When the Going Gets Weird

Filed in Other by on December 11, 2010

It was sometime around eleven o'clock last Sunday morning and I was sitting at a cheap contrived café serviced by tattooed rockabilly types with bad haircuts and hairy armed hippy girls with names like Aurora and Nico called Retro when Kirley decided it would be a wise idea to rent a BMW convertible and set sail for the golden sands and cool water of the beach.

It seemed like a grand idea. It was thirty-four degrees and the mercury was rising, the sun pounding the inner-city concrete like Louis pounded whatever bum of the month was standing in front of him. Kirley hadn't been to sleep yet. I had snuck a few hours in, all after the sun rose though, mind you. The coffee was black and strong and deluded us into believing that this was just another Sunday that we would have few problems dealing with. Never mind the heat or the lack of sleep or the intense discussion that circled around from bimetallism to the cougar rating of Natasha McElhone to the relative healing nature of gin that was probably a red flag for what lay ahead.

The Saturday night that led to that Sunday morning had obviously been, as the Spanish and the Chileans and the Mexicans would say, muy grande . The Dazzler was out. We polished off a bottle of Grey Goose at some strange Lonsdale Street club as the new dawn cracked. Kirley had been on Japanese whiskey but we lost him after Melbourne Supper Club, where cocktails and cigars were fashionably consumed, and I didn't hear from him until he called for breakfast. Kelly Kim, November Nine legend, had attracted the affections of some poker loving young kitten smitten with his style and success. Her intoxicated and recently heartbroken friend was just as taken by The Dazzler. The Row Boat was asking me about the days of Top Rope Tedeschi. We had come to the Supper Club after witnessing some manifestly disturbing dancefloor bukkake at Silk Road, where the women were mean sevens and median eights but were outnumbered by dicks in suits ten-to-one. Those trying to enjoy the view had to deal with the aggressive mating ritual of The Suit that involves many of them circling a small group of women and then thrusting forcefully and with intent. Mike the Machine, mid-nineties goatee and all, was part of this lot. What this has to do with anything is not real clear at this stage and may not be for many years to come but needless to say it does offer some explanation for our overly optimistic state and lack of preparedness for any left turn that Sunday morning.

Not that Sunday got horrible or brutal or even mean. It just got a little weird. And when the going gets a little weird and you are shaky from the night before and you are riding top down in a convertible and belting out “Home” and the temperature is pushing forty and you have forgotten both sunscreen and water, you tend to respond with all the subtlety of a Mikey Robbins attempt at humour.

We were very excited to arrive at the beach when we did, in fact, arrive. For starters, we were alive, a minor miracle of sorts. There were attractive girls in skimpy bikinis frolicking and playing volleyball and catching a combination of sunrays and skin cancer. Most importantly, however, there was water and the prospect of being cool.

Kirley and I were straight into the drink. The lead-up was a blur of jogging and clothes flying and giddy schoolgirl laughing. There wasn't even any sunscreen, a fact I can currently attest to with my shoulders still capable of frying an egg in less than thirty seconds. We hit the water at pace and we stayed there for quite a while, washing away the hangover and the heat.

When we returned to shore sometime later, a group had oddly set up virtually on top of where our gear was left. Despite the ample space and common beach etiquette which suggests you should give at least 4 ½ metres in every direction to those who have planted their flag, this foursome had spread-eagled themselves right on top of us.

And a foursome it certainly was with the smart money being on everycombination of the group having slept with each other at some time or other. Both guys with both girls. Both guys with each other. Both girls with each other. Two guys and one girl. Two girls and one guy. All four together. Folks, we were almost certainly dealing with orgy people.

Both men wore speedos so tight and revealing that for comparisons sake makes Tony Abbott appear to go swimming in a full bodied Victorian swimsuit. Both of the women, older but reasonably attractive, particularly in comparison to their partners, were wearing equally scanty bikinis in the style likely to have been seen at the height of the eighties economic boom. One of the men wore a bandana and some manicured facial hair on his chin and constantly bent over in front of us. The other guy had an arm and chest full of tattoos with Chinese script and barbed wire as well as a collection of gold chains and piercings. He also had a pencil thin moustache on his upper lip. One of the women sat down in the shallow waters on some kind of phallic flotation device and humorously simulated sex. Kirley and I couldn't quite tell whether they had just come from a gangbang or whether they were on their way.

In any case, we packed it up quick smart. We aren't orgy people. We don't have orgy friends. We don't wear robes and we only don moustaches sparsely and always ironically. The going had got weird and we weren't in any state to deal with it.

We will be much more prepared on Monday morning, however, with the sharpies expecting a good deal of weirdness in this year's Super Bowl.

All the public money in the Super Bowl has been for the Colts and the Over. It is as if the game has already been played. The Colts are being bet like they can't lose. The over is being bet like a shootout is the only way the game will be played out. Peyton Manning is in the sauce to win the MVP. Manning and Brees will engage in a shootout. The Saints will be in it for a while but the class of the Colts will prevail. Or so the script has it…

Football is rarely that simple, however, and the sharp and the wise will always expect the unexpected, particularly when such value exists in taking on the public cash. The public wanted to hit the Steelers laying seven points last year and those playing the favourite duly lost. Every punter in the world wanted to play the Patriots at the big minus in 2008 and all were duly embarrassed when the Giants won outright as double-figure dogs. The Rams in 2002 were another example of every punter wanting to play the one team and losing.

The Super Bowl is no scripted fairytale and it rarely plays out to a tidy and expected ending.

Seven of the last ten favourites have lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophybut only three favourites have covered the line dating back to 2000. Six of the last ten championship deciders have gone under and only once when the total has gone over has the favourite covered. Three of the last five MVP winners have been wide receivers while two defensive players have won the award in the last eight years and a special team's specialist won in 1997. Terrell Davis in 1998 is the only running back since 1994 to claim the Pete Rozelle Trophy.

The moral, as always: football is a complex game played on a field of green grass by human beings, not a simple mathematical equation or a charming fairytale played out on a computer or on paper or in newspaper columns by writers trying to push the populist line. It rarely plays out like Varsity Blues or Any Given Sunday.

This game could very well play out 35-28 Colts with Manning winning the MVP. But I doubt it. I have seen too much football and too many deciders to believe it will all be so neat and tidy, just perfect like the ending to a 1950's family sitcom.

This one is going to get weird. Something like the Saints 21-20 or theColts 27-10. My preference is for the former. I will be playing the Saints and the Under.

The Saints and the Colts look far more evenly matched than the public is giving the Saints credit for. They don't lose much at quarterback with Brees though Manning has a slight edge. At receiver the two match-up perfectly. Wayne and Colston. Henderson and Garcon. Moore and Collie. The only edge the Colts get is at tight end. That is more than offset by the Saints edge at running back with Pierre Thomas a better back than Joseph Addai while Reggie Bush provides the Saints with a home run threat that the Colts don't have in the backfield. Defensively neither team is great but both have match winners with the Saints having Darren Sharper and Jonathan Vilma and the Colts having star ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis though Freeney will be playing with a dicey ankle. Neither team stops the run well. Both teams are up and down on special teams. The Saints hold a slight edge at coach.

The best indicator of how the two teams match up was how each played the Patriots. The Colts were soundly beaten before coming back late for a miracle win. The Saints pounded the Patriots into the ground. The only reason the Colts are such heavy favourites is momentum. The Saints enter the Super Bowl with a reputation as a team that can't cover and who has been lucky to advance while the Colts have continually covered and have been the punters pal over the backend of the year. Momentum doesn't mean much when it comes to Super Bowl Sunday though.

This gambler will be playing the Saints with the points along with the under on the big total of 56 ½. These are the two value plays. Dumb money has given us the edge on both plays. Now all there is to do is wait for the unexpected. And hope The Fates are on our side and singing “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

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