I'm on vacation this week (most readers of the column might say I am on vacation every week, bada bum).
I've got lots of family and friends in Northern California, so my wife and kids and I have been camped out at my sister's in the East Bay. Other than falling in love with the Golden State Warriors because my NBA-loving brother-in-law and I watched them beat the Bulls and the Knicks (I am buying an Ish Smith jersey before I leave), one of the highlights was spending the day with my childhood best friend, Matt, and his trash-talking 8-year-old, Jack.
Every year since we started going to Chicago Bears games because his parents had season tickets, Matt and I have competed in our version of pick 'em contests. With ESPN.com, we turned it into an all 16-game ATS war. Many years he has won. The past three years, I have won. As I have written in previous columns, the winner of this idiotic contest gets the privilege of spending as much money as possible on second-place trophies for the loser.
Pride and humiliation have no price. One season I sent Matt several trophies, each engraved with one word which, when lined up in the proper order, read, "2nd Place 2008 Pigskin Pick 'Em, *&^%$." Use your imagination to figure out what the last word read. I was very pleased when I walked into his house this week and saw that his wife kept the trophy with that particular word in the center of a shelf in their living room.