Thursday, April 12, 2018

"What Part of Boston Are You From?"

This was from a poker session in Vegas last year during football season.  The poker was pretty dull but I met a couple of guys at the table who had somewhat interesting stories to tell.

These two guys had just met at the table, they were sitting one seat apart, one of them was directly across from me.  They bonded talking about sports.  One guy was from Boston.  He was a huge Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins fan.  So of course, you would expect him to be a huge Patriots fan as well.  But the other guy and I were shocked when he said he doesn't like the Patriots.  Who does he like?  Well, the Denver Broncos, of course.

That demanded an explanation so we insisted on hearing it.  Well, it seems that back when this guy was in grade school, the 1990 Super Bowl was approaching and there was a kid who was a few years older than this guy going around telling everyone that the 49'ers were going to kill the Broncos.  He was saying that Joe Montana was the greatest quarterback in the league and that Denver didn't have a chance against him (sounds like a smart kid).  Well, this guy at our table hated this older kid.  Apparently he was a bad kid and a bit of a bully. So for no other reason than this jerk older kid just had to be wrong, the guy at our table started saying that the Broncos would beat the 49'ers easily.  And of course they had to make a bet on it.  He didn't say how much the bet was, but it was more money than he could get his hands on, naturally.

Of course, we know that San Francisco kicked the crap out of Denver that year, 55 – 10.  And Joe Montana, as he was wont to do, had a great game was the game's MVP.  So this kid from Boston told us that he spent the rest of the school year hiding from this older kid and didn't pay off the bet, until somehow his mother got involved and paid the bet for him.  His mother was not pleased.

Anyway, he said his feelings for the Broncos stuck with him and he's been a Broncos fan ever since.

I wasn't quite getting that.  I said to him, "If anything, that should have made you hate the Broncos, not root for them!  They cost you money, they got you in trouble with your mom, and you're lucky the older kid didn't beat you up for welching on the bet." Note:  He didn't tell us that the guy beat him up, so I just assumed he hadn't.  He replied, "Yeah, I guess you're right."

Now his story sounded fishy to me but I do have to say that of all the sports, I think pro football is the one where I see the most fans having favorite teams that are not their home teams.  I think maybe it's because it's such a national sport, and you can see pretty much every team almost as much as your own home team.  I have to confess that over the years my favorite team has changed many times—usually because of who my favorite QB was at any given time.  So I guess it's not that shocking that a guy from Boston would root for a different team.  But I still say he should hate the Broncos for costing him that bet.  I guess at that age his football crush was strong.

Anyway, as they kept talking, moving on to other topics, the other guy I mentioned asked him, "What part of Boston are you from?"  And I immediately interjected, "The Broncos part."  They both thought that was quite funny, and who was I to argue?

Well we couldn't talk about the Broncos of that era without mentioning John Elway now could we?.  And the other guy (the one not from Boston) mentioned that he actually remembers seeing Elway when he was in High School.  I happened to know that Elway is from Southern California and went to Granada Hills High.  Granada Hills is a well known community to Southern Californians.  So when he said that he'd seen Elway play in High School I said, "Granada Hills, right?"  And the guy was impressed.  That got us talking about where he was from.  He mentioned the community and it is the same community I live in.  So I asked him to be more specific and he gave an intersection.  He mentioned the major intersection that is closest to my house.  Now it turned out that he no longer lives here, he moved to El Paso a few years ago.  But he and I were neighbors for quite some time.

Just one of those small world stories.  Now it's certainly not surprising to run into someone from Southern California in Vegas, more visitors to Vegas are from my neck of the woods than anywhere else. But to find someone who lived so close to me that we shared the same common major intersection?  Well that's a bit of a coincidence.

As for poker, I managed to survive the dreaded pocket Kings twice without disaster.  The first time I opened to $10 and had two callers.  The flop was Jack-Jack-x and I c-bet $20, both called.  The turn was a blank and it checked around.  The river was another Jack and again it checked around.  I know that it was almost certain I had the best hand and I should have bet there, but it was Kings and so I was a bit gun-shy.  I showed my boat and the other two mucked.

The other time was much later.  The guy from my neighborhood limped, the guy from Boston made it $10, the guy on my right called.  I made it $40.  Only the Broncos fan from Boston called.  The flop was Jack-Jack-X.  WTF?  Kings are supposed to be Ace magnets.  This night they were paired Jacks magnets.  So strange to see almost the identical flop the two times I had Kings.  After the Boston guy checked, I bet $50.  He tanked for a long time.  He said, "I think you got one better than me." Finally he folded. He was in some agony over it and he said, "You don't have to tell me now, but before you leave, please tell me what you had."  I agreed.

When I left. I told him I had Kings.  He was happy to hear that.  He had Queens.

I booked a small win thanks to guy from Boston who likes the Broncos because they cost him a bet when he was in grade school.

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