The fact I can say with certainty that there are only 48 more sleeps until this year’s NFL pool kicks off probably indicates I have a gambling habit.
The good news is this one only costs me 20 bucks a year, unlike my collection agency of other bad habits such as caffeine, codeine, nicotine and most bad things that end in een.
For the price of a toonie times 10, I get an emotional roller coaster ride 18 weeks in a row steeped in varying degrees of exhilaration and despair.
When the results tumble in for the late afternoon games on Sunday and you have a crack at the weekly winnings, you feel luckier than a speed freak locked up in a meth lab.
But when the tiebreaker for the Monday nighter rises up to bite your behind, you sink lower than the deepest bottom feeder’s belly in a matter of seconds. And sometimes stay that way off and on unfortunately until the next week’s games begin.
I’ve won a couple of hundred dollars during the six years I’ve been involved in the pool, which consists of a few close friends, some former colleagues at the City of Langford, a few people I’ll never meet and, for the past four years, the bride. Joan actually holds the distinction of being the only one in our motley mix of misfits that turned in a perfect week of 14 and oh!, a stat she’s only too happy to share whether you ask her or not.
Although that sure made for a rough week for me in the coffee room at city hall, it’s generally tons of fun sharing the agonies and ecstasies with her each week.
You don’t however, want to watch the Monday night game with us if we’re tied for the lead and happen to be on opposite sides of the field, unless you’re carrying a whistle and wearing a shirt vertically striped in black and white.
More than the money, much of the pool’s appeal is that for a measly $20 can you can spend 15 minutes on the phone with someone named Naked Mole Rat dissecting a bad call that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Or find someone else similarly stunted who understands what a difference it would have made if that kick had doinked through the uprights instead of wide left with two seconds left on the clock.
Or my personal favourite, getting to patiently explain ad nauseam to Quest Field that although a computer glitch prevented him from changing a couple of picks 10 minutes before kickoff, it’s not part of a wide-scale conspiracy and his chances of successfully suing Yahoo for damages, pain and suffering are slim to none.
As you have probably wagered by now, for most of us eagerly anticipating that next dive into the Pigskin Pickers Pool, “Know Your Limit And Play Within It” really doesn’t make much sense at all.
Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident. He’s also a Habs fan, but we won’t hold that against him.