep in a bag of tortilla chips with chili dotted across my t-shirt, while Tom Brady is fucking Gisele Whoever with three Super Bowl rings on his schlong and wiping off his chiseled torso with wads of hundred dollar bills.
4 pm: Finish screaming “FUCK TOM BRADY!!!!!!!!!!” into my pillow.
5 pm: Friends are pouring in bearing armloads of chili, chips, cheese, and booze. This would be the best day of my life if only the Giants would pull out the miracle win. They can do that… right? Uh, right?
5:30 pm: We set up the trough and have begun to gorge ourselves. The MCP ate his body weight in chili in about one minute flat. I am impressed. I pop open the bag of Fritos and my second Coke. ~ This column brought to you by Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. products! Drink more Coke and Pepsi! And after the game, why not head down to that KFC/Taco Bell combination restaurant that creeps you out so badly? After the Patriots win this year’s Super Bowl, make it a 7-layer burrito and a failure pile in a sadness bowl! ~
6:20 pm: Holy shit, it’s almost kickoff. Goodbye hopes… goodbye dreams. Hello, Chin Dimple and Coach Homeless Bum. Just so you know, New England Awesomes*, the entire universe fucking. Hates. You.
6:40 pm: The Giants finish off a ten minute (!) opening drive with a field goal. Score: 3-0 Giants. The Dimple looks a little miffed, as if he’s thinking, “Don’t these douchebags know that the Awesomes* ALWAYS have the lead? Who the fuck do these guys think they are?” All across America, hopes have risen slightly – from level 20 (“I hope when my wife finds out I’m cheating on her, she doesn’t remember where our shotgun is”) to level 19 1/2 (“I hope when my wife finds out I’m cheating on her, she forgets about that pre-nup”). Translation: nobody thinks the Giants are going to win, but now we’re vaguely hopeful that they will lose entertainingly, instead of in a 50-10 avalanche of Randy Moss touchdowns.
6:50 pm: Patriots scored a touchdown on their opening drive and now lead 7-3. I have spent one solid minute shaking my head in disgust and wondering if it’s too early to pack a bunch of chips and queso into the empty spaces in my stomach where the chili hasn’t taken hold. Speaking of chili, The MCP is crashed out on the floor with what looks like Tom Brady’s illegitimate love child growing in his belly. Periodically he has been moaning things like “Heeellllp me… why aren’t any of you helping me?!” and “I can see through time… The key of C minor is purple!”
7:30 pm: Good news: The Patriots have a mere 7 points! Bad news: The Giants still have just 3! Good news: Tom Brady is getting sacked and knocked down a lot! Bad news: Eli Manning is playing as if he’s been getting sacked and knocked down a lot! Football Gods – sometimes I doubt that you really exist, but if you do, I pray to you to give the people what they want, which is a mighty smiting of the Cheatriots. Make it happen! Amen.
8 pm: Half time. Tom Petty’s baggy features and drawling whine will be our featured performers for tonight, which on a scale of Shania to Prince is closer to Prince. Porch Dog’s Little Lady makes a crack about “Tom Petty and the Crapmakers.” Oooh, wrong crowd for that joke. Don’t you know how much we like populist Americana rock ‘n roll? We’re white guys watching football and eating chili, for Christ’s sake! And we all drive Ford trucks and sing “This is ooouuuuurrrr country!” while wiping our asses with Osama Been Poopin’-brand toilet paper! Freedom ain’t free, missy! These colors don’t run! Now shut your piehole while Oldilocks and the Three Guitarists (really – THREE of those fuckers – is this Dream Theater? the Allman Brothers? oh God, I can see through time!) sing to us of free fallin’.
8:10 pm: Queso and chips for all. Though we have filled our bellies with chili of many types and characters, we all make room for this most delicious and vaguely Mexican of snacks. All of us, that is, but The poor MCP, who is screaming this from the bathroom: “ASSPLOSION! ASSSSSSPLOSION!!!!!”
8:30 pm: Not sure, but in retrospect I would guess that this is the moment Porch Dog teetered over from “mildly tipsy and pretty loud” to “drunken air raid siren.” There’s always a moment with him, but it’s often hard to see it when it happens.
9 pm: Is it just me, or is the score in this game still 7-3? What the fuck is happening? Meanwhile, the Giants have just sacked Tom Brady for the fiftieth or sixtieth time, and I pooped myself a little in pure delight. Or maybe that was pure delight + chili and queso overload. I can’t be sure, and I won’t find out until The MCP gets out of my bathroom.
9:20 pm: The Giants score a go-ahead touchdown on a pass that slipped between two Patriots defenders and landed in the hands of a receiver I’ve never heard of with the last name of Tyree. Uh, what? Hope level makes an unprecedented jump to level 6 (“I hope when my wife finds out I’m cheating on her, she is overcome with grief, gets spontaneous psychosomatic amnesia, feels bad for forgetting my name, and spends her savings on a new Mustang for me”).
9:40 pm: Patriots answer back with a touchdown of their own, to Randy Fuckin’ Moss, who does his little bird wing thing in the back of the endzone. The work of many philosophers and theologians is suddenly invalidated, as we have proof now that there is no God. Hope level declines to an unprecedented -50, for which I have no jokey description.
9:45 pm: What the fuckity fucking fuck just happened? Did my eyes deceive me, or did Eli Manning – ELI MANNING! – elude the entire Patriots defensive line, who all had hold of his limbs and were about to draw and quarter him, and chuck the ball 30 yards downfield to a well-covered gentleman named Tyree – him again? get the fuck out! – and then Tyree caught it with one hand and his HEAD? Are you serious? I don’t know anyone in Boston and have never been there, but I like to imagine that at that moment, even the citizens of that city were all nodding and saying, “Wow. Holy shit. Uh… WOW.”
9:50 pm: Giants touchdown to prediction-maker Plaxico Burress! There is a God! The will of the people! The triumph of karma! My living room is full of screaming, dancing, happy little Colts fans (and one Steeler fan to boot). We are all united in our joyous hatred of the Patriots. And our voices lift in unison (note: this actually happened) as we all chant: “SCHADENFREUDE! SCHADENFREUDE! SCHADENFREUDE!” We mispronounce the “schad” part, saying it like “shade” instead of “shah-d,” and I know my high school German teacher would be displeased. But somehow I don’t care.
Hope level is now the highest possible, a cool 1 (“I hope when my wife finds out I’m cheating on her, that she gives me a thumbs up and hops in bed with us for a raunchy threesome”).
The clock says the Patriots have 30 seconds and 3 timeouts left. They need a miracle. I need an antacid. Eli Manning needs to black out and wake up in a couple minutes after this torture is over. Poor bastard.
9:55 pm: They covered the kick well; Pats take over at the 25, down by three. Tom Brady throws an incomplete pass and then gets absolutely drilled on the next snap for a loss of ten yards. And I scream a prolonged wail of gibberish that only makes sense to The MCP, who declares me a genius and starts writing it down for publication purposes. Meanwhile, Brady throws a huge, arcing pass to Moss – we all gasp with horror – who is double-covered and unable to bring it in. Stomach… aching… testicles… shrivelling! It’s fourth down here, isn’t it? He drops back – throws again – incomplete again! The Giants have won the Super Bowl! The Patriots have NOT won the Super Bowl! Life is good!
10:05 pm: I have finally stopped laughing. Porch Dog is still uncorking a stream of invective and abuse upon Tom Brady which will be sailing around the globe for days to come, so powerful is his drunken foghorn of a voice. Lo, Diane: this is indeed the greatest night of our lives.
1 am: I finally nod off, a dreamy smile on my lips, a warm blanket of schadenfreude covering my body, a bellyload of spicy chili rocking my colon. I am happy. The Patriots have lost. 18-1, motherfuckers.