Originally posted on “Is It Sports?” by Ryan, the die-hard Vikings fan. This post is very well written and a lot of fun…
I went to the bar in Excelsior, near the pier on Lake Minnetonka. I got there 5 minutes before 8, expecting to wait for about fifteen minutes. He was always late. Everyone I go meet anywhere is always late. This time, however, I showed up and he was already there with crutches and a cast on his right knee. There were a few empty glasses in front of him.
“Hey, man,” I said, “How long have you been here?”
He looked off into space. “Got here about three. I have a lot of free time these days.”
I sat down and ordered a Captain and Coke, hold the Coke. We had a lot of catching up to do. Apparently he had recently been at a pretty sweet party that I wanted to find out about. But he seemed pretty dejected about some problems he was having at work, and about his injury. The whole, two guys in a bar awkward pause followed. I felt the need to say something.
He interrupted my monologue, “It’s not my fault, Ryan. None of this is my fault!”
I slowly nodded, without saying a word. I allowed him to continue.
“I could handle Randy being gone, you know, if there was an offensive line on our team! And don’t get me started on the boss! Mike is a %#$@ idiot! Seriously, I met his father once. Mountain gorilla.”
I started to laugh, but then I saw that he wasn’t kidding. Mike was half ape.
“You know, maybe my injury is the best thing. It shows just how bad the offensive line is. I weigh 220 pounds, and the defense was able to get a good enough run at me to destroy my knee,” he said before taking another drink. I didn’t want to point out that he probably weighed a little more than 220, and that he hurt his knee on a scramble.
“As for that party,” He said. My ears perked up. I had heard there were strippers. “I went on that boat, on that lake,” he gestured to Minnetonka, “because my receivers were there. I wanted to get to know Marcus and Travis and Troy and Koren. And anyways, I knew there would be alcohol and Koren would need a ride home. But some of that stuff was appalling! I mean, my momma raised me better than that!”
We sat drinking in silence for a little bit longer. Just then, a guy we both knew passed by and stopped to join us for a bit. He was dripping sweat. “Whoo! Just got back from practice! That Duane, he sure works us good! I like the guy! He’s always talking about his experience, and what he used to do when he was in Seattle. It’s nice having a coach that knows what he’s talking about! Well, I have to go give money to charity. Like, over a million dollars. I’ll talk to you later!”
So it was just me and him again, and he was fuming. Again, I felt the need to say something.
“I’m getting surgery, you know. In Alabama. They are fixing my knee in Alabama. I didn’t even know they had doctors in Alabama. I went to the University of Central Florida, and I still feel comfortable calling the people of Alabama stupid. And I’m getting three tendons reattached in Alabama,” He stopped and took another long drink before continuing on a semi related tangent. “Now we have this Inspector Clousseau looking tool running the team. He just looks sneaky doesn’t he? At least when we had Red we KNEW he was up to no good.”
There was another pause when someone else we knew showed up. “What’s up guys? Just got done meeting with Carl. What a crazy old coot that guy is! He said he wanted to pay everyone minimum wage, but I had to tell him that the union wouldn’t allow it! Ha! Tough guy to work with, but there is a silver lining! At least I don’t need surgery on my ankle!” He got up, made sure his hat was just askew, and left.
We sat there again, alone. He was fuming. – Ryan