It was last Thursday, about 6:00 PM EST, when the wheels on the American Airlines jet I was in retracted its wheels and bore a fateful farewell to my serene city of Pittsburgh. At that moment I knew that my journey had reached a point of no retreat; my ass was going to Dallas.
“Why Dallas?” You might ask. Well it’s funny what a man does for love and a chance to see the artwork of George W. Bush in person. So there I was, next to a kid with an iPad, throttling into the fiery nexus of a global pandemic. Was I terrified? Of course. But how do you think Floyd Mayweather feels about being exposed to books every day? I had to be brave.
3.2.1. Touchdown. As the plane skidded to a halt I peered at the tarmac outside. No body bags in sight. I remember my heart lifting a little bit at this point; maybe this wasn’t a suicide mission after all. I made my way safely to the car port managing not to let any of the local citizens cough into my mouth along the way. Quickly, I located my girlfriend’s car and dove into its sterile ecosystem.
At that point she started asking me questions. I could see her mouth moving, open and close, but its message escaped me. After a few frantic, disoriented seconds I realized where I was. Dallas. Current hometown of Michael Sam. I was distracted. I honestly hadn’t felt that dumb in a while. For all of my preparations, the Emergen-C, the Neosporin, the Orange Juice, I hadn’t done anything about being distracted by Michael Sam. That’s when my training took over. Any sports fan can tell you, the best way to avoid being distracted by Michael Sam is to continuously talk about being distracted by Michael Sam. I discussed the effect of his make-out on the locker room as we approached the hotel.
Over the next couple of days I made sure to drink lots of alcohol to kill any parasites that could be in or around my general vicinity. I also made sure to pad my ribs with sustenance in case the virus hijacked my ability to eat. The fatter I became, the safer I felt. Drink, eat, eat, drink. Repeat. I was invincible from the invisible beast and too husky for Michael Sam’s taste.
At the peak of my arrogance, my conquest came to a close, because shit is expensive and I had work on Monday. As I sat in Terminal C at DFW Airport, I couldn’t help but smile. I, Luke, messed with Texas. I did something that you are explicitly told to not do, and came out scotch free. Pleased with myself, I did not notice the airport police officer on the Segway next to me, staring down. “This is it,” I thought,”here it comes.” But instead of diagnosing me with Ebola, he went down a different path.
“I can’t watch sports anymore,” he said.
“Why is that?” I replied.
“Ever since I found out that Andre Agassi was on meth, sports have just been ruined. Now you tell me, two Andre Agassis playing each other, one clean, one on meth. Who wins?”
“The one on meth?”
“You’re damn right. Now if he betrayed our trust like that, what does it say about everyone else?”
With that, the officer swiveled his Segway around and rode off into the abyss. Would he ever enjoy sports again? I never found the answer. What I did find in Dallas was a renewed sense of pride in myself. I entered the weekend facing certain death. I doubt anyone was expecting me to return still breathing.
But I showed them, I survived;
and found out that some people went all in on Andre Agassi.