Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday

      Evidently Sunday is the Super Bowl.  I still haven’t gotten over last years debacle when the Niners couldn’t take the ball into the end zone with three or was it four downs. They were close enough that Gore could have taken the ball and simply fallen forward for the winning touchdown.  Kaepernick took the blame, but I think it was coaching.  I’m still disgusted. 

            Then there was the playoff game this year when the officials gave the game to the Seahawks.  I’m sure that extinguished my enthusiasm for this year’s Super Bowl.  I’ll admit that these are two excellent teams with great quarterbacks and I’m sure I’ll be glued to the TV despite my anger that the 49ers aren’t playing.  But I’ve resolved to never again invest emotion in a game.

            There was a time in my younger days when I ran around with a wild group of guys, some whom were players in the NFL, mostly the 49ers.  This was during a somewhat rowdy time for me between marriages. Maybe it takes a woman to tame a man, because, left to his own devices he will get into all kinds of trouble.

            We were known as “the Animals.” I, along with my friend and racquetball partner, who was a Psychologist, tried to distance ourselves from some of the activities while serving as the voice of reason, moderation, and therapy when needed. Those Super Bowl weekends were just a big party and the game itself was incidental.  I’ve written about the weekend at a New Orleans Super Bowl.  On a rating system that would have been a ten. 

            I still remember the brawl on Bourbon Street when two of our guys, (one was a big lineman for the 49ers) ended up bloody and in jail for instigating a fight inside Pat O’Brian’s.  Between bouncers and cops they barely survived a brutal beating.  I don’t know how I escaped jail after jumping the cop who was clubbing them.  And that was just the first night. Then there was the time on Bourbon Street that one of our guys fell in love with a pretty “woman” only to find out later she didn’t fit the definition of a female anatomically. He threw up in an alley while we laughed mercilessly.

            I remember a Super Bowl in Houston, where it was so cold that a few of the guys stayed in the hotel and watched the game on TV.  I solved the weather problem by going to a concession stand where I grabbed a large cardboard box.  I sat in that box to get out of the wind and managed to fit one of our flight attendants in with me to help her survive the cold.  My altruism knows no bounds.

            I sat next to a professional gambler on the flight to a Super Bowl game and got inside information on how these gamblers take advantage of guys with money, like professional athletes, who are rich and high on confidence, but unschooled in the gambling trade. They all pour into the Super Bowl.  It's big business.

            Gambling is a big deal at Super Bowls. Not just betting on the games, but also high-stakes Poker in elegant hotel suites.  I think it was the Houston game when my good buddy Dick Whitaker discovered a big card game downstairs in our hotel.  I distinctly remember him saying, “They’re giving away money.” It was three in the morning, but you don’t sleep much on Super Bowl trips. You had to know someone to get in the gambling suite.  Dick knew someone – he always did – and we entered a beautiful suite with a large table surrounded by guys in suits and ties, a bar, food, and numerous high-end hookers.
            O. J. Simpson had just lost a bundle at the table and left, looking for someone to kill.  Dick jumped in and after two hands he had lost all his money. This wasn’t penny poker.  He had to borrow money for the rest of the trip. I was content to watch the action and wasn’t even tempted to get in the game.  “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

            So when you watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, be aware that you are only seeing the surface action.  It’s like watching the actors in a play, while all kinds of stuff is going on back stage.


  1. Gosh Ralph, looks like somebody showed up and forgot to play.

  2. Are you talking about the Broncos? Not a good way to go out for Manning, but he's still one of the best.