No one remembers exactly how it started. My best guess is that my friend George, a diehard sports fan, spouted some inanity about his favorite team and I responded with a feisty “wanna bet?” The race was on.
The result is that for the last twenty years or so, George and I have bet on every Superbowl game and many playoff games—and I have almost never lost. I’ve picked winners when they were absolute underdogs; I’ve picked winners with no concern for point spreads or Vegas odds. I’ve picked winners without even the most basic knowledge of the game of football. If you told me Jerry Rice made a lot of home runs in the eleventh set, I would say “Cool.”
George claims I have destroyed his confidence and career as a gambler, but I take great pride in my idiot-savant-like abilities. One year, Norman Mailer called me to ask which team I’d picked in the Superbowl. My first husband (a man who used to tease me by making up team names and say things like “the Giants are playing the Delaware Astros tonight and I don’t want to miss that one” and who knew his way around a football bet) was awed. I astonished even myself, year after year after year.
Yesterday my streak was broken, and I think I know why. Sam and Laura, my football-loving husband and step-daughter, have somehow managed to teach me a little bit about the game. So yesterday when I called George to bet on the New York Jets with a ten-point spread, I actually knew what a spread was, knew I was asking for points above the Vegas odds, and knew that the other team had Payton Manning and the Jets were not favored to win. George took my bet and—go figure—he won.
My mojo is gone, and I will never regain the absolutely pure and naïve innocence that kept me a winner. My advice to you is this: if you want to bet on football, don’t learn anything about the game. And here’s another word of advice: if your friend David Phillips calls you and asks if you have time to chat, don’t say “well, I’m on the edge of my chair watching the Saints and the Vikings tied in overtime, but I guess I have a minute” because it might turn out that he taped the game to watch later. Just hypothetically.
Causes Kathi Goldmark Supports
Support for Families of Children with Disabilities Friends of the San Francisco Public Library National Kidney Foundation of Northern California Litquake...