Sports commentary: Cup-idity

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The World Cup reinforces a few things I already knew

By Mike Forster


I hope none of you depend upon me when placing your wagers.

If so, you'd have really been in trouble for any World Cup betting.

In last week's column, I blithely selected Brazil to top the Netherlands in the finale.

When you read that, you might have thought, "What a dummkopf!  Those two teams didn't even make the finals."

You may have especially thought that if you are from Germany, the country that actually won the crown.

I'm not certain as to how "dummkopf" translates into Spanish but, if you're from Argentina, you probably used it in a similarly disparaging fashion, since your team made up the other half of the final.

I'd like to bring up two points here:  a) You lead a risky life when what you write on Tuesday doesn't make it to readers' mailboxes until Thursday and b) I'm glad I'm not a betting man.

I'll hit point "a" first.  Our publishing schedule has us preparing the newspaper up until press time.  The sports pages go to print around 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.

After printing, the paper goes through bundling and distribution processes (including that of the U.S. Postal Service).

With the World Cup semifinals taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, therefore, I had to make a bold decision:  Pick the semi winners and the title game champ.

Just before we went to press, I discovered Germany had opened up a 5-0 lead over Brazil, the team I'd picked to win it all.

I had the option of yelling "Stop the press," which of course runs you the risk of having a bucket of ink tossed at your noggin.  

I could have changed my pick to Germany.  But I didn't.  Ink buckets aside, I'll take keeping my ethics intact over looking smart.

As far as the second point, here goes.

While I don't have the good sense to figure out which nation's soccer team will beat the others, I do have the good sense to avoid putting any money into the mix.

Here's my standard pitch on gambling:  Don't do it.  And, really don't do it if you cannot afford to suffer the inevitable loss of cash.

And, absolutely don't do it if you realize you're no good at it.  Such is my case.

It took me a while, but I have figured that gambling is not my forté.

In fact, it's the opposite of a forté.  Which (I think) is a stinké.

I've bet at horse tracks where the response to my exhortations from the animal I've selected to win consists of contemptuous oinking from said animal.

There are horses I've bet on to win which, I'm fairly certain, are running toward that finish line even now.

Many's the night I came home from a poker game with nothing but lint in my pockets while my fellow players' wallets took on the appearance of a cash cornucopia, courtesy of yours truly.

If I pick heads AND tails, the coin is bound to land on its side.

It's odd:  In all other aspects of life, I consider myself to be extremely fortunate, especially in those things that really matter.  If the Good Lord has decided that I'll  be really bad at something, I'm OK with it being gambling.

And the good thing is, I KNOW I'm no good at gambling.  So, I don't delude myself, for example, into buying lottery tickets.  Because I know not even one of my seven numbers will match a ping-pong ball from the drawing.

Such knowledge has kept good coinage on my person.

And I hope my lame picks of Brazil and Holland in the World Cup did not translate into any diminution of your finances.

And, if they did, I've got just one last piece of advice for you:  Oakland over the Nats in the World Series.