I wrote Saturday that if I failed to pick at least three of the four NFL playoff games correctly this weekend, I'd go to church Sunday. I'm talking about picking against the spread, not picking winners. Technically I did not get three of four, so I will go to church.
I'm not a regular churchgoer. I was once. I attended St. Thomas the Apostle elementary school in Minneapolis, went every Sunday and Wednesday and first Friday of every month, memorized the catechism, became an altar boy and had my knuckles whacked with a ruler. The nun didn't whack me. She directed three of us to extend our fingers over the end of the desk and told two teacher's pet types to whack our knuckles.
The reason we were in her classroom was because she happened to walk by when we were spitting water at each other in the hallway during a break. The other two kids who had their knuckles smacked told their parents. I didn't. As the older kids hit me, I thought, "Some day I'm going to have my driver's license and you're going to be crossing the street in front of me at a stoplight. Guess who's not stopping?"
Candidates suggested by readers so far include St. Peter's Catholic Church, St. Martin's Episcopal, Oakboro First Baptist, Forest Hill Church and the theater at Ballantyne Village that, if I understand it correctly, televises the Forest Hill service on one of the screens. Also, a buddy named Larry recommended the First Church of Larry.
Also, there's a temple on or near Monroe Road that looks interesting. I don't want to intrude, but I've always liked to quietly and respectfully slip into cultures I know little or nothing about.
I see Sunday as an opportunity, an opportunity provided by the San Diego Chargers. I picked Indianapolis and Seattle correctly, missed San Diego and New Orleans. If the teams were playing again this weekend, I still would pick New Orleans to cover. Had it not been for a late fumble, the Saints probably would have. Had they covered, I would have picked eight straight against the line going into the San Diego-New England game.
San Diego clearly was better than New England. In related news, San Diego clearly was not prepared to win. The Chargers gagged. I can't remember the last time a team with the best player in the league, the better offense and the better defense gave away a game to the extent they did.
Yes, New England's Tom Brady was great at the end of the first half and the end of the game. But the only reason he had a chance to be great was San Diego's contributions – turnovers, dropped passes, poorly thrown passes and bizarre gambles. The Chargers should have won by two touchdowns.
So I was wrong. So I was a mere two of four. So I am only seven of my last nine.
Thanks for the recommendations, even the one that said her church has room for folks that know nothing about football.