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NAX: Football fortunes have Bubba down in the dumps - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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NAX: Football fortunes have Bubba down in the dumps

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Posted: Sunday, November 14, 2010 12:00 am

My buddy Bubba Gravelhauler hasn’t exactly been keeping in real close touch since I was diagnosed with cancer. But then we don’t exactly hang out at the same places anymore. I’m doing chemo, and he’s doing longnecks.

But he occasionally calls, inquires as to how I’m doing and then sounds uncomfortable.

I try to tell him that I’ll still talk about anything that comes to his mind, but he acts like he doesn’t really want to bother me. Heck, I’m more than willing to carry on any conversation that comes my way and told him exactly that the last time we talked.

So I saw it as progress when he dropped by the office the other morning and actually asked if I’d drop by the Crawl On Inn later that day.

“Look, I promise to do that one of these days, but I assume you know that I can’t have anything alcoholic to drink.”

“Oh sure,” Bubba shot back. “But I reckon you wouldn’t mind talkin’ about politics and football and all that stuff that we used to kick around. I miss you makin’ fun of me when I get off on somethin’ stupid.”

That made me laugh, which he seemed to appreciate. “Yeah, on a good day, I’d be glad to come over and pick on you. For now, though, let’s just do some of that right now, right here.”

Bubba got a wide grin on his face and said, “Dang right. Football’s done kicked me where it hurts most, and I want to do some gripin’.”

“I feel the same way. Go ahead.”

“All right,” he sighed, “what the hell is wrong with the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns? Neither team is worth even watchin’.”

“Stuff happens,” I said. “Seems like the Cowboys just gave up on themselves. And maybe the ’Horns are just too young and have a lot of adjusting to do. Expectations often cloud our judgment and our perceptions.”

 “And our bets, too,” he added.

I laughed. “May I suggest that you just avoid some of those longtime loyalties and just skip those wagers. Or even bet against your favorites.”

“Sure as I do that, they’ll win,” Bubba interjected.

“Then, how about smaller bets?” I asked.

He shrugged.

“Look,” I added, “teams are going to have bad years. Just happens that you’re in one of those years. So cut your losses. Find other teams to support. Try TCU. Or maybe a surprise NFL team like Kansas City. That used to be a Texas team.”

Bubba nodded and said he could do that. “See, I knew you’d have somethin’ to make me feel better. I’m buyin’ the next time we … ” Then he added, “Well, you know what I’m tryin’ to say.”

“Gotcha,” I replied. “And, by the way, I’ve been a football guy since I was a little kid and the bad times come around for everybody. So you live with them and just hope things can turn around.”

That’s when a smile appeared on his face and he said, “I see where you’re comin’ from.” And I think we were past the awkwardness.

Odessa, TX

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