Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Bowl '99

Years ago before greed was disguised as "meeting the needs of our changing customer", if you worked in the restaurant business you had Thanksgiving off. It was a glorious day. A day when you wouldn't be yelled for being 5 minutes late on a reservation for 25 who wanted to sit by the, not that window, the other window.  A day when you wouldn't be accused of ruining Thanksgiving by running out of stuffing (really, you fools are going to eat that much stuffing....who knew). A day when you could actually celebrate the holiday with friends and family and co-workers.....whaaaaaat, co-workers?

Listen up kids, as I tell a Thanksgiving story of peace, love, football, a man-pilgrim, the Washington Monument, revenge and violence. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving morning in Washington, DC in 1999. The leaves were turning, there was a chill in the air, and Turkey Bowl I was about to be played on the Mall. The teams gathered early, setting up hot chocolate and goodies. On one side was Not Buca's (Name has been changed to protect Maggiano's) Tyson's Corner, the more athletic, attractive team. On the other side was Not Buca's Chevy Chase, the evil empire. As the teams met up, pleasantries were exchanged. A crude outline of a field was set up, flags were put around each players waist and team captains met in the middle. The General Manager of each restaurant was the team captain. We were led by Michael (I'm not changing his name, he's a fame whore). Now on first inspection, Michael may not appear to be a dominate force in the game of football, he does however, look remarkably like a pilgrim. It's really uncanny and what we assumed would be an advantage. He's about 5'8, wears glasses and once asked me who my favorite American historical figure was. He was scrappy and competitive and well, we were good looking.

Now if you read this blog or have worked at either one of the "Not Buca's" then you know these 2 teams have a storied, troubled past in that there is an inexplicable disgust bordering on hatred and competitiveness between the 2 restaurants. Turkey Bowl started out friendly enough, a touch down here, a touch down there, a few laughs and guffaws and an overall fun start to a promising morning of football. However, the score was close. They would score, we would score, we would score, they would score. Jose the 50 year old stocker, who showed up only on the premise that this was soccer, stopped getting playing time. The better players stayed on the field longer. Then the first elbow came, I don't know who threw it or who received it but that was the game changer.

Suddenly, the flags were not merely pulled off, they were tackled off. People were tripped, shoved, kicked, eyes were poked, and wedgies were given. Girls were wishing they had worn cups. Guys were crying for their moms. No one was willing to give in or ease up. Then on a play that we knew we could score and put the game in the bag, things got ugly. The play was that Michael (man/pilgrim) would be given the ball and he would go left and cut back to the middle exposing a weakness in their defense. The ball was snapped and handed off to Michael, as he ran left the defense went with him and then he cut back to the middle with what appeared to be enough of an opening to go all the way down field. And then out of nowhere, framed in between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, came the Chevy Chase Sous Chef. Despite the buckles on his shoes, Man/Pilgrim was fast and wily. The chef did the only thing that would stop him, he stuck his arm out at about throat level and clotheslined him. I have never seen someone drop so hard and so fast. I have also never seen someone get up so fast and so comical. As he got up to scream he couldn't, what with the hit to the throat, but a rage filled high pitched feminine screech did come out and truthfully scared us all. Behind his glasses which at this point were only attached to one ear and hanging down the side of his face, his eyes were wild, wild like a rabid dog. His usually perfectly coiffed hair was all pushed forward, as if to give him Beetle like bangs. His shirt was pulled up somewhere just below his clavicle and if I'm not mistaken, due to the velocity of the hit, his pants were actually on backwards. And then the Man/Pilgrim/Beast lunged towards the chef.  That's when benches cleared, and the fighting, yelling and screaming began. After several minutes, cooler heads prevailed and the game was called and no winner was named. We spent the last half hour in silence as we finished our hot chocolate and cleaned up our trash, after all we weren't animals.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you wait around long get the trophy.

1 comment:

  1. it's about time you wrote...good to see you back. now more pictures of puppies please.