Do you know what the best part about being a bartender is? It's that, even if you are working, there's a large flat screen in the room with you while you're at work. It means I never have to miss the game. Sure, most the time I actually am tending to people's drink and food needs while the game is on so I miss bits and pieces, but for the most part, I don't ever have to miss a Purdue game.
A quick story about me: A few months ago, my boss and owner of the bar I work at, asked me to be on one of the electronic bowling teams he was putting together for a traveling bar bowling league. This league consists of most the dive bars in Lafayette, Indiana and each of those dive bars have two teams. Being as he is my boss, and the league is on Monday - a night I had off - I supposed it would be best to agree to his offer. So I joined the league with my girlfriend and a couple of friends.
So, every Monday instead of enjoying a leisurely night at home, I am out and about at one of greater Lafayette's fine dive bar establishments. Which is normally fine because bars have tvs and sports packages that allow you to watch any Purdue. And even if they don't splurge for every sports channel they would at least have the Big Ten Network, the channel most of Purdue's conference games would be on.
This is Indiana after all. The land of basketball. Of course, you can probably guess where I'm going from here.
This Monday, that yes to my boss lead me to Mom's Place. A bar which is filled with smoke and oddities, dart and bowling machines, and a sweet old lady bartender. At 6:50 pm, I asked her if she could turn the TV to the Purdue game.
Her response, "Not till Wheel of Fortune is over."
Oh. At that point, I knew there was trouble. My indignation was momentary but loud. But this wasn't my bar. So we compromised. Can you turn a side TV to the game? "Yes." Perfect.
After asking what channel the game was on, she quickly turned a faraway TV to the Big Ten Network.
Blue screen, ominous message: you are not subscribed to this channel.
An apology from the bartender could not console. Nor could the fact that we were playing Rutgers. This was a Purdue basketball game. They only happen 30 or so times a year. They are my religion, and I would be missing my salvation.
What followed? Hours of stubbornly not checking my phone, knowing the game was DVR'd at home. Of course, us hammerandrails guy have a group message always going and I picked up on the vibe. Rutgers was an embarassment and the game was not in jeopardy, but when I jumped on facebook and saw the score - I knew that this had to be recorded and not just on my DVR.
So here it is, 11:25 pm. Girlfriend is in bed. English homework is done. It's time to indulge in a Bill Simmon's style running diary of the greatest margin of victory in Big Ten History.
Before Tipoff: Full disclosure, I cannot name a single Rutgers player. I have not watched a minute of them this year. I'm drinking Magic Hat's Winter variety pack. Currently in my hand: Magic Hat Winter Mingle, a nice stout with vanilla. It is tasty.
Before Tipoff: Four front line guys out, only six scholarship players available, and one of them only has one knee? I'm beginning to think winning by 50 might be disappointing. Oh well, here we go. Tipoff.
19:45: WE'RE LOSING 2-0, THE WORLD IS ON FIRE, WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING AND WHAT IS RUTGERS #3'S HAIR SUPPOSED TO BE? HE LOOKS LIKE COOLIO WITH A RUBBER BAND SPONSORSHIP.
18:20: Swanigan has really nice touch and in general, does well in space. Realizing that will be the key. He's got the starts of a Dirkian type game with Zach Randolph's body.
16:46: Hammons hook shot is beautiful. It should be put on posters and shown in class rooms. Babies should be named after it.
15:11: It must have been at this point that the legend texted everyone and asked how deep do we have to go on our bench to match talent output? Purdue is rebounding everything. Also, my answer was the winner of the B court at the co-rec on a slow Thursday evening.
14:22 Eddie Jordan looks like the drunk guy that makes you walk an extra block to avoid on your way home.
13:36: The announcer suggests Dakota has some kind of mental ailment about not being able to remember his bricks, and Rutgers just can't/won't rebound Purdue's many misses.
12:23: P. J. just turned a spin move into a wide-open lay-up. Rutgers Defensive rating is, I'm assuming, negative 12.
11:00: Kendall misses his first shot, but also missing, his sleeve. That is weird. It feels very weird to not have a sleeve on if you're used to it. Also, his arms look like chicken legs without the extra padding. Not a fan.
8:58: Quasimodo is fun. Also, I call Ryan Cline Quasimodo. You don't see Quasimodo blaming his shooting slump on his sleeve.
6:40: It's 38-15. This isn't fun. This version of Rutgers is the worst team we've played this year. They have what appears like one college-level offensive player. They've played even worse defensively. Fun Fact: Steven Bardo has blocked one of us H&R guys on twitter. It's probably the last person you would guess.
5:42: Rubber Band Coolio is working very hard on the offensive end. It's cute.
3:21: Haas once walked into a Subway after me. He's legitimately terrifyingly huge. He filled the entire store. I can only imagine he ate a party sized sub, 3 bags of chips, and a first born.
2:21: I have no idea what a travel is anymore. There's more travels called in your local pick up game than there is in your professionally officialed college game.
Halftime: 59-26. This isn't even fun. We've literally never seen a conference beat down like this. This game should have a NC-17 rating. Kids should not be watching. I shouldn't be watching.
I don't even know what this is. It's not basketball. It's not even close to competitive. Purdue hasn't particularly played well to be honest. They haven't shot well, but they're grabbing every rebound. It's 32-9 on the rebounding side of things. That's insane. Purdue's bigger but they're also going at the ball and Rutgers is not. What is happening in Jersey? Should we send the Red Cross? The team seems to be despondent.
The only real good takeaway for Purdue, against air Purdue has not turned the ball over yet.
19:12: These announcers are pleading for anything from Rutgers, and Rutgers replies with silence and missed shots.
18:29: At what point do I get to call Painter a prick for keeping his scholarship players on the court? Now, right?
18:00: Rubber Band Coolio has one move, and P. J. has had enough of it. Cookies.
17:40: CAN YOU GUESS WHO COMMITTED OUR FIRST TURNOVER? CAN YOU? Of course it was Biggie.
16:00: Question I've been wondering about because basketball is dumb - who's the lady's man on the Boiler's team? It's gotta be Edwards, right? Good looking kid, but then again, Johnny Hill looks like he's got some sneaky game in him. Whoever it is, we can all agree Thompson's definitely the captain of the friend zone.
14:00: Does anyone know when American Idol is on?
13:51: You know, Mom's Place isn't that bad even if the owner is cheap on the cable. They make up for it in an abundance of mini corn dogs in an order.
13:45: OH MY GOOOOOOD. THAT'S JACQUIL TAYLOR'S MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!!
12:18: I bet Dakota Mathias has like 7 girls legit in love with him. At least five of them are farmer's daughters.
10:49: Robbie Hummel was a likely lottery pick before he destroyed both his acl's and all our hearts. Just remember that whenever you hope for a player to stay an extra year. He's now getting put on IR in Italy.
9:53: Rubber Band Coolio has lines shaved into his head. College-ruled, if I'm not mistaken... Sorry.
9:27: 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47 84-47
7:07: Rutgers has officially stopped trying to look like they are trying.
5:40: Things Rutgers is good at: nothing
4:39: Are you still reading this? You really shouldn't. There is only sadness left. We sure Notre Dame doesn't want to join the Ten? I think we could find a spot.
4:15: Why are we still playing scholarship players? It's 97-51. IF THIS ISN'T EIFERT TIME, I DON'T KNOW WHAT - oh, there we go.
4:05: The garbage lineup is in. Jacquil Taylor is ruining this chance for a complete white-out.
2:58: We sure Eifert doesn't want to play football instead of basketball? He's not very good at this, and you know, we could use some help on the grid iron.
2:12: I've played with Jon Octeus, Bryson Scott, P. J. Thompson, A. J. Hammons, Jay Simpson, Ronnie Johnson, and Terone Johnson at points in my co-rec career. Never, not once, have I seen any of them treat a co-rec's shot with the disregard that was present on that Rutgers block on Eifert's attempt at a short bunny.
0:38.3: IT'S TAYLOR TIME. I'M DONE. THIS WAS HORRENDOUS. IT'S NOT YOU, IT WAS ME.
This was a terrible idea. The only thing we've learned is that this exact representation of a college team by Rutgers might be the worst team in conference history.
107-57. Holy shit. Good night.