Sep 24, 2009
Bumper Lanes, Rachel Hunter, The Dick Vermeil Bowl, Purple Jesus, Khadafi’s Face, Megan Fox’ Thumb, and a Dora the Explorer Sleeping Bag
It’s Sunday morning. I’ve got my cup of coffee, a couple pieces of toast and the newspaper sprawled across the kitchen table. My six year-old daughter asks me if I’ll do something with her. “Let’s do something today, Daddy”, she says. My first internal reaction is to question whether or not she’s kidding. I look back at her…. She’s not kidding. Does she not know that it’s Sunday? Have I not trained her on this already? She cannot be serious. Can she? Sunday is Football Day. I’ve got a full day of tv watching ahead of me. Pre-game shows, the Bengals-Packers at 1:00, followed by the 4:00 game, the Sunday nighter, then the wrap-up show on the NFL Network, etc, etc. When am I gonna have time to “do something”? Is she crazy? I look back at her again. Then it hits me. She’s not the crazy one, I am. I’m going to brush her off for the Bengals? That’s crazy. She’s never done anything to me. Well, not really. The Bengals, on the other hand, well, they’ve inflicted many a case of mental anguish upon me over the years. Plus, I really don’t know if I can handle witnessing another 0-2 start to a season. I look back at her cute little anticipating face and tell her, “Yes. Let’s go do something.”
After a couple minutes of pondering exactly what to do, a short consultation with the wife and a quick phone call to the neighbors, the plan is set. We’ll have lunch, my daughter and I will pick up a friend of hers, then spend a rainy afternoon at the bowling alley before meeting my wife and youngest daughter back at the house for dinner. I set the television to record the game (God bless the DVR) and I decide that I’ll watch the game later in the off chance that the Bengals win. If they don’t, I’ll delete it and limit my misery to an over-the-phone recap from my pal Johnny B. Either way the next four hours are going to be Bengal-free. We hop in the car, pick up my daughter’s friend and I steer the radio clear of the game, opting instead for some classic rock. After a fifteen minute ride which includes a lesson from me to the girls about the historical significance of Led Zeppelin on the genre of hard rock, we arrive at the bowling alley.
Bowling alleys are, how can I put this politely…. A white trash disaster. I say this while acknowledging that I spent a lot of my early teens hanging out around a bowling alley. Western Bowl was where I learned how to shoot pool, play video games, cup a cigarette, start a fight, avoid a fight, steal beers off tables from unsuspecting adults when they got up to use the bathroom, and various other wonderful talents befitting an adolescent in the late 80’s. I found it to be a fantastic place to spend a lot of my formative time, mainly because I didn’t know any better.
Have you ever noticed that bowling alleys all share the same smell? Kinda musty, nicotine-y, with more than just a trace of stale beer and a hint of despair. They all have low drop-ceilings, fifty year-old carpet, crappy bolted-down hard plastic seats, and some of the classier ones even have a “quality” surf & turf restaurant attached at one end. When I was young, I used to walk in and feel an energy from the place, like I was in the heart of the action. Now when I walk in, I just get a creepy vibe from ‘em. I can’t help but think that somewhere on the premises someone is selling someone else a baggie full of something while a couple of lonely guys sit in the lounge drinking away their retirement funds and a teenage girl decides whether or not to do something really stupid with some skinny dude who just failed his G.E.D., again.
I take the girls up to the counter, get them their bowling shoes and ask the guy to set up the lane for bumper bowling. He obliges while his fat, early-thirties co-worker who looks like he just finished reading a comic book and polishing-off a piled-high bologna sandwich, chimes in with “They’ll never learn how to bowl if they get used to relying on the bumpers. It’s just like you can’t learn to ride a bike if you don’t take off the training wheels.” I tell him, “Look at ‘em. They’re six years old. They each weigh about forty pounds and will have to roll six-pound balls. That’s like you rolling a fifty-pound ball. Just give me the bumpers.” So lane #29 gets set up with the bumpers.
As we settle in at the lane, I look up towards the scorecard screen and there’s a problem. There’s a television up there and it’s tuned to the Bengals game. I quickly scan left and right and notice that lane #24 has a tv that’s either broken or turned off, so I go up to the counter and request a lane change. From that point on, things went perfectly. The girls and I laughed and had a good time, we munched on some popcorn, and I only sparingly glanced over to the tv in the next lane to check in on the game. After a couple games, the girls were tired and ready to go. We left and headed over to Graeter’s to kill some more time. Knowing my daughter, I knew that one of their single-scoop waffle cones would occupy her for approximately twenty five minutes. That time plus the ride home should get me past the end of the game and keep the afternoon Bengals-free as planned (more or less). Graeter’s great, as usual, and my assumption of twenty five minutes was almost right on the nose. By the way, the girls highly recommend mint chocolate chip (which for the record is now white, not green) and I highly recommend trying the Elena’s Blueberry Pie ice cream. It was so good, I almost lost control of two bodily functions.
When we finally get back home, I call Johnny B to see if the game has ended. He tells me that it’s not over yet but that the Bengals have it in the bag. Based on his assessment, I feel confident in turning it on so I can revel in the glory of a kneel-down. I should have known better. Johnny should have known better. Instead of reveling, I’m watching a lost on-sides kick and biting my nails up to the final gun. So much for a completely Bengal-free, stress-free Sunday. But all things considered, it was a really nice day. The Bengals won, I won, my daughter won…. Everybody’s happy. Thanks to my daughter, the person who invented bumper lanes, the person who invented DVR technology, the good people at Graeter’s, and Antwan Odom, it was the most enjoyable Bengals Sunday I’ve had in recent memory.
Now, on with the matchups….
Browns at Ravens-
Do you think Baltimore misses Rex Ryan? Maybe just a little? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; losing him was the equivalent of removing Lee Marvin from The Dirty Dozen. The defense will still be good, just not scary, make the offense whiz-down-their legs good. So far, the proof is in the stats. After two games, the Ravens have allowed 50 points and have the league’s 29th rated pass defense. The good news for them is that the Browns, led by Brady Quinn, Medicine Woman, are dead last in the league in offense. That’s surprising. I mean, who would ever think that this guy would struggle in the NFL?
Skins at Shirts (Lions)-
My sleeper team is still sleeping. This could get embarrassing. If the Redskins fall to the Lions, it’s going to go down as my worst prediction since I placed action on Rachel Hunter to win Dancing with the Stars a couple of seasons ago. And no, I’m not gay. But I may have a gambling problem.
Jaguars at Texans-
The Jack Del Rio Farewell Tour heads to Houston!
Falcons at Patriots-
If it wasn’t for a horrible brain cramp by the Bills punt returner in week one, the Pats would be sitting at 0-2 right now. Baked Bean Nation is in a tizzy over their start and all I’ve heard from them this week are things like, “Brady’s hesitant ‘cause of the knee”, “He’s not stepping into his throws”, “Our offensive line is crap”, etc. If they lose to BC grad Matt Ryan this Sunday, everyone in Chowderland are going to lose their collective minds. Especially this guy….
Saints at Bills-
The Saints offense is just ridiculous. They’ve put up 93 points already in just two games. They’ve had 24 offensive possessions and have scored on 15 of them. I’ve been married for eleven years and I’ve only scored on five of our possessions-- our bed, the couch, the backseat of the car, the loveseat, and a Dora the Explorer sleeping bag. Although you probably can’t count the sleeping bag because I was alone for that one.
Packers at Rams-
Aaron Rodgers has been hit more than Rhianna after an awards show. The Packers have thus far allowed him to be sacked ten times in two games, worst in the league by a long shot. They’re missing their starting left tackle and their left guard & center each lack both experience and talent. It may just be another Mexican food lunch talking back at me here, but my gut tells me the Rams might take this one. My gut also tells me that there’s a cat stuck in a tree somewhere nearby. I’ll be right back. Here’s something to watch while I’m gone. Enjoy….
Okay, I rescued the cat from the tree. And by “cat” I mean bottle of Miller High Life. And by “tree” I mean refrigerator. We can move on now.
Giants at Buccaneers-
I may have been wrong about the G-Men missing Plaxico. I thought they’d take a step back without a legit deep threat but so far they’ve done just fine in the passing game. Much of the credit has to go to their O-Line for giving Eli all day to throw the ball. Meanwhile, the Bucs defense is, well, not good. They’ve allowed an average of 33 points and 450 yards per game. My God, if only their cheerleaders were as easy to score on.
Titans at Jets-
This is where I usually mock the J! E! T! S! cheer but this week I’m gonna cut them some well-deserved slack. They’re now 2-0, after having just knocked off the Pats, and Rex Ryan has their defense playing like a group of highly-trained rabid jackals. I don’t know what’s scarier right now, the Jets defense or Muammar Khadafi’s face.
Whoops. Easy mistake.
Chiefs at Eagles-
Hey, it’s The Dick Vermeil Bowl.
Winner gets a motion-activated bust of the old emotional coach that cries real tears. Loser gets a year’s supply of Pudding Pops. Oh wait, I got that backwards.
Niners at Vikings-
The Niners are ranked #30 in passing offense.
The Vikings are ranked #32 in passing offense.
The Niners have thrown just one pass for over twenty yards so far.
The Vikings have also thrown just one pass for over twenty yards.
Both teams have yet to throw an interception.
The Niners are ranked #3 in run defense.
The Vikings are ranked #1 in rushing offense.
When in doubt, always side with the Purple Jesus.
And Damn the Niners. Damn them straight to hell!
Bears at Seahawks-
The Seahawks pride themselves on their 12th man at home. Well, they’d better hope that 12th man can play quarterback. Hasselbeck’s out this week and maybe beyond after someone hassled his back (sorry) last week against the Niners. This adds up to an unwanted Seneca Wallace sighting in the Great Northwest. It’s kinda like a Sasquatch sighting only Seneca smells better but has a weaker arm and a flimsier grasp of the playbook.
Steelers at Bengals-
We’ve heard a lot about Roethlisberger and his alleged indiscretions with a young lady (Andrea McNulty) out in Vegas in the offseason. As Bengals fans, let’s not forget that we once had a player who also had some questionable morals….
Oh. My. God. That is AWESOME! I don’t know what was better, the music in the background or the line “I like girls who aren’t that bright….”
That being said, I’ll be the guy at PBS this Sunday holding up the sign that reads “That One Was for You, Andrea” each time he gets sacked.
Broncos at Raiders-
Time for this week’s pop quiz…
Which of the following is not true?
a)The Broncos are 2-0
b)Kyle Orton has yet to throw an interception
c)The Broncos defense is ranked second in the league
d)Kyle Orton has a better passer rating than Jay Cutler
e)Megan Fox does not have a disturbing physical deformity
Answer: Sadly, none of the above
Dolphins at Chargers-
It’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!
Colts at Cardinals-
The Colts beat the Fish on Monday Night despite only having the ball for fifteen minutes. That’s staggering. And it reminds me of a euphemism a college buddy of mine used to toss around. He used the phrase “Time of Possession” to refer to the amount of time he spent making his girlfriend happy and vice-versa, if you catch my drift. I remember one morning asking him how his night went. He said, “I dominated her in time of possession but a false start killed me.” I can’t remember half of my professor’s names or half of the papers I wrote back then but I’ll never forget that line.
Panthers at Cowboys-
It’s not breaking news to report that Jake Delhomme continues to be an interception machine. He’s now tossed six of ‘em in his first two games to follow-up his five-pick performance in the playoffs last season. Here he is preparing for his new job. As you can see, the arm still needs some work.
Posted by Smitty