Thursday, February 09, 2006
I scanned the room for something familiar. I needed to be able to find something I knew, something I could use to remember who I was and perhaps give me a clue to how long I'd been there.
As I peered at the world from the sunken rotating sofa, I became aware of giant television screen pulsing out every sporting event from polo to midget wrestling. On one particular television they were showing a continuous version of sports center with no commercial interruptions. ESPN 3:Casino. And hundreds of bulbs, bald little illuminated heads, covered an entire wall of the room with an odd dance of numbers. It began to sink in: I was in the Bellagio's Casino Sportsbook.
The bets were numerous and odd. Besides betting on the winner and spread, you could also place wagers on anything your mind could conceive. The first person with a fumble. The last team to score. First player to receive a penalty. Finding no energy in my legs to move from the spot I set about to read all the possible betting lines. It took forever. As I neared the end I found I could move again and so stood up to leave. As I walked to the door, in the corner of the wall on a small betting screen hidden from plain sight, a word caught my eye. There, glowing out of the wall in a serene green was the word "ULTIMATE" in all caps. I stopped to read.
It seems like the Sin City has caught wind of this week's tournament, and where ever there's hot college competition Vegas has a hand up its skirt. I asked a cocktail waitress for a pen and a kiss and, receiving the pen, began to jot as best I could the Vegas betting lines on Trouble, and when interesting some of the odds. My hand shook from excitement, fatigue, and the car bombs, and the napkin was later soiled and blurred wiping vomit from a teammate's mouth, but here is what I was able to transcribe.
Most Arrests Per Team
Most Arrests Per Player
Brian Frederick -110
Number of Organs Clandestinely removed from players by scam artists
12 Over -120 Under +120
First strip club visit
noon Friday Over +220 Under -180
A Player will Fall into the Bellagio's Fountains
Yes -110 No +120
First Unassisted Hook-up Between Men's and Women's Teams from Different Universities
Saturday 8am Over +150 Under -150
Metro east team in Semis
(I couldn't quite get these odds, as it smudged. It looks like a plus sign, and then a really big number)
Death of a Coach
Yes -110 No +100
Number of Break-ups between Visitors and their partners
52 Over -200 Under +220
At this point I felt my strength waning, and realizing I'd eaten the last of my elven Lembas bread, I began tripping to the door. I'm not sure I made it that far, but I awoke on the floor of my hotel room later that evening, surrounded by teammates in mid-rally and ready for more.
Tomorrow I will post a last minute survival guide for those teams going with some must-have tips on minimalizing your losses and getting attrition to work for you.