Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Season of the Witch

Sometimes in all-in situations, say, when there’s one last river card to come, players will entertain themselves by calling out specific cards a beat before the card is revealed. “Eight of diamonds!” will shout a player, enacting a kind of prognosticator’s freeroll that gets promptly ignored if wrong, but celebrated if somehow the guess proves correct.

That celebration is usually forgotten fairly quickly, too, as it should be. But it still can add up to a fun moment for those involved, the way it goofily suggests the gambler’s dream of extra-normal powers of perception.

Last week while in Brazil, I was chatting with Reinaldo on Wednesday about the upcoming NFL games. He and I are both in the same Pigskin Pick’em pool and while we’re both far out of the running overall, we’re neck-and-neck with each other, and so are having some fun going back and forth about which of us will end the season with more correct picks out of the 256 total NFL regular season games.

My Carolina Panthers played on Thanksgiving, and somewhat hilariously were an underdog to the Dallas Cowboys despite Carolina being 10-0 going into the game while Dallas was 3-7. The reason for the line, of course, was the fact that Dallas starting QB Tony Romo was back in the line-up, and so far during the year Dallas had lost exactly zero games when he’d played (three) and won exactly zero when he hadn’t (seven).

Laying on a little bit of fan-fueled hyperbole, I pretended to express outrage about the Panthers being somehow disrespected by such a line. But in truth I knew the Panthers outmatched Dallas, even with Romo. “The Panthers will roll tomorrow,” I told Reinaldo. “In fact, they’ll knock Romo out of the game.”

As I mentioned last week, we were able to keep tabs on the T-giving games while at the tournament, and so I greatly enjoyed watching Carolina fulfill my prediction as they jumped in front of Dallas, then continued to pull away as the third quarter neared its close. It was about that time I shot my buddy Rich Ryan a message.

“Saw this coming all the way from South America,” I boasted. “I’m just surprised they haven’t knocked Romo out of the game yet.”

Less than a minute after I hit send, Romo was sacked hard by Thomas Davis, reinjuring his collarbone and having to leave the game. Indeed, his season is over.

“Sick timing brah,” replied Rich before I could even fire back an “ahem” to punctuate the uncanny coincidence of the message.

Reinaldo was impressed as well, and after asking me what the male equivalent of a witch is, promptly called me a warlock. (That picture up above, by the way, is one of your humble scribbler from long ago, one Vera coincidentally found while I was gone.)

Even though I have no particular feelings about Dallas, I’ve always liked Romo. And even if I didn’t, I obviously was not glad to have seen him get hurt. Even so I’ll admit to having experienced the momentary, frivolous pleasure that comes with guessing correctly.

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