An entertaining experiance


Since no one has the NFL network and I’m still not old enough to get into bars, some friends and I had to get a little creative to catch last night’s Cowboys/Falcons game. We opted for a place called Sports Haven, a 38,000 square foot establishment that offers degenerate recreational gamblers a place to bet on horse races, dog races, jai-alai, cock fights you name it.

While we had no money on the line other than our fantasy football playoffs, it was still interesting to see how a place like this operates. There were so many characters, most of whom smelled, and taking it all in was quite an experience.

If you’ve never been to a place like this or a horse track, here’s a glimpse of what you might run into.

Middle aged white guy
The lifers. I pictured anyone who fits this description as being named “Ace” or “Snake eyes.” There were lots of Aces last night. They never seemed to get too emotional over wins or losses, and they kind of faded into the background, betting slips in hand, knowing they’re a trifecta away from not having to sleep on the couch or in the car for a few days.

Middle aged black guy
There weren’t many, but they were far more entertaining than their fair skinned brethren. These guys wore their hearts on their sleeves, yellow strained white sleeves I might add, and you knew exactly how each race went for them. They were also into the game more than white guys. They were all Cowboys fans for what its worth.

Much to my surprise, there was a number of older looking angry women in the building. I kept referring to them as Sandy, which says a lot about how I feel about women named Sandy. We had a betting machine right next to us and at one point Sandy was putting her money in to get a slip and she dropped some cash into the trash can under her. She proceeded to dive right in and grab her money, as though I was going to beat her to it. As a forewarning, stay away from these women. Anyone willing to gamble their children’s book fair money on the number seven horse isn’t someone you want to fuck with.

Good looking 20 something
Saw three of these guys, all happened to be Italian with blowouts and big vests on, and all were by themselves. They didn’t care for the racing and paid attention to the game, knowing Tony on Wooster Street was going to break their legs if the Cowboys didn’t cover.

Man wearing colorful dress shirt, dirty jeans and cowboy boots
Looked a lot like a Dale to me. He probably referred to people as Hoss. I saw this guy outside, but never in. He didn’t look like the type to bet the races, so I figured he was either a pick pocket or a pool shark. Either way, that’s a pretty impressive living.

Groups of three
We ran into a few of these groups. Most of the guys were between the ages of 18-26 from my guess, all just looking for something to do on a Saturday night. In person A, you had the guy that took the ponies (and himself) far too seriously. He’d hit the table when he lost and pump his fist when he made a little money. He said things like “I can’t catch a fuckin’ break tonight” or “Finally! I’m back baby.” Person B was the guy just happy to be there. He didn’t care about winning or losing and like me, was more interested in watching the people around him piss away their money. Person C was the mush of the group, and Person A let him know about it constantly. After “Ballin’ Baby” faltered down the stretch of a race, Person A yelled “You fuckin’ suck Greg. Stop fuckin’ with my horsies.” Oh yeah, Person C was always named Greg.

And last but not least…

Michael Irvin
Well, at least the splitting image of America’s favorite crack addict. In fact, one of my friends even said that if it wasn’t Irvin, it had to at least be that guy that owned the crack pipe he was found with last Thanksgiving. This guy was easily my favorite person of the night. He was dressed well, khakis and a nice shirt. He had this horrible looking Cowboys leather coast however. When it looked like Atlanta was going to run away with the game, he was slumped in his chair, screaming “No! No!” constantly. Then the Boys came back and he was turning around and making jokes with us and he started to get on his cell phone and yell at lots of people about his victory. The question of the night: Was he simply proud of his favorite team or did his excitement come from being able to make rent this month?


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