Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Am The Top Wingman In The NBA

On Monday evening I noticed that my friend Bob had just left a voice mail message on my iPhone, the iPhone6.  I hadn’t talked to Bob in months and it was too early in the evening to just chat, so I knew it had to be important.  I stared at the phone, wondering why he called and then it hit me.  The Cleveland Cavaliers had a home playoff game on Tuesday.  Bob probably had an extra ticket and wanted to invite me to the game!

And this would not be just any ticket.  Bob knows Le Bron James personally; there is even something regarding him in Le Bron’s book (Really!).  So these are probably Le Bron’s seats, right behind the bench, next to Le Bron’s friend Jay V.  I imagined myself at the game sitting in that seat. Upon arriving I would say, “What up Jay-V, what up” and then engage him with one of those complicated handshakes.  I could then help our idiot coach by yelling out important instructions such as “Rebound” and “Get back on defense”.  I also would fist-bump Le Bron on national television after he makes the winning shot.

Later, we would be invited to the post-game party where I’m sure there would be plenty of free appetizers.  I would engage in pleasant conversation with the Cavalier cheerleaders, get some selfies with them and possibly get them to friend me on Facebook.  This was going to be so great.

The anticipation of acquiring this ticket was so intense that my hands were shaking as I hit the redial button.  Bob and I then spent what seemed like an eternity catching up on the events of the last nine months, but all I could think about was:

“Bob, the ticket!  What about the ticket? Where will we be sitting at the game?

But the small talk continued, including a story about a death in Bob’s family. I know I should have been more sympathetic, but inside my head:

The invitation, THE INVITATION, for crying out loud, give me the invitation! GIVE IT TO ME NOW!

And then after we had discussed everything else, the much awaited invitation to the game was finally delivered.  Only it wasn’t to go to the actual game, a group of chums from high school was getting together at a bar to watch the game and I was invited to join them.My hopes had been crushed.  I tried to sound excited about this offer, but I couldn’t.  Besides that, this bar was not one of those great sports bars, with the huge-screen TV’s and the busty waitresses with their buns seductively peeking out at you from their tight shorts. 


No, this was a dive bar, literally on the edge of town.  The type of bar with the sticky floors that you hope got that way from cheap detergent.  The kind of place where you feel the need to wash your hands – right after you have already washed your hands.  Flirt enough with the waitresses at the fancy bars and you can get an exotic smile, flirt too much at this place and you can end up with an exotic disease.

Regardless of these potential pitfalls, I decide to go anyway.  These classmates are a great bunch of guys and Bob had taken the trouble to call me, so I sort of felt obligated.  However, an hour before game time I get a text from Bob saying he can’t make it, some lame excuse about needing to finish a report for work. Like you can’t tell your boss the report is late because the Cavs had a playoff game?  No, I’m sure Bob cancelled because a friend of his called him up with an actual extra ticket to the actual game. So while I’m at the dive bar Bob is settling in to his prime seat at the arena. Bob you stupid sonavabitch, you.

The good news is the bar was much better than expected.  It was clean, there were many TV’s, and the waitress was reasonably cute.  She actually began flirting with me, which of course at my age means she’s getting triple the tip.  The screens weren’t huge and there was no imported beer, but it was acceptable.

But by far the best part of the evening was when my friend Chris ordered the appetizers for our table.  He ordered tacos, pretzel bites, cheese sticks and lots of wings.  And of course these qualify as “free” appetizers since I didn’t pay for them.  Sure I’m expected to contribute when the bill arrives, but while I have my debit card to pay for my drinks, I conveniently left my cash in my car.

The game started and the high school reminiscing and appetizer consumption began.  For some reason the three large plates of wings eventually ended up right in front of me.   Of course I ate a few, but at halftime I realized something very important: When I was eating a wing, the Cavs played great, but when I wasn’t, they were horrible.

Of course I knew what I had to do in the second half. The outcome of this game depended on my consumption of wings so I had to shove a steady stream into my pie hole in this very close game.  I don’t believe it is any coincidence that I had just finished a Hot-Medium-
LeBron extolling me to eat more wings
Barbecue trio when Le Bron hit that critical 3-pointer. 

We won, but then it was a little embarrassing.  When you scarf down too many appetizers, you consume all the evidence, however with wings the plate full of bones in front of you rats you out.  We won the game, so I hoped nobody would notice.

The key to victory!

I told Chris we brought the Cavs good luck, so we had to meet again in the next playoff round.  I suggested we sit at the same table and order the same food.  Chris agreed, but suggested next time I remember to bring some cash.  I said my goodbyes and even exchanged devious stares with the waitress.

Then Chuck, who doesn’t usually say much, pointed to last wing on the table and said “Don, you ate the rest of the wings, you may as well have that one.  While it was embarrassing to get “called out”, he was technically offering it to me, so “Hell yes I want the last wing”. I grabbed it up and quickly left.

The only thing left to say is if my fellow Akron homie Lebron reads this post, as I’m sure he will: Lebron if you have an extra ticket to a future playoff game, please let me know and send it to me directly, because everyone knows Bob is an unreliable sonavabitch.

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