In the second of three fake, stupid, unfair bowling matches I have scheduled this week, I was to take on Derek Anderson, the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, and the man who has nobly kept Brady Quinn (relatively) out of the spotlight.
This one was scheduled for 7:40 a.m. Anderson's a professional athlete, and during the season, probably gets up this early every single day. I am a blogger, and for the past few weeks, my sleep schedule's been about as normal and predictable as that of a narcolpetic gypsy with a PCP habit.
How do I get myself psyched up for athletic competition at 7:40 in the morning? Let me tell you how ... G2, BABY. I don't know if you've heard about it, but it's a low calorie electrolyte beverage that you should always drink right before Matt Leinart beats your ass at fake bowling.
So I guzzle a G2, and I roll a couple of warm-up games with Yahoo! Sports video host Rick Schwartz. I lowered the boom on Schwartz. He was talking a little trash, and he thought he could handle the MJD thunder while eating a scone with one hand. He paid for his arrogance. I think he rolled a 32.
But Derek Anderson popped in shortly thereafter, and for 7:40 am, he was in a fantastic mood. He's as outgoing and engaging a guy as I've seen all week. It's immediately clear that there's no pretense to him, and that he's a fun guy to be around. Actually, I think it's written in the Bible somewhere that if you've ever been in a quarterback battle with Charlie Frye, you're never allowed to be arrogant.
This concerns me, though: The guy is wearing a bowling shirt. It's even got his damn name on it. It's like sitting down at a poker table with a guy who can shuffle his chips. He might not even be able to bowl, but ... if this was an attempt to psyche me out, it worked.
Because I sucked again. It wasn't as bad as yesterday ... I think I do recall throwing a strike somewhere in there. Anderson was decent -- not great, but steady -- through the whole game.
Early in the contest, I asked him if he read a lot of sports blogs.
"Nah, I'm not a big internet guy," he said.
"Are you aware that you have a nickname out there?" I asked.
"Horse balls?" he chuckles.
"Yep," I reply. "Horse balls. It's said with great affection."
A friend of his actually ordered a "Horse Balls" t-shirt for him, as it turns out. Between the fact that he's got his own bowling shirt, he has a "Horse Balls" t-shirt, and the fact that it's like 40 degrees outside, and he's here in flip-flops ... I've gotta make Derek Anderson a strong contender for the best-dressed athlete of the week award ... at least by my own pathetically modest fashion standards.
Later in the contest, as he started to build a little bit of a lead, he pulled up after rolling one ball.
"Ouch," he said. "I got a cramp."
"You got a cramp while bowling? And while drinking G2?"
(Note: This is not, in any way, a condemnation of the G2 product. It hydrates a man with all the effectiveness of the monsoon season in India. Anderson must've been hungover and extremely dehyrdrated. Or, maybe I hit him in the back of the leg with a ball-peen hammer. I'm not telling.)
I saw this as my opportunity to pounce, but I think the pain focused him. He continued strong, and I only got worse as the game went on.
The final this time: Derek Anderson 60, MJD 45. I am 0-2 on the week, and my self-esteem is plummeting. I'm going to see if I can lock myself in the G2 lounge overnight, and be ready for my next opponent tomorrow morning. If I go 0-3 in the celebrity matchups, I'm going to retire permanently from fake, stupid, unfair bowling.
(Post script: After I finished with Anderson, Rick Schwartz, the guy I hammered earlier, stepped in, took him on, and beat Horse Balls 79-70. The previous record was Steven Jackson with a 76. Schwartz, the guy I destroyed just minutes ago, is now the record holder. Somehow, someway, I am being conspired against.)