(Scrabble players should read all the way to the end.)
So I did a post on my Thanksgiving that I managed to, somehow, make disappear. No idea how. I’m oh so smart. Moving on…
In what’s become a bit of a tradition–at least for now–I played in my third Turkey Bowl this year. In case you don’t remember–and I certainly don’t expect you to–the Turkey Bowl’s a touch football game my brother plays in with a buddy of his from work and a bunch of dudes from his hometown of Nyack, NY. It’s a fun time, but lemme tell ya–it lets me know that I ain’t no spring chicken. And I say this even though I play with a bunch of dudes that aren’t even autumn chickens anymore.
Anyway, I’ve had a beef in my previous times at the TB–not getting the ball thrown to me. I don’t get mad at it, per se. I’m a newcomer to a game that’s been played annually for 27 years. Gotta pay some dues. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s odd being a 27 year-old, 6-feet-4 black man and not getting passes in a game primarily populated by middle-aged white men. Stereotypes suck, but I wondered if I should be insulted.
There were explanations for this, though. My first Turkey Bowl, my hands betrayed me in warmups, making me look a tad unreliable. The second year, the ball was thrown to me on a crucial down. But see, it was freezing cold and wet, so I had to wear gloves and a knit hat. When I turned around on a hitch route, the ball was headed my way. All of a sudden, my hat fell over my face on some Dumb Donald shit and my sweats fell down (faulty drawstring). By the time I pulled my hat up, I had just enough time to get my hands up, deflect the ball, watch it float over my head and into my brother’s hands for an interception that was taken all the way to the house. That sucked.
This year, your boy came through. Didn’t win MVP, but did come through with two picks, a sack, a pass deflection and…a catch! First TB reception, and it felt good. ‘Twas even for a crucial first down, and I notched my first Turkey Bowl victory.
Yes, I’m excited about all those things.
The next day–and today–I wasn’t so happy. I felt like I’d gotten my ass kicked. My brother looked at me today and said, “you know, it’s fair to say the Turkey Bowl is a bit debilitating.” Oy.
Now, odd times…
Played Scrabble after Thanksgiving dinnner (which, it should be noted, was off the chains. Won the first game because I was fortunate enough to get the Q, Z, X, J and K. That’s a Royal Flush, more or less. The second game was a bit different. Raced out to a big lead after starting the game with a 7-letter word (thanks, Mama, for telling me what a leavener is, which let me play “leavens”). Then, I kinda lost control. Things went all the way bad when my opponent played “ami” with some other stuff for 33 points. It was late in the game, and I figured it was worth the risk to challenge. I mean, “ami” isn’t English. But somehow, my man knew that “ami” had been added to the English language (and he knew when, apparently, because he asked what the copyright date on the dictionary was). I lost the challenge, and was down about 5 with maybe a couple of hands left.
On what I hoped would be my second to last play, I played the word “cauter.” I figured that if cauterize was a word, cauter had to be. Then, I offered a warning to my opponent–if he challenged, the game would be over because I’d go out on the next play. He didn’t hassle me, but he did make a decent play to put him up 14.
I looked in my hand, and I knew what was about to happen. The best play I could make would clear out my tiles be worth 12 points. If dude had a 1-point tile in his hand, the game would be a tie.
It was a tie, 305-305. Never had that one happen before. And it only happened because I made a bad challenge and bluffed my way through a bogus word. Gamesmanship, baby!
And now, I return to being physically debilitated. Happy Thanksgiving, even if belated.