Yup, that’s me….praying as usual. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. All my life I wanted to be a sports gambler. It all started back in Ms. Cefalo’s sixth grade music class. I can still remember walking into the classroom seeing her desk and the old ragged piano prominently displayed at the front of the room. Across the tops of the walls around the room, sheet music with notes like accented wallpaper. In the corner, an assortment of instruments, band hand-me-downs, which once passed as acceptable instruments of sound. The desks, worn from years of usage, lined up in disheveled rolls. Sliding into my seat, feeling the slight give of the desktop as my body shifted into the seat. The carved out indention at the top to place my pencil. The wired metal basket underneath to place any carry-on baggage for this musical trip down Penny Lane. Ms. Cefalo would always teach the class and then divide the class up into groups to work together on the lesson from the textbook. A group of my friends would always slide our desks and form a circle to begin, or more appropriately, “pretend”, to do the lessons. What would really transpire is a no holds bar round-robin games of paper football and our weekly picks for the upcoming NFL weekend. The stakes, being as we were fifth graders, carried a king’s ransom, with a buy-in of $1. Not big bucks, but with five boys playing, a weekend victory provided an embarrassment of riches at the school candy store. 14 games (yes, 14. This was before the expansion…yeah, I’m old). Just pick the winner of each game each week. And more times than I can recall (I’ve had worse bad beats since then) a $1 bill left my pocket never to be seen again. I find solace in hoping that they traveled the world and eventually found a home in a stripper’s G-string. My mother found solace in the dental exam giving me a clean bill of health.
As the years have passed, I’ve gambled on pretty much every sport that would offer odds. Nothing like backing the Bangladesh Tigers in an intense cricket matchup against the New Zealand Black Caps. You should try it. So my problem isn’t that I can’t find the action, my problem is I can’t win once I do. I’m a loser. Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Roy Sullivan and Looney. Probably the single greatest collection of unluckiest people on Earth. Only two cities have ever been destroyed by atomic bombs. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in both of them. Yamaguchi was on a business trip to Hiroshima when the atomic bomb blew up less than two miles away. After spending a night in an air raid shelter, Yamaguchi decided Hiroshima probably wasn’t the safest place to conduct business, so he went home. To Nagasaki. Roy Sullivan was a U.S. park ranger and was struck by lightning…seven times!! Statistically, getting hit by lightning is a three-thousand to one chance. Therefore getting hit seven times is about twenty-two septillion to one. That’s 22,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. And then there is me, Looney. Give me a matchup and statistically speaking, you are better off going with the other team I pick. Every time? Well, not every time, because ol’ Roy wasn’t struck by lightning every thunderstorm either, however; given time, I end up picking losers more often than I pick winners. How bad? Chances are I would have laid a “To Win” ticket on Sham during the 1973 Belmont Stakes, had I been old enough. No way Sham finishes second for a third time, right? That’s just me. Never been able to consistently pick a winner. My friend used to say, “Looney could fall into a barrel of breasts and come out sucking his thumb!”
So why do I still do it you ask? Because, for one, I love the action. And two, my musical career never really took off as Ms. Cefalo had envisioned. So what’s the rub? Well, my unfortunate luck can be your gain. When you sign up, you will get my own personal picks that I, myself, will be wagering on and all you have to do is simply bet the opposition. So kick the tires, raise the hood, have a look around and consider signing up and give ol’ Looney a try.
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