I am banging out this post in the dewey sweet ocean air of San Diego on Sunday morning. Since I make it to California like once every couple years, at best, I plan on spending Sunday watching football near the water somewhere (which I call "show prep" to you IRS auditors out there when I go to claim my business expenses).
So that means that by the time you read this, the first Sunday of the season will already be in the books, so if anything historic happened and I'm not mentioning it here, believe me, I am not ignoring it.
(Actually, considering I could make the effort to go back and edit this post Sunday night after it happened, maybe I am ignoring it. Whatever.)
One thing I am NOT ignoring? My now annual 17 week long siege on your liver....yes, BATTLE-DRINK is back!
Yes, back by popular demand, and renewed for a second season (look out Law and Order!), the Texans BINGO drinking game that is sweeping Harris, Montgomery, and Fort Bend counties (and other surrounding counties that I can't name -- seriously, if there were a Sporcle game for counties within 100 miles of Houston, I'd suck at it)!
Before we break down the improvements to the game, a few thoughts from San Diego on the eve of the Texans 2013 march to
another divisional round heartbreak the Super Bowl:
1. San Diego may be the most beautiful city in the country. Beaches, bars, weather, boats, hills, just enough "city feel" to be urban, just close enough to everything else to get away from the city. One small fact that works against San Diego: it has the highest homeless population in the country. Not a surprise, if I were homeless, this is where I'd go, too. I never understood homeless people in, like, Minneapolis. I mean, dude, just start walking south. Maybe I'm oversimplifying things, as I, for now at least, have a home.
Anyway, the amazing thing about the homeless in San Diego is that they just crash on the sidewalk in the middle of the really heavily walked areas, like right outside bars and stuff, and here's the thing -- nobody seems to mind! In fact, many of the native San Diegans talk to the homeless, like real conversations and shit! (As opposed to every other city where we uncomfortably tell them we have no change and increase the pace of our gait.) It's like San Diego is fifty years ahead of the curve and they've already fully integrated the homeless into their daily tapestry. Seriously, I feel like I'm watching a social experiment out here.
2. There are a ton of Texans fans out here. It really is amazing to see how the fans of this team travel, and lots of really nice people. However, it's also really amazing to see just how big a figurative buttress from any semblance of self-awareness some fans have constructed around themselves. The airport was like a convention in the "Honey, have you seen me ________?" test. If you don't know what that is, it's when you see a ridiculous prop on a football fan's person and you plug the name of that prop into the sentence "Honey, have you seen my ______?" The harder you laugh, the worse the prop. Try it, seriously.
3. If there is a god of comedy, he is pulling strings right now to make sure that the Texans are repping the AFC in the Super Bowl, because the Traveling Texans "blending in" up in New York (in the middle of winter, no less!) might be its own documentary.
4. Football season is an exciting time. It means old friends, new friends, city pride, and above all else, FOOD! However, I think this cookie cake may have set Houston football back a couple decades, or at least to the expansion draft:
— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 8, 2013
Seriously, um, what is that thing? I got several submissions to my Twitter, in the end I think it's one of the Heckle and Jeckle magpies playing the "Honey, have you seen my ________?" game with some sort of magpie shaped, Texans colored luchador mask.
All right, let's break down this week's season premiere of BATTLE-DRINK, shall we?
Column B As always, the far left column is just sips, so it's almost like a warm up column. A few "Arian Foster carry" sips (maybe not as many as usual, at least for this game), first downs, some San Diego specific stuff, and some celebrations. (This is normally where Antonio Smith's ninja move" would reside on the card, but his suspension eliminates that for the week, so we welcome back Brian Cushing with his own Battle-Drink square! Wow! What a week for Cush! New contract and a Battle-Drink square? Are you kidding me?!?)
Column I More usual on field events in the game, with some new 2013 wrinkles (By the way, these squares are all fluid and changeable every week. Battle-Drink will always be topical, if nothing else. I'm no lazy drinking game commissioner, people. I care about you.). Brandon Harris' targeting penalty in the preseason gets him onto the card, with hopes that maybe he's undergoing a change to a heel persona. The Matt Schaub throwaway incompletion was requested by many of you, so I obliged. (If I learned anything in soliciting suggestions for the game, it's that Schaub angst in this city is at an all-time high.)
Column N A BATTLE-DRINK staple has always been to make the mention of relevant, topical people a trigger mechanism in the game, and no better way to get all you bastards shitfaced than to drop Tim Tebow and Johnny Football into the game in some way, the pious ying and the satanic yang of all football. Also, say hello to the new character in our weekly Battle-Drink drama -- tongue wagging J.J. Watt on the FREE SPACE! (Greatest new character intro since the Nard-Dog descended upon The Office in Season 3.) While I'm a thousand percent certain J.J. is sober in that picture, I like to pretend that he's imitating all of you at about the middle of the third quarter if you're playing this game by the rules.
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Column G I'm not sure if you've heard, but Chris Berman is on play by play for the Texans-Chargers game, which is odd because there exactly zero people left on earth that enjoy his play by play work. At this point, I think Berman is getting treated like the fat kid who has to play at least one inning because Little League rules mandate it. He has a "Little League fat kid" clause in his deal that mandates he do at least one game of play by play each season, so they stick him on the back end of the opening week Monday night doubleheader, which is the right field of football telecasts. (Oh, and this whole column is devoted to his inane, tired, repetitive bullshit.)
Column O Speaking of J.J. Watt, he is a prominent part of the most dangerous column of the game, the "Shot" column. This week's theme of that column involves the interweaving of Watt and Houston Chronicle Texans beat writer John McClain, whose Twitter exploits and critiques of the squad are a Battle-Drink staple. Seriously, someday we will be talking about the eighth or ninth season of Battle-Drink and look back at our "longest running, show defining character," and it will be McClain's tweets. If "Tongue Wagging Watt" is Andy Bernard, someday McClain's tweets will be Michael Scott.
As always, drink responsibly but follow the rules! Every man gotta have a code! (I know that unless you weigh 2,000 pounds, it's impossible to simultaneously drink responsibly and play this game by the rules, so just promise me no drinking and driving. Deal?)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.