A Story Never Told (on a blog)
It’s CJ’s last night in Vegas and he’s got a headache. Like the professional he is, he’s not letting it slow him down as he works the tournament floor, but it’s clear a break from the madness would do him some good. Fortunately the first football game of the season, the pre-pre-season Hall of Fame Game, is pitting his beloved Eagles against the Raiders. Having no real interest in either team, I’d normally root for the Eagles along with him, but earlier advice from Nolan Dalla has pitted Wil, Otis, Nolan, and I against CJ, who has accepted all our bets that the Raiders will win.
Dinner break arrives and CJ takes off for the sportsbook to catch the second half of the game. I join him a few minutes later, delighted that football is finally back on TV. We grab some food from the grill next to the sportsbook and settle in to a table on the perimeter to watch the game. To our right is the traditional racebook setup of long divided tables and tiny flat screen TVs. There’s a group of men occupying one stall, huddled behind their leader as they watch the races unfold. For the most part, they’re quiet. CJ and I are having no problems mocking Asian quarterbacks or taunting the man who bet there would be no more than 9 runs in the Mets/Phillies game that the current score of 8-1 (Mets) wouldn’t hold in the 9th.
Before long we’re joined by Ryan and his lovely wife, and as we’re all chatting and keeping an eye on the big screens above us, we hear the loud pleas from the group in the racebook. “Come on 2! Come on 5! Come on 2! Come on 5!” CJ and I smile – we know the sound of an exacta when we hear it. We turn our eyes to the race screen and witness 2 and 5 as they cross the finish line ahead of the rest. The group of men have now been joined by a couple of women, and all of them erupt in loud applause, high-fives, and cheers. They’ve won the bet; good for them. Except…
Seconds later, after the rest of us have turned our backs to the screen, CJ looks up and says “….that race isn’t over…” We turn to verify, and yes, indeed, the horses are continuing to run around the track, and it’s clear this is no cool-down lap. And 2 & 5? Perhaps they’re not accustomed to long races, as they’ve fallen behind the others, and cross the finish line (for real this time) well past the point of it mattering.
The racebook group is silent, but we’re laughing hard. CJ responds with a bit of wisdom: “First rule of horse betting – ‘Always know how long the race is'” and with a bit of schadenfreude, Ryan states, “That may be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”
I’m not sure how well it holds up against the image of Wil and Otis grooving to Peanut Butter Jelly Time, but indeed, it was pretty damn funny.