From the Sideline

Column: More soft drink on the line

March 14, 2014 

It’s been nearly a year since my boss and Eastern Wake News Managing Editor Johnny Whitfield voluntarily engaged in any type of formal bet with yours truly.

And for good reason; he is 0-for-2 against me in bets placed dating back to August, 2012.

Ever since my Tennessee Volunteers defeated his beloved N.C. State Wolfpack in the Georgia Dome that year, and he subsequently sang the glorious “Rocky Top” at the top of his lungs, he has stepped back a notch on what he is willing to wager.

He upped the ante slightly (compared to our second feud) when he proposed a third friendly bet last week. But considering the terms make it next to impossible for either of us to win, I’m left feeling like we’re playing for toothpicks.

In April 2013, a few weeks after I built and raced a Pinewood Derby car in an event at my church, Whitfield managed to smuggle a wooden track into the newspaper office and coaxed me into a race.

On the line that time was a single, 24-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew. (Editor’s note: Mountain Dew means more to Whitfield than it does to anyone on the planet, so to his credit, he likely thinks he’s putting a lot more out there than he really is.)

In summary, the race was a joke. My car smoked his car, which one of my coworkers described as a “hobbled turtle.” I gloated the win by drinking the Dew in his presence and remarking over and over how cold and delicious that particular drink tasted.

Whitfield on Wednesday suggested a six-pack of Mountain Dew be the spoils for our third bet. Catch is, the winner was determined by whose college team won their respective men’s basketball conference tournament.

To explain the nonsense of that bet for those of you who don’t follow college basketball, that would mean SEC-based Tennessee would have likely had to defeat Florida, (and I hate to say this) the top-ranked team in the nation. Or it meant N.C. State would have had to rise to the top of an ACC bracket consisting of four of the top-25 teams in the country.

Sure, anything is possible on the hardwood in the month of March. But prior to the start of the tournament, it was hard to imagine the story would be any different than that found in a Biblical parable involving a camel and the eye of a needle.

Why initiate a bet that doesn’t have a definite payout? Maybe it’s because Whitfield is a quick study on our gambling history, and he’s tired of finishing in second place.

Moody: 919-829-4806 or amoody@newsobserver.com

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