The best defence is a good offence, they say, so this is my defence for why I placed third-last in my inaugural NFL Pool contest: I had no idea what I was doing.
Yet, I ran with the ball week after week, and despite fumbles, many bad calls and unexpected upsets, I had the best time losing.
But there are two wins that I will not forget.
First I should tell you that competing in an NFL pool against my spouse, the Carpenter, invigorated our relationship by highlighting our competitive nature.
Friendly banter is healthy in a marriage, right? I perfected the art of chirping at calls and offering unsolicited commentary when the plays didn’t quite go the way of his quarterback. And he found new ways to jest me, which speaks to his frustration that I was fourth place overall in the Pick of the Week pool. Bam.
I took my losses with grace, but the wins were amazing. Take week three: Arizona Cardinals versus the Dallas Cowboys. I picked the Cardinals, knowing nothing of the team. I just like the bird. Yep, you read that right. I also like cowboys, (boy do I), but I will never cheer for Dallas because, ugh, Dallas.
I didn’t disclose my picks to the Carpenter and we didn’t watch the game, so it wasn’t until we got our weekly pool results that he found out that I had the Pick of the Week winner. Shock was quickly replaced with hysterics.
“You picked the Cardinals over the Cowboys?” he said, bending over in laughter that appeared painful, slapping his thighs, watery eyes, gasping at breath. “Only you would do that. Only you would pick the Cardinals and win. Unreal.”
I earned some respect there, though it made him nervous. You know when a man looks at a woman like maybe she’s a witch? Yeah, that kind of nervousness.
While I won a few games each week, I went under in the pool standings (let the record show that the Carpenter came in at 135th in the pool, so let’s not get too cocky there honey, cough).
Then, it came down to the Divisional Champions and while the NFL pool was closed, the competitive splashing was not.
Last Sunday’s game: Kansas City versus Buffalo Bills. The Carpenter was ranting about Patrick Mahomes (“Mahomely” as he calls him) and how Buffalo would stampede all over that team.
Now, I’m not a KC fan, but I’m also not a bitter Seahawks fan, so I chirped back.
The result was a $20 bet, winner takes all.
That was the most tense game the Carpenter and I have watched together all season because there was skin in the game now. This was personal. The tension was electric in our living room. The score was too close for comfort. The calls, too close for comfort. But I never lost faith.
Witch, you say? Kansas City beat the Buffalo Bills 27-24. The Carpenter thus handed me $20 while I played DJ Khaled’s song “All I Do Is Win,” on my phone. Victory was mine.
Big thanks to our friends in Harriston, who invited us into the NFL Pool. I didn’t make a splash, but I sure enjoyed treading water.
Now to use my powers for Super Bowl LVIII.