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The Cowboys vs The Bulls
Well, according to my friends Bob and Beverly Layton...
I can scarcely believe it's been 11 years - but I remember it as if it were yesterday. Here's what happened...
First, I must confess to being one of that lamentable minority, "The Sports Enthusiasm Challenged." But, compared to my friend Bob Layton, I'm a gung ho sports fanatic.
It was the evening before the Super Bowl game between Buffalo and Dallas in 1993, and my wife and I were having dinner at a local restaurant with our friends Bob and Beverly Layton. Since our wives are also dedicated non-sports fans, not one word of the dinnertime conversation had anything to do with sports - until a passing diner was overheard saying to his companion, "I think the Cowboys are going to beat the tar out them tomorrow."
Now Beverly, who really had no idea who the Cowboys are but who is always anxious to get a lively conversation going, said, "You know, I've been hearing that everywhere I go today. Apparently everybody is rooting for the Cowboys tomorrow."
At that moment, a young woman with two children at the next table indignantly replied, "Well, I'm not!"
Now Bob, who has never been known to let an opportunity to strike up a conversation with a stranger get away, turned to the woman with a smile and said, "Really? So who are you rooting for?"
She gave him a look like, "What kind of a stupid question is that?" But, surpressing the urge to say it, she managed a strained smile and replied, "The Bills, of course."
So Bob, who has also never been known to let the opportunity to make a good-natured joke get away, said, "Well - shouldn't the Animals' Rights activists be out marching and protesting about these cowboys beating up on those poor bulls?"
Well, this stopped the woman cold, and she looked at Bob like he was some kind of a nut. That's when I found myself whispering in hushed embarrassment, "It's not bulls, Bob, it's the Bills."
Now he's looking surprised, and says, "Bills - what Bills?"
"You know," I said, "Buffalo!"
So Bob thought about that for a moment, then turned to the woman with another smile and said, "Well, then - shouldn't they be out demonstrating about these cowboys ganging up on those poor defenseless buffalo?"
Now the woman is moving down to the other end of her table, pretending she doesn't hear him.
And before I can say anything, Beverly chimes in with, "Well, wait a minute - wouldn't a boy buffalo be called a bull?"
"Yes, Beverly," I said, "It probably would. But we're not talking about animals - we're talking about the city!"
"City - what city?" Beverly says. "Oh, I see - you mean Buffalo." (And she's serious.)
"Right!" I reply. "They're playing the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl tomorrow."
Now Bob and Beverly are both asking, "Is that what we've been talking about - the Super Bowl?" (And they're both serious.)
Well, at this point I was hoping the conversation had ended. But Beverly, somewhat defensively, came back with, "Well, there is a team called the Bulls, isn't there?
"Yes," I said, "The Chicago Bulls. But that's basketball."
She thought about that for a moment, then asked, "So they aren't the ones playing tomorrow?"
It was while I was trying to decide how to answer this when I noticed the woman and her two boys quickly heading toward the door. All three were shaking their heads as if they couldn't believe what they'd had just been hearing. But my wife was the smartest one of the bunch - she didn't say a word the whole time.
As for the game, I can't remember how it came out - but I'll never forget the dinner conversation the night before.
"Not really," he replied, and then went on to say the one he dislikes most is basketball. When asked to explain why, he said that in junior high he'd been picked for the team, not because of any desire to play, but because he was taller than most of his peers.
"Well, the first time I got the ball," he went on, "I started bouncing it toward the opposite end of the court - but about halfway there, someone blew a whistle and everyone started yelling at me."
"So what happened?" I asked.
"I don't know exactly," he replied, "it was something about 'double-dribbling.' Anyway, later on I got the ball again - and the same thing happened - only this time they took me out of the game and I spent the rest of it on the bench."
"So did you ever get to where you could handle the ball without double-dribbling?" I asked.
"Well," he said, "to tell you the truth I never really figured out what double-dribbling is."
"And you still don't know?" I asked in amazement.
"Well, I think it's got something to do with bouncing the ball from one hand to the other - but I'm not really sure."
So I went ahead and explained what the term means.
"Really?" he said. "You know - you're the first one who ever explained this to me. That means it's taken 50 years to find out why they were yelling at me that day."
"Thank you for clearing that up."