I've seen or met very few people around town this week who actually care about the outcome of the Giants-Patriots game on Sunday. There are a lot of reasons for this: a lot of true fans are priced out of attending the game, media and corporate types outnumber fans, etc.
But an overlooked reason for the apathy is this: Everyone's also been preoccupied with the highly-anticipated MJD vs. Matt Leinart Bowling Showdown I. Vegas has Leinart listed as a 14-pin favorite going in.
Gatorade's promoting the bejeesus out of their (delicious) new G2 drink everywhere this weekend, including having a "G2 Lounge" set up in the media center downtown. I was told that in this lounge, there would be "bowling lanes" and that I was to square off against Matt Leinart on Wednesday afternoon.
So last week, I actually went bowling to shape up my game a little bit. I practiced well. You know, with the 14-pound ball and standard-size, properly oiled lanes, with the appropriate amount of unemployed, mustachioed, middle-aged men and women hanging around. It was a a true bowling experience, and I thrived. I fully intended to go undefeated in the G2 Lounge this week. I even worked out this cool celebration, where I'd roll the ball, pull the pin from a grenade with my teeth, lob it at the pins, and cover my ears until my ball thunderously destroyed them.
I show up at the G2 Lounge, though, and the lanes are about 12-feet long, and the bowling balls are the size of a damn grapefruit.
I saw the set-up and thought to myself, "You've gotta be freakin' kidding me." This was absolute nonsense. It's like Tom Coughlin leading the Giants into the stadium on Sunday, and then Paul Tagliabue telling him to get ready, because he and Bill Belichick were about to decide Super Bowl XLII with a rousing game of 10-Yard Fight on the ColecoVision.
I was not amused. I could take like two steps and kick these pins down. And if I wanted to do my awesome grenade celebration, I'd have to do it with Jackie Chan-like quickness, because the ball gets to the pins in under a second.
And on top of all this, Leinart had been in there bowling for hours, practicing on this little sham of a set-up, not to mention getting all hopped up on G2, the low-calorie off-the-field beverage that still delivers vital electrolytes to your system (and is delicious!). So I'm facing this guy with what may very well be an electrolyte deficiency, while he's goosed up on the G2 like Shawne Merriman.
I shake Leinart's hand, introduce myself, and ask him if he wants to put $20 on the game. He laughs it off and says he's not very good (a damn lie, as it turns out), but I press the issue.
"Come on, man, 20 bucks."
"No," he laughs. "I can't be gambling."
"Come on, we're bowling with grapefuits here."
"I'm bowling with a grapefruit, too."
"That's what I'm saying. How good could either of us be?"
It was a no-go, though. No money would change hands. Someone paid attention at the rookie symposium.
So we get to rolling, and it's immediately clear that I'm outclassed ... much in the same way I would be if I had to play hopscotch against Lance Armstrong, or greco-roman wrestle Richard Seymour tomorrow morning.
He rolls his first ball, and he's got a damn hook going and everything. I'm surprised he's not in there with his own shoes, wristguard, and custom-made ball.
We made a little small talk as he proceeded to embarrass me. I asked him about the things he was doing around town all week (he's listed on the program for damn near everything), and if he planned to sleep at any point during the week.
None of the chat was terribly interesting, to be honest with you ... or maybe it just seemed that way because he was busy rolling his best score of the day, while I was out there like an uncoordinated, unathletic, dumber-than-a-rock 4-year-old, who has the bumpers set up on the side of the lanes, while has dad pushes the ball down the lane for him.
The five-frame final score was 75-36, Leinart.
At the conclusion of this sham of a contest, I bitterly shake his hand, note that I brought out the best in him, and tell him that he should hang out with me all week (imagine the ladies he'd pull then). He laughs it off, and my plan to pick up his leftovers is also foiled.
But, again, I can't make it any clearer how unfair this was. The G2 people make a delicious beverage, but THEY DO NOT RUN A CLEAN BOWLING GAME. The odds were stacked against me from the beginning. Leinart is the G2 golden boy, he's everybody's meal ticket, and they've gotta stack the odds in his favor.
Someday, Leinart, we will meet again, and we will compete at something (I did suggest we thumb-wrestle), and at whatever it is, I will cheat in every way possible until I beat you.
The G2 Lounge record at that point was a 77 from Steven Jackson, so at least it's not like I lost to some chump. And I did take a little bit of solace in the fact that Mike Greenberg had earlier rolled a 35. The "I'm Better Than Greenberg at Fake Bowling" t-shirts are currently in production.
I've got a couple more matches scheduled this week. Obviously, I won't be going undefeated, but I vow that I'm not going winless. I've got another quarterback on the schedule later today, and he's entering a world of pain.