January 22, 2007

My Son's Football Picks

This morning I asked my son if he knows who's playing in the Super Bowl (I don't follow football, but he was watching ESPN while eating breakfast, and I know that we always have a Super Bowl party sometime in early February) and he told me it was the Bears vs. the Colts. I'm not even sure why I asked, since I really couldn't care less.

He mentioned something while I was driving him to school this morning that I had forgotten about...

A couple years ago, when my son was 11 years old, there was a football pool at my work, run by the guys next door. Every week, they'd print me off a sheet, and try to get me to get involved in the pool. It cost $5, and the person who picked the most winning teams would take all the money, and any ties would be decided by the guess of the final score of Monday night's game added together. I got tired of them hounding me, so one week I had my husband fill out his picks and I put my money in.

Our son saw him picking teams, and wanted to pick too. The next week my husband advised me to quit wasting my five dollars, so my son asked if he could have the sheet of teams I had brought home. The next day, he handed me the sheet with his picks circled in crayon, and he told me he wanted to be included. I told him it was gambling, but he said, "I just want to see how I would do IF I was in the pool." I figured this was harmless, so I said I'd ask. They agreed, and I wrote the words FOR FUN on his sheet and turned it in. They gave me a special copy of everyone's picks, with his picks hand-written beside the legitimate picks.

You know what?? That little booger came in the top three every single week. At age 11! So one week, I decided to put in $5 for fun. Guess who won the $80? Of course I did. This threw me into a moral dilemma. His picks, my five bucks. Do I tell my son he won money gambling? Would this make him addicted to gambling? I didn't feel right with it, but didn't know what to do. I actually remember thinking, what would the church have me do? What kind of a mother wins a football pool on her son's picks, and then keeps the money? What kind of a mother actually lets her 11 year old make picks in the first place???

I kept the knowledge of his win secret, but I took him shopping soon after and bought him the expensive shoes he really wanted. The next week, I didn't put in $5, but his picks would have won. And of course, the week after, I gave in to temptation and put in another $5. His picks were second. I took that as a sign, and the week after, I didn't put any money on. Sadly enough, he would have won again. So I put money down again from then on for the rest of the season, and always it was the same, he'd come in the top three. One week, we won again, and again I kept it secret. Eventually he found out somehow. Which is what he brought up this morning ~ he figures I still owe him 80 bucks.

So now I figure, if he's going to be a gambling man, then we'd better teach him how to gamble smart. Not that he really needs to be taught, obviously. He does just fine on his own.


Michelle said...

This is such a cute story. It reminds me of the time my husband told me about an old English friend that came to visit his parents one year (she was like 80!) and she wanted to do a football pool for fun too....she picked them by how pretty their uniforms were! AND SHE WON EVERYTIME!!

I know nothing about football either. Any sport for that matter. Every once in awhile I will sit and watch a game with my husband and ask him the silliest questions about the game. And I usually end up commenting on their uniforms! HEE HEE He gets a kick out of it, though!

Sideon said...

Fun fun story.

Your boy sounds like he knows his teams!

When he's old enough, take him to Vegas with $20.00 and see if he has the same kind of luck at the tables :) While you're down that way, continue driving West until you hit the Bay area and then come visit :)

Cele said...

I love it.

Radio stations are always playing their state's lottery games offering a predetermined amount of lottery tickets to the winner. My station is no difference. Last month the Oregon Lottery was running their promotion over a five day span and on the final day we had two winners. My DJ made a comment about one of the winners, and I noticed the name of the other. Now I have lived here for 34 years, I know most of the natives. Winner number two is a Mormon (her daughter and mine were best friends in high school,) which had me laughing. When she came in I handed over the tickets and she started laughing and said she'd never done this before (I figured this much) but she'd give them to her son.

Maybe your son's career is unfolding itself, he obviously has his eye on football.

Rachel said...

Mormon's gamble all the time, they just don't admit it or try to pretend that it isn't that big of a deal to buy 1 lotto ticket.
My mom tried the same stuff with us about not gambling but then we would go to Grandma's house and play penny Pokeno.
I figured that if I had almost zero chance of making it to the "celestial kindom" that I might as well have fun here on earth.

Genilimaa said...

Great story! And what amazing results - did he ever explain his tactics?

If you unleash him one weekend in Las Vegas, you might be set for life?!

Just one of many said...

LOL!! I hope he's going for Chicago that's where my 20.00 is chearing on!! I always lose...but this might be my year!

Cele said...

So Joom, does that mean I should lay money on the Colts?

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Michelle, I'd try it using guesses, only I'd totally lose. I'd rather use my $5 on something else.

Sideon, he'll probably make his way to Vegas on his own, if his young gambling is any indication...

Cele, yeah, I was always afraid if I bought a lotto ticket that I'd publicly win the big one, as a test from God to see if I'd admit it or pay tithing on it or whatever.

Rachel, my rule is the jackpot has to be over $100 Million before I'll buy a ticket. Even then, I might not.

Gen, he says he just knows who will win. And no, he doesn't have a rocking horse.

Joom, and Cele, I don't know who he'll root for in the Super Bowl yet.

Andrew said...

It isn't gambling for me, because I lose every time. :o) So what would that make it ... voluntary taxes?

Andrew (To Love, Honor, and Dismay)

supernova said...

What a fun story!!! I can only echo what the others have already said! Take him to Vegas! Can you even begin to fathom what he can do there!?! :-)

Holly said...

I love this story! I love that you bought him shoes.

How is he at playing poker?


Sister Mary Lisa said...

Andrew, just call it fun and don't do it as often as you'd like, if you need extra cash.

Supernova, if my son makes it to regionals in soccer this year, then he'll be in Vegas...I better watch him (or ask him for help).

Holly, he's excellent at playing poker. Heaven help us all. We got separated on the plane from L.A. to Kona, Hawaii, and this older gentleman and he played poker the entire way there. He won more than the gentleman did. He's a very smart kid.

Freckle Face Girl said...

It is not gambling if you know you'll win. :) Sounds like he has a real talent!

JMK said...

Wow! I always suck at football pools. Could you ask the Boy to tell us who he thinks will win the Super Bowl?

C.L. Hanson said...

Cursed with a smart kid!!! LOL!!!

And I thought I had parenting dilemmas..... ;-)

belaja said...

How is he with picking lottery numbers? The powerball is 240 mil this week and I, really, I think it's about time I won.

(PS. I responded to you on Wry Catcher's blog. Go read it. :-)

PPS: My word verification is xunfck. Doesn't that look naughty?

Taiko Tari said...

CUTE story! :)) Are you itching even a little bit to have a co-gambling type of business with your son? hehe.

If you can help it, though, please teach him to steer away, far far and far away from Japanese gambling "Pachinko", it doesn't require any horse or football team knowledge and the like, but the brain and moral damage can be very bad. Very very bad.

Hellmut said...

I remember only too well when we stayed at the house of a frat brother and went to the local casino. The next morning, his gregarious father asked each one of us: "Did you win or did you lose." Every one one of us had lost.

The dad: "Good! Then you won't become a gambler."

Actually, I went back one more time. After I won back my losses and was thirty or forty bucks up, I figured it doesn't get any better than that and quit.

That was the end of my gambling career, which makes me one of the most successful gamblers in the history of mankind.