I’m So Unsatisfied – “Rocky Mountain Why?”
By: Elliot Imes
Right now, I don’t want to be here. It’s my second week of writing this thing, and I already want to quit. A writer should be able to fight through adversity, to get past whatever emotional baggage is dragging them down, and turn out a consistent product. But because I constantly doubt my validity as a writer, and because the Dallas Cowboys lost an absolute heartstomper of a game last Sunday…I kinda just want to lay down right now. That sounds nice. Better than writing about a living hell.
Okay, fine. I’ll get up.
Here’s something that probably not everyone who knows me is aware of: I started drinking. Alcohol, that is. About a month ago. I have not gotten crazy drunk yet, or even rational drunk. Just nicely buzzed a few times, other times feeling pretty much nothing. But it’s admittedly a big deal because up until this point, I had never had a drink in my life. I was straight edge. But I was a friendly straight edge guy, the kind that never drew X’s on his hands or smashed someone’s beer bottle. Now, there are hardline straight edge dorks out there who would say, “If you’re not edge now, you never were,” but I distinctly remember about 16 years of being straight edge so I’m pretty sure it happened. But hey, they’re straight edge and I’m not, so they know better than me.
I bring this up because the timing of my decision aligned pretty nicely with the beginning of the 2013 NFL season. The 900 beer commercials that assault the viewer throughout a day of watching games suddenly are directed at me, and I am able to have a nuanced reaction to them. I see an ad for Sam Adams beer, and I can say, “Oh right, that had a real woody taste” (note: I barely have a palette for this stuff yet). An ad for Bud Light comes on, and I can say, “But…that stuff barely tastes like anything. It’s not bad…but it’s not good either.” Instead of just looking at any beer commercial as a disguised ad for poison, I now see that they are much more calculated and clever, like how Bud Light turns mild corn water into a recipe for a huge party, except you have to drink, like, four of them to feel anything. Sorry, I know these are revelations that you all figured out in high school, but I am alcoholically delayed and I am still learning. Also, shots sure do ruffle your feathers a bit, huh?? Hoooo boy!
If I was actually going to debate someone who was upset with me for drinking, and I had to give reasons other than, “I am a reasonable adult male who is allowed to do this,” one of those reasons would be simple: I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. Shit gets sad quite often, and drinking, while not the solution, certainly can take just a touch of the edge off. And if there was ever a game where a significant edge needed to be lopped off like a gangrenous limb, it was last Sunday’s game against the Broncos.
I went into this game fully, 100% expecting the Cowboys to lose. I wasn’t even going to be sad about it. Peyton Manning and the Broncos had been ripping through their opponents like the Khmer Rouge, except the only reeducation being done was that Peyton is a child of God to be revered and worshipped. The unreliable nature of Dallas corners like Mo Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick, combined with the at-times dry and shaky Cowboys offense had me convinced that this would be a simple blowout, with the Cowboys looking neither terrible nor great.
That did not happen.
After a quick strike and a forced turnover, the Cowboys went up 14-0. I stood and cheered, but I knew what was coming. And it came, in the form of 17 unanswered Broncos points that they scored with the effort of a high school bully walking by and shoving a nerd into a locker. This was how it was supposed to go down. The Cowboys get lucky for a bit, but then they regress back to the mean, and the Broncos do what they do best.
That also did not happen.
No matter how often people talk about great quarterbacks like Peyton and leave Tony Romo completely out of the discussion, Romo was quite insistent that he and his team belonged in this game. Every time the Broncos scored, I pared down my expectations, but then Romo would come right back and throw a huge bomb to Dez Bryant, or pull off one of the most dazzling scramble-escape-completions I’ve ever seen, and then a small part of my brain would start to wonder, “Hold on…can they win this?”
In the moments where my hopes were dashed, I nursed a Newcastle, my first time trying that drink (my expert review: it’s okay). The gesture was especially pronounced when the Broncos would score, and I found myself psychologically “needing” a drink, only because I have been told that this is the correct way to drink if you are sad. But I have to admit, it felt cathartic to take my head out of my hands, reach for a beer, drink it, and then put it down. Simple, but I can see why people do it.
Even when the Cowboys were up 48-41 with five minutes left, I assumed they would lose. It’s what they do. They get us up to the point of release, and like a cruel dominatrix, they walk out of the room right then and slam the door.
Tony Romo is my life’s dominatrix. Not by choice, but by fate.
With two minutes to go and the game tied, the Cowboys got the ball back. They had moved the ball so easily up to this point, that even my neurotic, pessimistic self admitted that they could get a field goal and maybe, maybe, win this game.
First play of the possession: sack. Oof. Not good. But, not over.
Second play of the possession: interception.
My text to my stepdad: “Oh dear.”
And that’s more or less all I can say even now. Romo had a career-best game, but because he threw an interception in the last two minutes and they lost the game; and because that’s what every shithead, reductionist, meme-loving football fan accuses him of doing; I am left with nothing to say. I can point to dozens of NFL writers who did their best to not blame Romo for this loss, to point out that he played brilliantly up until that fateful moment, but what’s the point? It’s just too sad.
You either believe Romo is a dumb guy who can’t get out of his own way and can’t “win the big one,” or you’re like me and you wish you could meet him in the locker room after a game like this, give him a firm handshake, and tell him that no matter what happens, we all love him.
And then we would go out to a bar, and Tony would drink me under the table without blinking. He is a pro, and I am an amateur.