Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reno Failure

Well, it wasn’t failure, but it got pretty close to it. I just got back from spending a month in Reno, over the course of three days. Felt like a month, anyway. What a strange trip. I’m glad I made it, I guess. Just a few random thoughts:

The Game: In a word, it sucked. It really sucked. I know: Tech won, so it’s all good. But Jesus that was ugly. It had to be one of the worst officiated, worst coached and worst played games I’ve witnessed. Seeing as how I used to coach Pee Wee league, that’s saying something. It seemed like both teams were locked in a mortal contest of “fart and fall down” with the team least consistent in this endeavor the most likely to succeed. This game had it all. Fumbled snaps, dropped balls, over thrown passes, blocked punts, unsuccessful 4th down tries from the 29th yard line (on Tech’s side of the field), phantom holding calls. You name it; if it was bad, this game had it. Yeech!

Harrell looked terrible (see what I did there?). So many of his passes were off the mark and so many looked as if they were just lofted up in the air for anybody to grab, it led the Nevada fans around me to begin yelling “He’s just not that good!” I wanted to argue, but truth is, I couldn’t. It didn’t help that what Nevada’s corners were doing to Tech’s receivers would amount to a Class A misdemeanor for assault in many jurisdictions; the timing of the routes was clearly affected. Still, it stunk on ice.

There were some nice moments, though. You could tell that Morris was going to break that punt return early on, and it was fun to watch. On one of the few long connections Harrell made to Crabtree, the pass was underthrown. Crabtree had to come back for it, giving the cover guy a chance to grab him. What Crabtree did to him before breaking away was almost violative of the Geneva Convention. There were some nice runs: all of a sudden, we’re a running team? The defense looked like the defenses of old: “Lyle style.” But, they stiffened several times in the red zone after giving up a lot of yards.

A word about the officiating: When I was waiting to board the plane at DFW, I saw several guys with Big XII luggage entering the waiting area. One of the bags was being pulled by a middle aged, lanky guy, and it had “Jon Bible” embroidered on it. I thought “Oh Sh*t. I thought he only came to screw us when we played UT.” I will say, fellow Tech fans, that I gave thought to “taking one for the team” and trying to push him out of the hatch once we got to altitude. But he would have just parachuted to safety on the flag he always has at the ready anyway. At the game, his officiating was up to its usual level of ineptitude, although I must admit, his calls were just as bad for Nevada as they were for Tech. It surpassed the point of ridiculousness when he tried to flag Tech for roughing the kicker on a blocked punt. Even his fellow refs couldn’t take it anymore; they talked him into waiving off the flag.

Nevada’s team: By the way, their players have funny names. Lippencott. Kaepernick. Fragger. Sounds like something Jonathan Swift would write as a chapter title: “My Arrival in Lippincott Upon the Fragger.” Too bad about Lippincott’s knee. He’s a quality guy. Also, their band had a flag dude. You know…where teams have a band with a drill team and they have girls with flags. They had a dude out there with the girls waving the flags around. As Forrest Gump would say: “They even had a flag dude. That’s all I have to say about that.”

All in all, it was a win, and they covered the 12.5 spread I put $100 on at the casino before leaving for the game. So, it could have been much worse. It’s still early in the season, and there is time to work out the bugs. But if they play like this against UT or OU, it’s going to be ugly.

Their Fans: It’s interesting, being at a college game where they sell beer. I expected it to be pretty rowdy, but it wasn’t that bad. I sat on the north 45 yard line, in a nest of about 10 Tech fans completely surrounded by Nevada fans. No real problems. One guy in front of me was hammered and spent a lot of time wiggling his butt around when the stadium PA played AC/DC. He flipped off the entire stadium a good bit. But he was nice enough. A middle aged goof behind me leaned down and asked “Hey…you own an oil well? Heh, heh. Because all you Texans own oil wells, right? That’s what you’re famous for, ain’t it? Heh, heh.” I just turned around and said “No, I don’t. Do you own a whore house? Because, well, you know…” He didn’t talk to me any more. There was one retarded kid walking around before the game, totally plastered, wearing a foam rubber wolf head and screaming “AWOOOOOO!!!” in the faces of Tech fans as they walked toward the stands. But he was not drunk enough to be suicidal: he clearly circumvented a 6’3” big ol’ West Texas boy in order to get to me (all 5’8” of me) where he let out a particularly fine “AWOOOOO!” The students in the north end zone stands had a nice chant of “F*ck you, Texas!” going for much of the first half. It isn’t that they mistook us for UT, I think, so much as they liked the meter of the 4 syllable chant. But, it was pretty weak compared with an away game at Rice: Rice students can cuss you out in iambic pentameter. Nevertheless, after the game, several of the fans around us made a point of shaking our hands and saying “good game” or “congratulations” and thanking us for coming. You don’t get that often, anywhere. So, on the well recognized “Fayettville Scale,” rating home fan obnoxiousness, with a “1” being The University of Nebraska and a “10” being The University of Arkansas, Nevada would rate a respectable 4.5. It would be a “4’” were it not for “AWOOOOO Boy.”

Reno: A few thoughts about the town. They have gambling, which I love. I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe, so I took a drive up there. Wow! Now I can see why the Corleones moved there. I wish I was rich. They have a lot of those ground squirrel/chipmunk looking things-very cute. One of them borrowed $5 off me. The town of Reno itself is kind of scruffy. I think it had an above average incidence of mattresses laying on the roadside. Sadly, not all of them were unoccupied. Also, there were a lot of mini truck punks and guys in low riding Scions who looked like they would gladly hit you with a long-handled wrench. But, the town has “In-N-Out Burger” so it’s not all bad.

The Casino: I stayed at the Peppermill. Good buffet. The rooms in the new Tuscany Tower were very nice. Not too bad a casino, although the casino has an abundance of 70’s neon and metal ceiling tiles. Being a degenerate gambler, I go to Vegas a lot. So, I am familiar with your average “Vegas style” dealers, which generally fall into three categories: the indifferent Asian, the malcontent Slav and the On-The-Lam Canadian (a lot of dealers are foreign – something about having grown up in foreign elementary schools, where they are actually taught to count). The dealers at the Peppermill were truly friendly. It somehow feels better, having a nice person take all your money, don’t you think? My favorite dealer was “Big Sam.” Big Sam would look up at the TV’s on the walls that were showing Christina Aguilara videos and say “Daaaayum. Look at that BOO-TAY!” Big Sam took a liking to me, and determined to call me “Niblet.” (I don’t know why). Because the cocktail waitresses were pretty good with the free drinks, I got seriously sh*t faced Friday night. So drunk was I, in fact, that the “free drink scheme” worked on the Blackjack table and I actually hit a 20. You read that right. I hit a gawddamned 20. Big Sam tried to talk me out of it, but as Lincoln said: “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.” Besides, Big Sam wouldn’t argue with me too much because my drunkenness also manifested itself in another activity: over tipping. I have to set this up right: my hit on 20 was all the more egregious because I was sitting on 3rd base and Big Sam had a 6 up. The other players were screaming at me, sure I was going to take the dealer’s bust card. Many of them were sitting on 17’s and 18’s. “Damn you all” I said, and I defiantly tapped the table for my hit. In truth, I was so drunk I had forgotten the “1 or 11” rule for an ace, so I thought I was hitting a 7-2-1 ten rather than a 7-2-11 twenty. My fellow players were, of course, ready to lynch me. Then, in proof of the old saying that “God looks out for children and idiots”, I drew an ace for a 21! Wait, it gets better. Big Sam then flips his down card and it was a 4. He had a 10! I had taken his ace for what would have been a 21! He draws a 6, then, draws an 8 to bust. My drunken ass had saved the day! Strangely, none of those ingrates bothered to thank me.

A Sea Of Red: I have to tell you, it was great staying at the Peppermill because there were so many Tech fans there. Saturday afternoon, the Sports Book was solid red. There were all kinds of Tech fans. Middle aged beer bellies, the twenty- something guys with the obligatory goatees, the little old West Texas ladies with the hair helmets. It just felt great being around all the Tech fans at an away game. Something about the “herd mentality” I suppose. I want to personally thank the tall, red-headed guy in the black Tech polo shirt. He had an 8 series run on the craps table that won me $250.00. The team stayed there as well, although I never saw them. I think I might have seen a few of them at the pool on Saturday morning. There was one guy I thought was Graham Harrell. I wasn’t sure, but when I saw him toss a wadded up napkin at a trash can and miss, I was pretty sure of it. Gerald Meyers was a regular on the corner Blackjack table. Gerald: always double down on 11. Always. Just don’t hit a 20.

American Airlines: I think I speak for everyone on flight 2012 when I say: You suck. AWOOOOOOO!!!

3 comments:

scotty said...

photos?

whiplash said...

I seem to remember Tech having a flag dude a couple of years ago. Either way I find it very, very strange.

Anonymous said...

Can this potato-type person please contribute on a regular basis?