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Tuesday, 06 December
Hawks And Doves

Tonight my friends K. and D. came over to watch a little Monday Night Football, which featured our formerly hapless--now upgraded to "hapful"--Seattle Seahawks playing in Philadelphia against the formerly daunting--since downgraded to "hilarious"--Eagles. It promised to be a good time, even if K. and D. had basically invited themselves over (D. made a half-assed gesture towards offering his place, and then immediately scuttled any possiblity of us taking him up on it by dropping cryptic comments hinting at the presence of rats) and threatening to make me pay for the pizza.

We settled in for what promised to be an interesting game: the Seahawks are leading their division with an excellent record, but are unable to rid themselves of the lingering stink of thirty years worth of horrid-to-middling teams; and the Eagles, an NFC contender for the last number of years, now hobbled by internal strife and a truly Boschian panoply of injuries, including star quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is out for the season after frenzied surgical attempts to repair the damage suffered from a meteor strike on his genitals.

The Seahawks' first drive--which is the wrong word, really. Let's say: the Seahawks' first desultory amble down the field went about 65 yards or so and took nearly eight minutes of clock time, leading to a what-the-fuck sort of touchdown throw to Bobby Engram, whose powerful stench evidently forced the Eagle defenders to maintain a fifteen-foot distance from him as he stood, alone and unguarded in the end zone.

It was going to be that sort of night. I won't give you a blow-by-blow; suffice it to say that the end result was a horrifying 42-0 rout, the worst shutout in MNF history. Philly's receivers seemed to have lost anything resembling motor control, and scampered madly on their routes like poisoned mailmen, dropping anything that happened to hit, oh, their hands (or neatly deflecting the passes directly to Seahawk defenders). The second half of the game was hopelessly dull, as Seattle promptly sat down all their starters and simply grinded away on the clock. K. farted dolefully into my couch while D. provided color commentary. "Detmer just called for a time out!" "But the refs didn't give it to him." "They want to go home too."

There was one moment in the second half, however, that was kind of exciting. Near the end of the third quarter, the phone rang. "Hello?" I answered. "Skot? Skot Kurruk? This is Mike Holmgren, the bizarrely overrated head coach of the Seahawks. I also used to butcher hogs!"

"Uh . . . hi!" I yelped. I wasn't expecting this.

"Listen, Skot, are you busy? I've benched Alexander, and Mack Strong kind of wants to play pinball. You feel like coming over here and running a few plays? You can smoke if you want to."

"You're in Philadelphia," I said weakly. Holmgren snorted. "Big fucking deal. We'll have you over here and on the field before these boobs realize that we've been giving them like eight downs on every possession, just because it's so funny. Come on! It's fun! We've got Devendra Banhart in at QB! He lights incense at every huddle. You can't miss this!"

"It sounds great," I said mournfully as K. foghorned again into my sofa cushion. "But I better not. I've got work in the morning."

"Your loss," replied Mike. "Listen, I gotta go. I'm issuing a challenge." I looked at the screen. "What?" I said. "What are you challenging?"

"Andy Reid's penis," he hooted. "I'm challenging its physical existence. I can't wait to see his face."

"And his penis," I replied.

"Don't be gross, man. Talk to you later." He hung up. I went back to my chair just in time to see the Philly third-string quarterback throw a pass to somebody in Scarsdale.

"Who was that?" asked D.

"Telemarketer," I said. D. nodded as ABC cameramen zoomed in on Eagles fans booing the special teams as they came out for their hundredth punt. John Madden was telling Al Michaels about his trouble buying "good, honest shoes." K. defiled my couch one more time and grunted. I sat silently with my rushing thoughts.

God, that was amazing! I thought. I could have been there on the field!

I'm going to carry that with me, privately and warmly, right up until we get knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. And nobody can take it away from me.