It's Taco Time in the Salt City! The Syracuse Fan-tasy season, alumni club boners, whorish Otto t-shirts, and Pete Thamel's real name...
I quit playing fantasy sports in college. I grew tired of putting time, effort, money, and mainly time into depending on overgrown pituitary cases for my weekend enjoyment. I quickly learned it's better to fully depend on yourself (and some high-end fermentables) for fun.
Still, my friends and I like to argue who is the better Syracuse basketball fan. Which is just about the lamest big dick contest this side of bragging about your LARP character's skillset. Nevertheless, this year, to make our fandom more interesting, and because we're competitively degenerate, we decided to put our money where our pieholes are and bet on it. The First Annual Syracuse Fan-tasy Season:
*1 point for attending a local game watch
*2 points for attending a Dome or NYC-area game
*3 points for attending a legit road game (insert hilarious joke no one's heard before)
*4 points for attending a road game you'd actually have to fly to
There's six of us--two guys from Manhattan, four from nearby Jersey, and zero females from anywhere (obviously)--but I won't share any one's name because many of them are single and I want them to still be allowed to touch boobs in the future. (I'm a semi-famous writer with a long-time girlfriend who doesn't even know about this website and you can decide what word from earlier in this sentence is most relevant to my current and future sex life or lack thereof.)
We kicked off the Fan-tasy season this past Sunday at the Village Pourhouse. The Wagner game was promoted heavily as the season "kickoff" by the always-on-top-of-things Big Apple Orange Alumni Club and the Pourhouse was indeed, shockingly well attended. (I'll save my major snark toward alumni clubs for a future post, but wouldn't a season opener hoops event be better named a "tip-off"...oh, and why didn't said tip-off happen for LAST WEEK'S TOP 25 BOAT-OFF?!)
Though I usually enjoy standing at the bar to watch us play, with a busy NFL Sunday slate, this weekend we were corralled into the back room, which, on the positive, kept us safe from grown men in Mark Sanchez jerseys. The Pourhouse's back room is uncomfortably set up with low-slung banquettes and ottomans you're expected to sit on as if at some bachelorette party waiting for Magic Mike and his schlong to arrive, but few other drinking establishments would be so kind to a group of youngsters monopolizing precious HDTV screens with an OOC blowout while only ordering off the cheapie specials menu ("Orange Crush" cocktail.........$5).
Seeing the scads of attendees, many not even certain of our current team's personnel (some dude actually asked me where Kris Joseph was...and I refused to break his heart. Maine, my friend, Maine), many not even coming to actually watch the game, their ottomans angled away from the screens. Yes, many were simply there for the twentysomething schmoozefest cum No-I-can-wear-the-most-whorish-Otto-shirt fashion show (and I might have to run down those nominees in a future post as well). While observing this absurd scene and watching a poorly played laugher, I realized it might be fun, if not utterly necessary, to add a few more advanced metrics into our group's Fan-tasy scoring, just to keep everyone interested:
*MINUS 1 point for missing game with a female-related excuse (#misogny)
*1 point for "accidentally" spilling beer on a Georgetown fan's sweater vest
*2 points for drinking with Bill Raftery and/or Sean McDonough before or after a Big Monday telecast
*MINUS 5 points for drinking with Dan Schulman
*3 points for stealing Dick Vitale's glass eye after you roofie him
*2 points for staying til last call post-gamewatch
*1 point for every time our friend decides to cleverly tip the bartender an even $44, then doesn't remember it til he checks his online bank account the next morning
*MINUS 3 points for forgetting your credit card at the bar
*2 points for picking up aforementioned women in whorish Otto t-shirts
*MINUS 1 point for going back to her Murray Hill five bedroom she shares with four other JAPs
*5 points for picking up aforementioned women by claiming you're Pete Thamel (#BeardedTacoTime)
Let's be honest, this is really just a way to ensure a group of thirtysomethings doesn't bitch out on twice-a-week drinking and fun for an "adult" obligation. You sadly have to do shit like this when you get our age. Still, the Fan-tasy winner will get all his high-end fermentables paid for by the losers on the day of our first Big East Tournament game.
If you and your dork friends decide to set up your own league, please let me know about any funny ways you like to garner points.
Alright, enough navel-gazing, let's get down to serious business...
#TacoTime: Pete Thamel's Real Name
I didn't even know I had a reader's mailbag, but I'm obviously not that hard to find if you're feelin' lucky on Google. And, after the constant bashing of Cuse turncoat, hot yoga lover, and Sports Illustrated third-string college basketball columnist Pete Thamel in these very pages, I received a nice email from "Sam" in Washington, D.C. She writes:
Aaron - I've noticed like any good SU fan and proud alum that you hate Pete Thamel. But did you know that Pete isn't even his real first name? During my day's on the Hill, I somehow came to learn that it's Victor - Victor Pete Thamel.
*Shocker!* I think it's time to question whether Victor is actually from Kenya. I'd also like to see his long-form college transcript. Did you even attend Newhouse, Vic?? As Drudge would say, STORY DEVELOPING...
Taco Time was easily reached against Wagner, no surprise. Here are your pertinent statistics, including player shooting percentages with a chance to secure the Dome Foam-swilling, bathroom trough-pissing, Bill Rapp Superstore-leasing, CNY masses some Grade D ground beef carelessly dumped inside a federally-subsidized corn shell.
One final point, I saw a lot of premature chatter on Twitter, but please remember
#TacoTime is like a no-hitter. Never spoken of in-game til it actually occurs, lest the Taco Gods punish such hubris.
Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy Princeton (on tape delay or a shoddy computer stream) before you have to hang with that annoying family of yours.
Aaron Goldfarb is the writer of How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide and other things. Syracuse basketball is the only thing he would ever write about for free. Send questions, thoughts, and/or Victor Thamel anecdotes to firstname.lastname@example.org or @aarongoldfarb