Everyone into the pool

Paula Tessier
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I can hardly believe a full year has passed since my husband uttered the magic words that eventually left more than a dozen men scratching their heads in disbelief on a weekly basis for most of the winter season. Words that I’ve heard before, words that seemed so innocent at the time.

“Hey Paula, you want to join our football pool?”

There I was, the lone female amongst a crew of football obsessed men who spend their weekends watching teams of men throwing around the pigskin, risking every joint and bone in their bodies, all in hopes of getting at least 10 yards distance in order to try it all again for at least another 10, until they are in the end zone.

Each of these football poolers used very macho sounding nicknames that would imply they really knew what they were at, names that suggested they really took time to evaluate the most likely winners in hopes of taking the big prize at the end of the season.

Truth be told, there was no huge payout, just the idea of taking $20 from a buddy who would have received such pleasure out of taking your own dough. Yes, that was apparently satisfaction enough.

So for 17 weeks and 256 games, we all looked at the schedule, made our picks and hoped for the best. My strategy was admittedly quite different from the other participants, but it clearly worked because at the end of last season, oh yes indeed, I ended up at the top of the leader board!

It was lovely … I can use the word lovely to describe winning something at football, right?

So, just a few short weeks ago, that question was posed once again and, given my past success, it seemed only fitting to give it another shot.

Hubby’s involvement only consists of a gentle reminder each week to make my team picks for the games pending. Now I have been known to forget — this isn’t that high on my list of priorities — but he knows how to push my buttons. “I’ll just make your picks for you,” he states, knowing full well that will never, ever happen!

So, three weeks in, I wake on Monday morning and the first thing I check is the online news; the second thing I check is the online pool. And wouldn’t you know it, amongst handles like James Bond, Pinball, Cola, Dolfan and Glue, sits one ChickP. Actually, I don’t sit amongst them. My nickname is, to my shock more than most, at the top of the heap again!

I don’t know how, I don’t know why, I don’t even watch the games. While I don’t have a clue how to buy a lottery ticket, and would be the most bored and lost person in Vegas, I do check the odds for each football match up, only follow the experts’ advice on occasion, and follow my own tried and true strategy.

Yes, it sometimes does have to do with which quarterback is a nice guy, which one plays with his children on the field after the big games, which teams are known for exceptional community work, and yes, which city I’d like to visit someday. Don’t laugh, I’m sure Mike Ditka uses a similar strategy!

So now I think the rest of the football pool guys are questioning it all. Heck, my husband is questioning it all.

This past weekend, somewhat frustrated, more shocked, he wondered aloud, “How is this happening? How are you doing this? I watch football all the time, have for years, you only watch part of the Superbowl!”

I’m certain someone will eventually surpass me on the leader board, and I will be gracious about it, but until then I’m sticking with my strategy. Oh yes, and looking at new shoes to purchase with my potential winnings.

Doesn’t everyone who wins a football pool do that?

Email Paula Tessier at chickp@bellaliant.net.

Geographic location: Vegas

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