Friday, November 07, 2008

He is so money - part four of five

Everyone has them. Well, every male 18-79 has them. Those athletes that have won them a sexy stash of cash, and thus become the object of same male 18-79’s affection. Forever, in some cases. They can change sporting franchise, they can change country, they can change their name, doesn’t matter, the besotted male is going to always have a place for them in their heart. You know the guys we’re talking about here. You know the situation too. You had a stack of cash on a team, but the opposition is battering the goodness gracious out of your team and it is looking grim. Suddenly out of nowhere, your guy steps in, and quite literally single handedly saves the day.

Of course it isn’t always disaster recovery.

Sometimes it is just out and out domination. Maybe your guy dropped 48 on someone in the NBA. Maybe they scored twice in the World Cup Final. Maybe they struck out 17 in Yankees Stadium. Add it all up and the answer is always the same, you benefited financially from said performance, and like an elephant, you will never forget.

Let’s meet my guys.

He is so money - part four of five
Adam Vinatieri

You just don't know how bad the Patriots used to be. Well, maybe you do, but most people really don't. They were awful. Living in Ireland in the eighties, when the Patriots were at their rock bottom worst, I toyed with the idea of picking another team to root for. Maybe my Dad's Lions? Or my brother's 49ers? For whatever reason, instead I stayed with the guys with the Minute Man on their logo.

Things began to change, slowly but surely. Drew Bledsoe pushed the Patriots towards respectability. A slew of talented, professional and dedicated players replaced the old guard. And yet still the Patriots were completely ignored by bookmakers this side of the Atlantic. How else was I able to get 100/1 on New England to win the Superbowl in 2001? It was an annual event. I would place a small bet on the Patriots to win the big one. Had been doing so stubbornly since the mid nineties. I hadn't placed my 2001 bet by the time Mo Lewis hit Bledsoe on the sideline against the Jets. Cheap shot by the way, watch it again, it's a cheap, ugly, dirty and dangerous hit.

Anyway, that aside, the Patriots dropped heavily in the market, however I thought, 'I have no big plans for this twenty euros anyway, so what the fudge!' and went ahead and backed New England at 100/1.

One man played a gigantic part in myself and my brother jumping up and down in my living room hugging each other as the Patriots sealed the incredible Superbowl win over the hugely favoured Rams. Without Adam Vinatieri the Patriots wouldn't have got past Oakland in the playoffs let alone hit the game winner against the Rams. Those two kicks he made against Oakland, in the snow, were the stuff of legend.

Without those two ultra-clutch swings of the foot, New England sports history would have to be rewritten from an entirely different angle. Plus, my wallet would be a whole lot lighter.

Just to show it wasn't a fluke, Vinatieri managed to boot the game winner in the Patriots second Superbowl win against Carolina also. No 100/1 this time, however I did manage to find 8/1 not long before the Playoffs started, as some bookmakers doubted New England ability to win a second title.

The day of the game itself I was in the city picking something up, when I thought I would check in one particular bookmakers what the odds for the big game were. The board required a couple of cartoon-like double-take looks. Carolina were down at 4/7 with New England a crazy 6/4. A clear mistake. I wrote out a docket and brought it up to the counter, made sure to hand it to a manager, who circled the odds, meaning she had checked and they were legitimate.

Vinatieri did his job, as we all know, and that left collecting the bet.

I waited until lunch time Monday, the busy time in this particular bookmakers. Handing in the ticket I thought 'Surely, no way they will honour this?!' - I was wrong. The guy behind the counter didn't even look twice,
handed me the sexy wad of cash without even looking at me.

Was that bad, on my part? Should I feel guilty about that? Collecting a bet that was surely on an incorrectly posted set of odds?

As Pacino says in 'Any given Sunday',
'' I mean, I've made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make.'' - that being the case, this would be pretty low in my list of things to feel guilty about. Anyway, as they say in Ireland, 'You never see a poor bookie'.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I guess I owe Vinatieri a couple of pints next time he is in Dublin. Only after he retires from those Colts though.


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports


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