No matter the game, someone will lose

They arrived just before kick-off. The two men I had seen a half a dozen times before, backslapping and high-fiving their way through many a football game. The woman with them, however, I had never seen before.

A spot opened up at the bar yielding just one seat. The bald man guided the woman to the space as if helping her up onto a pedestal. Drinks were ordered all around as the game got underway, both above on the TV and below at the bar.

The bald gentleman whispered something into her ear. She looked at him briefly and then, reluctantly it seemed, kissed him quickly. The bald man left.

“He’s going to the bathroom,” she mouthed to the other man. No sooner than she did, then the other man moved in closely. Too closely one might say.

He put his hands on her waist.

Fweeeeeeeet! Went the referees whistle on the TV.

“Illegal contact,” the referee said, picking up his yellow flag.

Meanwhile the woman pushed away her lover’s friend’s hands.

“Blocking below the waist,” continued the referee making a show of pushing with two hands.

If one were watching the action below, the bar one might have also included “pass interference” but I digress.

The bald man returned and the two separated slightly.

“How’s the game going?” he asked.

“OK, I guess,” his friend said. His date just nodded.

Eventually the bald man’s friend also needed to use the restroom. There is a saying that “you only rent beer” and in this case it seemed to be holding true.

“I think we should go,” she said to the bald man.

“Why? Aren’t you enjoying the game?”

She seemed to search for the right words.

“It’s not the game,” she said.

The explanation of that comment was lost in the roar of the crowd at a touchdown and the return of the man’s friend.

More drinks were ordered and more drinks were consumed. As so often happens with sporting events, no seats at the bar opened up during the game. People get there early to watch the game, not to leave in the middle of it. Other people came and went realizing this was the case, but the woman stayed put, seated on her pedestal.

The game continued in more subdued tones until finally another rental return prompted the bald man to leave again.

His friend immediately moved closer to his date. This time she let him. He put his hands around her waist. This time she got up on her knees on her barstool in order to let him.

“We shouldn’t,” she whispered in his ear in a way that suggested just the opposite.

Fweeeeeeeet! Went the referees whistle on the TV

“Encroachment,” explained the referee, tucking away his yellow flag.

Indeed, I thought, but for a totally different reason.

Just about then, the bald man returned. It took him a second to register what was going on; beer is many things but it certainly doesn’t help clarify anything.

In this interregnum his date finally reacted, slapping his friend’s face, albeit not convincingly.

Fweeeeeeeet! Went the referees whistle on the TV.

“Illegal hands to the face,” explained the referee, again with the yellow flag.

This was getting uncanny.

“I want to leave,” she said, “but first I have to use the bathroom.”

The bald man didn’t know what to say. The next few minutes were incredibly awkward, sort of like a replay review, where people mill around waiting for others to make a decision.

Did I mention things were getting uncanny?

“Dude,” said his friend who was at least two decades too old to say something like that. “Nothing happened.”

I don’t think the bald man believed him. But when his date returned they quickly made ready to leave. His date turned back and grabbed the friend by the hand.

“It was nice to meet you,” she said.

I never saw the bald man and his friend together again, nor did I ever see the bald man and his date together again. The bald man’s friend and the woman however, well, that is another story entirely.

Leaving me with these three thoughts:

• If I were the Seattle Seahawks I’d be checking the Patriots’ balls. Just saying.

• If all’s fair in love and war, then why are there court martials? Or divorce courts for that matter?

• If you take sand to the beach, be careful — it can sometimes get mixed up with the other sand.