By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
The first game I played in the double-elimination tournament was against a quiet guy wearing a Gonzaga hat. It started off well. I played the Titans; he played the Eagles. It pained me to play against my beloved Birds, but it didn't hurt nearly as bad as the outcome. I kicked off and tackled him on the one-yard line. I was feeling good...right up until he ran his first offensive play, which went 99 yards for a touchdown. It was downhill from there. He scored many, many points. I didn't. Thankfully there was a "skunk rule" in place (if either player is down by 28 points after the half, the game is mercifully called). Otherwise he could have beaten me by 100.
The second game pitted me against Charles, who reminded me of a softer Method Man--quick with the funny verbal insults/assaults, plus he had a mouthful of gold teeth. He played the Falcons; I went with the Eagles (if I was gonna lose, I was gonna lose with my boys). Charles was the polar opposite of the Gonzaga-hat guy in terms of temperament. Rather than win quietly, he let me hear about his success. Every time he scored--which was often--he made me watch the replay and listen to his commentary, which generally went something like this: "Oh, no, I didn't...Oh, no, I didn't...OH, YES, I DID!" It got so bad that I didn't even make it to the second half. With a minute remaining in the second quarter, and the score something like 150-7, I admitted defeat, tucked my tail between my legs and started toward the door. Charles watched me go, but I think he was upset.
"Come back, playa, come back," he hollered, sounding like a hipster version of the kid from Shane. "You gotta see this again. A one-handed interception! And I ran it back for a touchdown! Put that in your story! Oh, no, I didn't...OH, YES, I DID!"