I went back to the G2 Lounge yesterday, determined to not end the week without a win. If I end up going home without at least one W, I'd consider myself a disgrace to bloggers, to the Yahoo! corporation, and to doughy, pasty men everywhere.
My last chances at redemption: Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra.
As I'm finding out, I do not have that Michael Jordan/Tom Brady/Tiger Woods-like ability to rise to the occasion when the pressure mounts.
And this didn't help, either: It is very hard to find any sort of vicious, cut-throat, competitiveness within yourself when you're around someone as sweet and engaging as Mia Hamm. Or even Nomar Garciaparra, for that matter.
I started off against Mia, and I was rolling pretty well, actually ... the best I had done all week. But everytime I threw a decent ball, she at least matched it. She apparently was not as disarmed by my charming nature as I was by hers.
A couple of frames in, I asked her if she and Nomar were going to the game, and she told me that they were. She then asked the same thing of me, and I proceeded to say something that ranks among the dumber things I've ever said.
"Nah, I'm not cool enough to go to the Super Bowl," I said, and this is where I should have stopped.
But I didn't. "What I really wanted to do was go to the Lingerie Bowl," I added.
Good God, I can't believe I just told Mia Hamm I wanted to go to the Lingerie Bowl. I might as well have said, "Yeah, Mia, I'm a degenerate pervert, and I masturbate with a frequency and ferocity to which normal human beings cannot relate."
Mia, and I consider this a sign of her solid character, had never heard of the Lingerie Bowl, which meant that I had to explain it to her. Which was great, you know, because I didn't seem like quite enough of a sexual deviant.
"Well, it's women playing football, and they they have it on pay-per-view during halftime of the Super Bowl," I spit out.
She asked, "And who plays in this Lingerie Bowl?"
"Models," I told her. "In lingerie."
And she responded with one of those "I can't believe that this actually happens, and we live in a terribly misogynistic and disgusting culture" shakes of her head.
"I don't think they're doing quite as much for women in sports as you did," was the best I could do to dig myself out of that little hole.
The shame of this is that I'm honestly a great admirer of Mia Hamm, for everything she's done for soccer and for young girls in this country and all over the world. If I had to write an essay on Mia Hamm, it would be positively glowing with respect.
She's been a world-class athlete, and she's busted her ass to be a champion, a role model, and an ambassador for a sport that needed her ... and she absolutely should be offended by an objectifying, degrading, mindless event like the Lingerie Bowl. So should I, for that matter.
And I'm enough of a jackass to tell her that I want to go see this thing. Smart, MJD. Way to think that one through. This was kind of like bowling with Nelson Mandela and casually saying, "You know, was aparthied really that bad?" No one should be that dumb. I wanted to grab one of the fake, stupid, unfair bowling pins and club myself in the head with it until I lost consciousness.
Final score: Mia Hamm 72, MJD 61. "You have no idea what you're doing to my self-esteem, I told her."
So then I asked Nomar if he wanted to roll, and since I had just posted my best score of the week, and he'd yet to actually hit the lanes, I thought I had a decent chance to at least get a Dolphins-like victory.
Nope. Choke city. I was pasted by Nomar, and finished 0-4 on the week.
I am disgusted with myself. I feel like Mike Winchell in Friday Night Lights, sitting in the locker room, crying, bleeding, and banging his head against a post.
But here's what I'll take from the Nomar/Mia bowling experience: they are both genuine, sincere, sweet people and it was a pleasure to be around them.
When I introduced myself, they both looked me in the eye, smiled, and seemed honestly happy to meet me. Nomar even went to the trouble to laugh at some lame joke I made about him becoming a two-sport athlete and joining the PBA tour.
You know how when you're around some couples, it's slightly uncomfortable, because you know they're not all that happy with each other, and it's weird to watch them have to try to hide that? And how with other couples, it's fun to be around them, because they have something real, and you see them totally comfortable with themselves and with each other? Nomar and Mia fall into that second category, and it's obvious from the second you see them together.
Going into this game, I had a goal of getting Nomar to say "Thanks, beautiful," to me. I was going to hand him a ball or something, and ask him to say it, just because it would have amused me. But when I got in there, they were so nice, I didn't feel like saying anything that could've been considered jerk-ish.
And that's how we're going to wrap up my adventures in fake, stupid, unfair bowling. I disgraced myself with my performance, but I did have a blast.
My thanks go out to Brad and Adam, who were running things at the G2 Lounge all week, for helping me out, and for all the free G2. I don't know if there are any documented cases out there of a person overdosing on G2, but I've got to be close. My doctor tells me that my electrolyte levels are nearly 11 times that of a normal person, but dammit, that stuff is delicious.