We had this game circled on our respective calendars since early August of 2016.
There was once a time when the trio of my friends John & Neel and I would go to over a dozen Washington Wizards games per season, as partial-season ticket holders. That was way back when John Wall was a rookie, we were still in our early 30’s, and life was so much simpler.
But fast forward more than a half-decade later, and things have changed. Between the combination of procreation, relocation, and age-ification (meaning we got old), those partial season-ticket plans were a thing of the past. Now, we’re lucky if we get to the Verizon Center to catch the Wizards more than two times in a given season.
So when the 2016-2017 NBA Schedule was released, and we saw that the one time that the Chicago Bulls — which happens to be Neel’s favorite team — were coming to town to play the Wizards just so happened to be on Friday, March 17th — you know, St. Patrick’s Day — it was a done deal. Neel would play hooky from work, drive down from America’s armpit (New Jersey), and join John, our friend Luke, and myself (who had taken most of the day off) for a day of drinking, eating, drinking, eating, basketball, drinking, eating, and then drinking some more.
It was only natural then, that for this momentous occasion — which, sadly, happens WAY too infrequently these days — I had to document the nonsense of the entire evening, in the form of a running diary. Sure, i’m a bit late in posting this, considering the game took place just about three weeks ago, but the content was simply way too ridiculous not see the light of day.
You’ve been warned…
9:26 AM — I’ve found myself drawn into an argument on Facebook with my former boss, as to whether it’s fair to say that the Wizards are sitting in first place, or in third place (as of that day). His argument is that they’re 1st place in the Southeast division, and should be considered as such. My argument is that they’re 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, and that’s all that matters, especially considering that the Southeast division of the NBA is basically the equivalent of the AFC South in the NFL (read: terrible). All the while, I find myself hating myself, because i’ve (briefly) become one of those old people having pointless discussions on Facebook.
9:58 AM — My wife has spent the past two hours cleaning our house… after our poor cleaning lady spent five-and-a-half hours cleaning our house by herself the day before, when her cleaning tag-team partner bailed on her. My wife’s rationale for this insanity is that the house has to look spotless, since Neel is staying over at our place tonight. Except, given the way she’s frantically cleaning every square inch possible, you’d think that we were hosting Barack and Michelle Obama. Reason #392,820,0541 that all-women tribes & societies have perished from the Earth; they were too busy focused on asinine objectives, and probably starved themselves to death.
10:52 AM — My wife is STILL cleaning the house. Meanwhile, I am sitting in my pajamas, drinking coffee, and farting around on the laptop (figuratively… and literally, at times, too). I will have no part of this fuckery.
1:15 PM — After Neel arrives to our (absurdly clean) house and we down our first couple of beers, we meet up with our friends John and Luke at the Shady Grove Metro Station (colloquially known among us as “Shady Ho”). Once we’re aboard the train, the three of them start having discussions about children and having children (Luke’s wife is pregnant). My contribution to the conversation is that i’m spending a week in Mexico in July, so… sorry i’m not sorry. Upon hearing this, John (angrily) laments that the highlight of his year will be the pool table in his recently-purchased new home, which the previous owners didn’t want to spend the money to move. John and I basically spend the rest of the train ride debating what exactly was/is the upside of being married (hint: we didn’t come up with a lot of answers).
2:10 PM — After arriving downtown, we head to Bub and Pop’s sandwich shop in Dupont Circle for lunch, because i’m a total sucker for eating at places featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (even though Guy Fieri’s presence as the host of the show is about as enjoyable as being tasered in the testicles). I order a Shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich, violating my own personal rules of 1) order the stuff that you know the venue does best (in Bub and Pop’s case: Philadelphia-style subs & hoagies); and 2) don’t order a food item that’s a specialty of City X, when dining at a restaurant in City Y. Still, given the absurd ratio of fried shrimp to sandwich space (finally a place that doesn’t skimp on the former!), i’d give my Po’ Boy a solid “B.”
2:29 PM — As we’re wrapping up with lunch, Neel shows us the “Draymond Green’s Shut Up And Slam Jam Karate Basketball” video game, which comprises nothing more than being Draymond Green and running around kicking people right in the dick (you know: the Draymond Green special). Everyone who plays this game wins, but all the characters on the court lose.
4:03 PM — After stumbling over to Sign Of The Whale, and drinking some of the shittiest Captain and Diet Coke cocktails known to mankind, Luke confesses to being distraught about the fact that his soon-to-be-born half-Mexican daughter is probably going to like to have sex, and that he’ll probably have to spend the next 25 years keeping John’s younger son Rhys off her. However, one of the upsides to Luke having a Mexican mother-in-law is her cooking one particular dish (the name of which I forgot to write down in my notes) that’s nothing more than a “conglomeration of pork.” That’s one of the greatest three-word phrases i’ve ever heard in my entire life. The only three word phrase better than that would probably be “infinite blow jobs” (yes, that link is 100% safe for work).
4:30 PM — In what will be a very frequent re-occurrence in this running diary, the other guys steal my notebook and begin making their own entries. It’s a pretty common occurrence for these running diaries, and i’m fine with it because of the hilarity that usually ensues (tonight will be no exception).
One of them writes “trolling Amit for being a hobo.” Explanation: our friend Amit was originally planning to come with us, but got coerced into going to his sister-in-law’s medical school selection ceremony. As i’ve said ad nauseam since learning of this situation: Amit is a MUCH better husband than i’ll ever be. I don’t think my wife would even try asking me to forgo a Wizards game for something like that, knowing that i’d probably laugh — hysterically — in her face if she did.
The next entry belongs to John, because he’s the only person I know who still writes in cursive. I honestly thought cursive had gone the way of floppy disks, rotary phones, and white people in middle-America/the “Bible belt” being open-minded towards people who aren’t white: totally non-existent in 2017. Anyway, after commenting that “Rajan’s dumb asssss for leaving his notebook at Sign of the Whale” (yes, that’s the exact sentence he wrote, without proper grammar, and with the word “ass” having three extra “s”), the rest of his entry sounds like a tweet from the ultra-hilarious Captain Andrew Luck twitter account: “We have made it to 4:30pm with limited casualties and some sense of thought and mental fortitude.”
Then, i’m guessing Luke added the last entry, commenting “No one has checked in at Front Page (our present location) since 2012/2014; we are old,” because he, Amit, our friend Tim, and I are like four of the 11 people on the planet who still use the Swarm app to check in at places.
4:34 PM — John’s cursive note indicates “we have seen some Capital Knockers.” In case you don’t speak Sideshow Bob: someone apparently had great boobs.
4:55 PM — John and I regale Neel and Luke with stories of the “NBA Skanks” we saw in the Wizards opener, when we scored seats in Row A of the lower bowl. We sounded like Steve Irwin describing the different types of skanks we saw, who were all clearly there to give those fine athletes on the court the gift of being obligated for 18 years of child support.
Somehow that segued to us deciding to — and doing — a Miller Lite versus Bud Lite blind taste test. We asked our bartender to fill up cups of each, and not let us see which one was which. I’ve always believed I would be able to taste the difference if ever given the blind taste test, even though you really have a 50/50 shot even if you just guessed wildly. Still, Neel and I definitively said which one was Bud Lite (because it tasted terrible), and we were right. Vindication.
6:43 PM — After an obnoxiously-long cab ride from Dupont Circle to Gallery Place, which was long enough for Luke to fall asleep for an extended period of time, we stop in at District Chophouse for another pre-game tradition: partaking of their very tasty Shaved Prime Rib Sliders (along with more beer). We wolfed them down, knowing that tip off was only minutes away.
7:26 PM — There are many, many things in life that i’m not good at. But, in situations where there are long lines that you have to wait in, i’ve always prided myself on being able to choose the shortest, and fastest moving lines (mostly because people are sheep and aimlessly meander into the first line they see, so you should basically watch what they’re doing, and then do the opposite). Tonight? Not so much. It was like the opening scene of the movie Office Space: I chose the line that seemed to be slightly shorter and faster moving, and as soon as we got in it, it stopped moving, and all the other lines started moving faster.
We’re almost halfway through the first quarter at this point, and we’re still 25 people deep in line. On top of that, there was a couple standing in line behind us, talking about how there was “no point in staying until the 4th quarter of the game.” This is EXACTLY what’s wrong with DC sports fans.
7:35 PM — We FINALLY get to our seats, to see the Wizards up by a 29-23 margin. Bradley Beal has 10 points already. Robin Lopez leads the Chicago Bulls with 13 points so far, continuing the tradition of some random and totally unheralded player killing the Wizards.
7:47 PM — I don’t think it’s fair to say Kelly Oubre Jr. had been on a “cold” streak around this time … because “cold” isn’t nearly strong enough to describe how poorly he’s been shooting. It’s more like he’s been on a “liquid nitrogen” streak. That guy wasn’t able to buy a bucket in the handful of weeks following All Star break. He badly misses on a three-point attempt, but makes up for it by chasing down Michael Carter-Williams on the fast break, and blocking his layup attempt. That’s the double-edge sword the Wizards deal with, when Oubre is on the floor. I happen to notice that the guy sitting in the row in front of me misses this entire sequence of events, because he’s too busy posting almost every second of the game on Snapchat. Millenials have ruined everything.
8:01 PM — Speaking of Millenials: two girls find their seats next to us. I’m on the end of our four seats, and the more attractive of the two girls sits next to me. Three years ago, I would’ve tried to strike up a conversation, with the goal of seeing her again after the game. Now, I just make excuses like “she’s too tall for me anyway” (in fairness, she was like six-feet tall with the heels/boots she was wearing). Once again: people who get married are idiots. Although, in my defense, a few seconds later, she asks out loud, somewhat incredulously: “wait, Rajon Rondo plays for the Bulls now?!?” … and I immediately lose interest.
8:03 PM — We’re already at halftime, with the Wizards holding a 59-40 lead after John Wall rimmed out a 20 foot jumper at the buzzer. Out of the corner of my eye, I see two girls taking selfies of themselves, and then intensely debating which photo filter to use. Again: Millenials ruin everything. Also, it looks like Neel added a note at the bottom of the page, but given how horrifically politically incorrect the note is (and that would be an understatement), there’s no way I can publish it.
[undocumented time stamp] — So here’s where it gets embarrassing for me, personally. I’ll readily admit that this makes me sound like an old man, too: for whatever reason, the gods have cursed me such that, if I drink a bunch of beer over a short period of time, I automatically get sleepy. Any other type of alcohol? Different story. But, it’s just something about beer. And it doesn’t matter the situation, time of day, or the venue. I’ve fallen asleep at wedding receptions, and the sports book of the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, among other places, in such circumstances. So, naturally, after a few beers this afternoon, what happens? I fall asleep in the 3rd quarter of this game. In the Verizon Center, at a Wizards game. That’s a new one for me. I’ve been to at least 50 Wizards games at the Verizon Center during the John Wall era, and have never even gotten remotely close to anything like falling asleep. But this day? Totally different story.
Anyway, given the fact that I slept through a fair portion of the game, I figured that this running diary would end up being a failed attempt, and decide to cut my losses and focus on the remainder of the game (once John purchased us each of us a large coffee late in the third quarter of the game, waking my sleepy ass up for the remainder of the evening).
But, the other guys would not allow said diary to die. They stole my notebook, leading to the following account of the remainder of the evening, through their eyes (and notes).
[undocumented time stamp] — “You got coffee you ho bag !!!” <– i’m guessing this is courtesy of Neel, but not 100% sure.
[undocumented time stamp] — Another politically incorrect statement that has to be omitted from the running diary, because I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Author’s name redacted.
[undocumented time stamp] — John is criticizing certain parents in the crowd for bringing their daughters to a concert at the Verizon Center. I won’t go into too many details about what he said specifically, but let’s just say that he refers to certain people by using a term for a particular gardening tool. Also, he keeps referring to Bel Biv Devoe — the headliner for tonight’s edition of the post game concerts that the Verizon Center is hosting — as “BVD,” even though 1) that’s not what the proper abbreviation would be, and 2) BVD is an old-school brand of men’s underwear.
[undocumented time stamp] — Two different types of handwriting state the following: “Rajan slept through Chocolate City. CHOCOLATE CITY !!!!!!!” (yes, there were seven exclamation points; I counted).
[undocumented time stamp] — I’m pretty sure Neel, the life-long Bulls fan, wrote the following: “Rajan fell asleep for the Bulls almost-comeback. If they didn’t suck or have the worst GM in the league, maybe they could have won. John is a better hype man. Can’t take him seriously.”
[undocumented time stamp] — Courtesy of John: “Serious note. The Bulls were never in this game. Rajan was out to start the fourth, and so were the Bulls. They had a minor comeback. I can yell aggressive words in a mic. Cook my meat on 350 to the beat. It’s super hot and get the wrench. Fix the plumbing. I’m coming UP!!!” (I’m not 100% sure, but I think the plumbing and the wrench might be some type of sexual euphemisms).
[undocumented time stamp] — John continuing to “rap” (I use this description very loosely): “Tom Brady and Hood Ready. Get a back pack to fill in. Tom Brady, turn my MIC UP! Rapping isn’t hard with a good beat. I don’t need a beverage when well-hydrated. Tom Brady. Good JOB!!!” (<— I swear, this is written verbatim, and as far as I know, John doesn’t even like the New England Patriots).
[undocumented time stamp] — Somebody wrote “Fill in the spaces.” Profound.
[undocumented time stamp] — John is now documenting his inner monologue: “I’m telling you, Mason [note: John’s older son] will have a future in music and I will exploit/take advantage of it. He is a superstar performer. He has beat and talent. The kid has rhythm. I just want to document his level.” Thanks, John. Level documented. Even though you’re starting to sound like Lavar Ball.
[undocumented time stamp] — Even more from John: “This place will explode with the go-go beat. Yeah!!! 40%+ of the crowd is here for BVD. That is DC. Luke and I are the only white people within 10%.” I’m pretty sure that 40% of the crowd wasn’t there for underwear, John.
[undocumented time stamp] — John writes: “Back the to the game. The Wizards needed a win and did win, but the second unit it made it too close. The D is still too loose. Beal had a good game and Otto Porter did things. If the Bulls gave Jimmy Butler more shots, the outcome could have been different.”
I’ll chime in: for the portions of the game that I was awake for (namely the first half and the 4th quarter), we saw A LOT of the second unit. We were actually totally stunned to look up late in the 4th quarter and realize that John Wall had a career-high 20 assists, because it felt like he was barely on the court that evening. I figured that Scott Brooks would play him a bit less tonight, given that he almost missed the game after spraining his foot in their (lousy) loss against Dallas. So, we saw quite a bit of the entire second unit all evening, and I enjoyed referring to Bojan Bogdanovich as “Bojangles” for much of the evening.
Also, why the fuck do we not have more Bojangles locations in the DC area? I just want one place to serve me a southern-style fried chicken sandwich in the morning; is that really too much to ask for? Once more: fuck you, Chick-Fil-A, for taking the (Fried) Chicken Biscuit off your breakfast menu. No, i’m not angry about that.
[undocumented time stamp] — John has taken about a half-page worth of notes expressing his displeasure with the all-girl group who was one of the opening acts of the post-game concert. As big of a Wizards fan as he is, that’s how much of a fan of said group he was/is NOT. I would’ve transcribed what he said, but, remember that whole lawsuit thing from above? Yeah, that. However, I will mention that he wrote: “Legite crowd for BVD“, because 1) that’s actually how he spelled “legit,” and 2) he’s still calling them “BVD.”
[undocumented time stamp] — More from John, transcribed verbatim: “DC in the House. Hell yeah. Overnight scenario. Go-Go places is rocking records. Turn my MIC UP. P-Diddy Baller.” This is what happens when white people try to discuss hip hop music.
[undocumented time stamp] — John’s notes circle back to basketball: “Where was Kieff? (Note: we later found out that Markieff Morris was a late scratch from the game, as he had the flu). Jason Smith filled in well and Oubre got minutes, which is a plus, as he locked down Butler when needed in the last minute of the game. This team can contend in the Eastern Conference Finals. They have the guards, the front court, and now depth too. They have four options that can guard scorers (Wall, Beal, Otto, and Oubre). No team can create a mismatch against the Wizards, but Cleveland still has the advantage if healthy.”
[undocumented time stamp] — Final notes from John: “BVD let the crowd sing and do nothing. Rajan prefers this over Texas Battle Grounds and New Orleans Sewer Line.” Yep, he called them “BVD” through the very last notes of the evening.
Also, context for for that last statement: Over the past three years, i’ve been coerced into attending two separate Florida Georgia Line concerts, along with John and his wife. Those who know me would recognize the fact that a live country music concert is about as appealing to me as licking a toilet seat at a truck stop … in India. But, the only entertainment I was been able to ascertain from this was coming up with different ridiculous names for the band — if you can actually call those two no-talent ass-clowns a “band” — using an algorithm of “name any two states near each other” + “name something totally random.” You know, something like “Maryland Delaware Drumsticks” or “Texas Louisiana Lawn Chairs” or “Nevada Utah Umbrellas” or “Arkansas Kentucky Snowstorms.” That notwithstanding, i’ll go ahead and approve the “New Orleans Sewer Line” name given by John, even though it doesn’t quite fit the algorithm, because that’s what Florida Georgia Line’s music sounds like.
And yes, hearing a washed up “BVD” — or, BBD, rather — play a rendition of Poision was FAR better than any of the musical egesta from the Indiana Ohio Onion Rings.
In closing, i’d like to thank Neel and Luke for their contributions to the diary… and John, of course, for taking over the vast majority of the second-half of the running diary, after my beer-related narcolepsy kicked in. Yes, it might’ve turned into one of those situations where one guy tags in his tag team partner, and said partner gets a bit too zealous in the ring and never tags back in the original partner. But, I later found out that John basically had no recollection what he wrote down after halftime, so it all works out in the end.
The lesson, as always: alcohol is the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.