As most of you regular readers know, every so often, I’ll check in with Croshere, my Las Vegas correspondent. During Saturday’s Florida and Ohio State games, I donned my Gator jersey and sat nervously on my sofa while the scarlet and gray-clad Croshere dined in a sports book 2,500 miles away, both of us watching games that would result in one man’s joy and another one’s sorrow.
The texting frenzy began an hour before game time…
SportsChump: Whatever you drank, whatever you ate, whatever you wore the days UF and Ohio State won their previous games, today, do the exact… same… thing.
Croshere: Shoestring friessssah!!! Okay, so I go into the sportsbook, see a guy in a Buckeye hat and shirt and feel it’s okay to tap him on the shoulder, give him a fist bump and say “Let’s Do It, Bucs!” All good, backatcha, now… he proceeds to tell me he teased Syracuse because he thought that was the smart bet… the what? I just showed a lot of restraint.
SportsChump: Funny you should mention that. My boy here teases basketball all the time. Needless to say, he doesn’t go to the window much. Brush it off, play some viddy poker and have another bloody… and hurry!
Croshere: Done! Aaron Craft’s quick hands and rosy cheeks are gonna be cuttin’ nets today…. That was so gay and I don’t care at all.
SportsChump: I prefer Rosie Perez to rosy cheeks but I see your point. I’ll take foods that start with the letter Q for a thousand please.
Croshere: Ok, so my bets have been going well with the exception of the Xavier mistake. Bucks-Gators two-teamer. Good or bad?
SportsChump: Your call on that one, bro. Victories in and of themselves would be rewarding enough, although to be perfectly honest, I do like the play. Both small lines, right?
Croshere: Yeah. Bucks minus three, Gators minus one-and-a half. I like it objectively (like that’s possible). Fuck it. You want $20?
SportsChump: Sure, you convinced me.
Croshere: Got the cash now (as Croshere hits a straight flush on video poker)
SportsChump: Nice fucking hit! Just makes your cheeks all rosy, doesn’t it? Right now, Billy D is coaching ‘em up, giving our boys the inspirational talk of a lifetime… or something like that.
Croshere: Thad Matta says every young man reaches a fork in the road where he decides if he’s a winner… that was actually me but I like where it was going.
SportsChump: Well, you two are both inspirational leaders and you do a pretty good Jesse Jackson impression even though you mean for it to sound like Charles Barkley.
Croshere: You say Barkley, I say the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Let’s call the whole thing off.
SportsChump: Unbearable stat of the day. Billy Donovan has never beaten a Rick Pitino coached team. Should I slit my wrists now or later?
Croshere: All I want for Christmas are my two power forwards and my civil rights leaders, my two power forwards and my civil rights leaders. Put down the blade, sir.
SportsChump: If you like the full court press, methinks you’ll like this game. Can I get an over/under on ten second violations?
Croshere: Okay, so a guy sits down and asks me if there is basketball today. I’m tryin’ really hard, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard… HE is the weak…..
SportsChump: He probably went to Michigan. I need a drink to settle the nerves.
Croshere: Trust me, it helps.
SportsChump: Do you think they have a tomato juice delivery service?
Croshere: If they don’t, I am moving to Tampa and we are balllin’. Every millionaire had that type of vision. Well, I guess a few got degrees but most of them thought of something like tomato juice delivery. Okay, went moneyline on both, $20 comes back $38, let’s do it. Handle your bizz, dog, let’s go!
SportsChump: Okay, Ketel bloody complete with celery salt, tabasco, worcestershire sauce and creole seasoning rim…. Check! Gator jersey… Check! Rick Pitino voodoo doll… Check! Game face… Check! Okay, I’m ready. Let’s do this! My man-crush on Bradley Beal borders on the unhealthy. Only a freshman, he’s way too young for me. Have I mentioned I like 7-0 starts? Whoops, 7-5 not so much.
Croshere: Well, ok then, let’s keep the score out of today’s remaining texts…. Shoestring friessssah!
SportsChump: Ball movement and easy baskets are your friends.
Croshere: He he, you said ball movement.
SportsChump: Patric Young. A poor man’s Dwight Howard. Discuss.
Croshere: Speaking of ball movement, your Beal crush won’t feel any less gay next year. Take it from Aaron Craft’s sugar daddy.
SportsChump: (after Kenny Boynton hits a three) I believe it was De La Soul who said three is the magic number.
Croshere: Ahhh yeahhh! !! Let’s get it rollin’. No one I’d rather be in the Final Four with!
SportsChump: Gators shooting 70% from the floor. That’s a very respectable neighborhood.
Croshere: They may be rivaling Croshere’s Orlando YMCA numbers at this point.
SportsChump: Minus the gratuitous marijuana consumption, a crucial component to your game back then.
Croshere: We all have our stories.
SportsChump: I’ll take up by the ocho at the halfo.
Croshere: I am ordering my burger now.
SportsChump: Side of friiiiesah! Rick Pitino just said of the Gators “We haven’t seen too many teams like this.”
Croshere: Turf Grill karma not working… this is a tasty burger.
SportsChump: I’m feeling a little giddy. I won’t lie.
SportsChump: We’re getting favorable calls on fouls and inbounding. Four Gators in double digits scoring, none yet for Louisville. A stat I can live with. Gators very patient offensively.
Croshere: They are playing well, keep it up.
(Louisville chips into, then takes the lead)
SportsChump: My kingdom for some overtime!
Croshere: Jesus Christ, I don’t need this before my game, pick it up, damnit!
Croshere: Well, fuck a duck.
(Ohio State game starts)
SportsChump: Can I stop watching now? I know this is no time for negativity but… I keep replaying that Bradley Beal steal and subsequent turnover in my head in slow motion, hoping the refs wouldn’t see it when all along… It was Louisville ball. I hate this game.
Croshere: Are you serious? What does that have to do with us? Come on, man!
Dejected SportsChump: Please take a page out of the Billy Donovan No Lead Is Safe mantra when approaching these Finals.
Croshere: Breathe, breathe.
(After Ohio State victory)
SportsChump: I do believe congratulations are in order, sir. At least one of our teams doesn’t suck.
(The aftermath the following day)
Croshere: Kinda have insomnia which I think I can attribute to tourney. I think late night turf burger with shoestring French fries sounds good.
SportsChump: Why break tradition?
Croshere: Why ask why indeed. Thousand island dressing? Yes. Swiss cheese? Yes. Tomatoes? Yes. Onions? Yes. Do you need to ask about the pickles?
SportsChump: FYI… I have your Bucks winning it all in one of my pay pools which means money for daddy if you hit, not that your pure pride and joy in winning a championship wouldn’t be payment enough.
Croshere: Yeah, I truly need no more incentive for sure. I will be really sick of Turf Burgers by the time we cut the nets next Monday.
SportsChump: Actually, that will likely be the best turf burger of the bunch. Just go for some blood thinner on Tuesday. What’s the line in that Louisville game? Nice moneyline?
Croshere: Didn’t check. I don’t see it. Gonna be a showdown between us and the Cats, I’m thinking. I plan to watch that and have a turf burger with thousand island dressing, swiss cheese, tomatoes, onions and pickles. Gonna go with the shoestring fries too.
SportsChump: If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 24 hours, it’s not to count out Pitino (that fuck). Beating UK would be bigger than winning a title for them. If they’re coming back at anything over +400, I might be interested.
Croshere: Don’t think it’s that high, do feel you, however. May go in with you on that. I could bet it while I am waiting for them to cook my turf burger with thousand island dressing, onions, tomatoes, pickles (wait for it)… shoestring fries.
And so it goes, one man’s sorrow is another man’s gain… and likely increased cholesterol level as well. Congratulations to the fans of each school that made the Final Four. Best of luck the rest of the way out. In a sportsbook somewhere, Croshere will be eating a turf burger with shoestring fries and all the accoutrements. And for the Florida Gators, after a successful season depending on how you slice it, it’s back to the drawing board.