About Last Weekend: The Land of Giants

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In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports over the weekend.

  • The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI. And that’s after viewers were inundated with patriotic propaganda, from the national anthem to a crazy Clint Eastwood ad, without ever seeing one commercial featuring actual giants. Not one!
  • Eli Manning, who threw for 296 yards and led the game-winning drive, was named the game’s MVP for the second time in his career. “GEE WHIZ AND JEEZUM CROW!” he shouted, waving his hat around in excitement. “GOLLLLLY, THAT’S SWELL!” He then stared at the Chevrolet Corvette he won, and wondered when Peyton would take him for a ride to the dairy for some iced cream.

  • Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who dropped a pass that may have sealed a victory for his team, teared up at the press conference, saying, “It’s a play I never drop. Most critical situation, and I let the team down.” Afterward, Bill Belichick consoled his receiver in the empty locker room. “Everything’s fine,” the Patriots coach whispered, as he slowly withdrew a dagger from his pocket. “Everything is OK, son. Just close your eyes and let it all go. You’re a hero now, my boy.”
  • This year’s Super Bowl ads cost companies an average of $3.5 million. But the question is, was it worth it? I’d try to answer that question, but I’ve spent the last 10 hours buying domain names in a state of extreme sexual arousal, so I’m finding it hard to focus.
  • Singer M.I.A., dressed as an Egyptian cheerleader, gave the camera the middle finger and shouted an expletive during her halftime performance with Madonna. Which leads to a question for the math experts: When you lose your dignity twice, do the acts negate themselves and restore the original dignity? Or are you just an attention-seeking asshole?
  • Roger Goodell said on a radio appearance that he may consider eliminating the Pro Bowl as a result of the lackluster play in the NFL’s all-star game. “Or I might eliminate the Super Bowl so people have to pay attention to the Pro Bowl,” he continued, his voice rising. “Or I might call the Super Bowl the Pro Bowl and vice versa so we can blur the brand a little and trick people into watching. Or maybe we’ll hold the Super Bowl at a different point in the season. But when I say the Super Bowl, I mean the Pro Bowl, which will be called the Super Bowl at that point. Does anyone have any napkins? I’m clammy as a trout over here.”
  • LeBron James put up 30 points and nine boards as the Heat held off the Raptors 95-89. But according to top paleontologists, it would be literally impossible for LeBron James or anyone else on the Heat to hold off an actual adult raptor. Then again, the dinosaurs are extinct. So who are the real winners here? Probably the squirrels, now that I think of it. Crap.
  • The no. 5 Duke Blue Devils went 0-6 from the line in overtime, and fell to unranked Miami 78-74 at home. It’s the second time Duke has lost to a Florida opponent in a matter of a few weeks, but that didn’t make it any less confusing when Al Gore called Coach K to offer his condolences.
  • In a clash of top 10 teams, Marcus Denmon scored nine points in the final three minutes to lead no. 4 Missouri past no. 8 Kansas 74-71 in what may be the final game between the teams in Columbia. Man, now I really hope the Mayan apocalypse doesn’t happen. [Clicks link.] Oh, right. Missouri moving to the SEC.
  • Jared Sullinger scored 24 points and grabbed 10 boards as no. 3 Ohio State won in Madison, Wis., for the first time in nine years, beating the no. 20 Badgers 58-52. “You won in Wisconsin, huh?” said Al Gore, in a postgame call to an incredibly confused Sullinger. “I know what that’s like, brother. You into global warming? We could hang.”

Call the whole family in: It’s Revelation Monday! We got lots of great e-mails from last weekend’s Participation Friday, when I asked to hear your coldest breakup stories. I’m happy to report that for the most part, they make you hate men and women equally. Here are the top ten I received over the weekend, and a couple bonuses. I apologize in advance for the length, but I think we all know you can’t have a good breakup story without some details. The top three, in particular, more than justify their length.

Bonus 1: I bet she could have lived without the underwear

Back when I was in college I started dating a girl from home (which was nine hours away from school). I decided I didn’t want to be with her anymore so I just cut off all relations. I didn’t answer phone calls, texts, e-mails, facebook messages, or any of her other attempts to get in touch with me. I still kept in contact with all mutual friends. The real problem was that the last time we had fooled around was in my parents’ car and she left her underwear in there by accident. Because I was not talking to her to break-up with her, I had to go through my parents and some mutual friends to arrange a meeting of the girl and my parents so they could deliver her dirty underwear.
-— Ben in D.C.

Bonus 2: Not really a breakup story, but fantastic nonetheless

The following story is perhaps my closest interaction with a real life serial killer:

This guy I knew was dating a girl for about 4 months when he asked to meet her parents at their house for dinner. While there he excused himself to use the bathroom. After an extended period of time the girlfriend went looking for him. She found him in her parents closet half naked trying on her dad’s clothes. She broke up with him the next day. I asked him why he was doing that and he replied with a total deadpan delivery that he “Just wanted to feel the juice.” I have deliberately avoided any interaction with that guy to this day.
— Seth in Conway, AR

Top Ten

10. Here’s my worst ever break up story. It’s too painful to relate in detail so I’ll break it into bullet points:

She broke up with me:
— at midnight …
— on New Years Eve …
— while on vacation …
— with her parents …
— and we had a 5 hour car ride just the two of us the next day

Good times. Who needs a rich, neurosurgeon girlfriend anyway?
— Blyth from Texas

9. My senior year of high school I visited a nearby junior college that was recruiting me to be the token white guy on the bench for the basketball team. During the game the public announcer stated that I was in the stands, make me feel welcome, etc. I was attending the game with my best friend and two girls from the school came over to talk to us after the announcement. We ended up going out to eat with them after the game in a completely innocent way.

I had been looking to break up with my girlfriend for a while though so my friend and I decided to spread the rumor that I had gone out to eat with some college girls on a recruiting trip and something may or may not have happened. In our small school my girlfriend heard about it quickly, and when confronted I let her have it for not trusting me. After verbally eviscerating her in our high school commons area in front of the majority of the school, I broke up with her because “I can’t be with someone who doesn’t trust me.” Plan pulled off to perfection, because I looked like the victim. Wow I was a real dick.
— Danny

8. I do not know if this is technically a break-up, but it’s close enough. Anyways, I was seeing a girl casually for almost 6 months. I was really into her. I told her I had feelings for her. She said the same about me. So, I told her we should start something more serious. I was comfortable enough with her to say that we could even live together. She doesn’t give me an answer right away, but says she has feelings and all that. So, one Friday night she calls and asks where I am. I was out with friends at a bar. She said that we should meet and talk and that she would come by later. The night continues, a couple hours later she shows up. She walks in. Sees me. Smiles. Says hello. Then turns around and walks over to some guy that she came in with and starts making-out with him in front of me, just to make me watch. B—-.
— Mike D.

7. I paid for two tickets to Burlesque. We sat in the theater and watched Burlesque. She dumped me while sitting in the car after Burlesque. Need I say more?
— Matt, Rhode Island

6. I was dating this girl my senior year of high school who had been in a three year relationship before we started dating. Around Christmas, he came back from college and she wanted to go shopping with him for Christmas stuff to catch up. I thought it was weird, but she had told me she had no feelings for him, so I didn’t say anything. On Christmas day, I went to her grandparents lakehouse to spend the night with her family and do Christmas festivities with them. Gave up my Christmas to do her stuff.

When we came back home the next night (after spending three hours in a car where she could have done this in person) she called me when she got back to her house and told me that she wanted to break up with me because she still liked her ex-boyfriend. The main thing she cited was that she wanted to see the new Ninja Turtles movie with him when it came out because he was such a big fan of them and that I would hold her back from doing such memorable things that she could only do with him. What’s worse is that they never officially got back together and that TMNT movie sucked.
— Sam

5. I started dating a girl just before Thanksgiving. I thought things were going well, and she gave no indication that they weren’t. I had just finished law school and was looking for a job (read: poor) so I was living at home. She was a year or two younger than me and still in college (hey, lot’s of people go to college for 7 years) and was also living at home. Since I was unemployed, we spent a lot of afternoons hanging around my parents house while they were at work. I know, awesome.

We decided that it wouldn’t work to celebrate New Year’s that way, so we found a party to go to and I booked a room at the finest, cheapest Days Inn in town. I know, I know, but I’m a romantic, what can I say. I went shopping for champagne that morning and started getting ready to pick her up for the evening. At about 4:00, half an hour before I was supposed to pick her up, she called and said she “wasn’t sure about tonight.” Despite thinking “what the hell do you mean not sure about tonight,” I tried to take the high road, offered to low key the night or even just meet her New Year’s Day for breakfast. Instead, she meant that she wanted to end it, over the phone, out of the blue, at 4:00 in the afternoon on New Years Eve. I eventually got over being dumped, its the $69 I spent on a room at the Days Inn that I never set foot in that still eats at me.
— Brendan S.

4. While living in Denver, CO I met a nice girl from Oklahoma, let’s call her “Lisa.” We moved to OK together and shared a place, and everything seemed cool. The problem was her mother, and once we settled in here, Lisa began to exhibit odd behavior which I will not go into, but which I suspect was directly related to Lisa’s sudden proximity to her mom.

I needed to get out, but we worked at the same place (albeit on different floors). I opened a PO box and started having my mail forwarded there, and surreptitiously began searching for an apartment. Once I found one, I played sick one morning. Lisa went off to work, and I immediately sprang into action. Our place was about ten miles from my new place, and it took five or six car loads and most of the day to move all my shit to my new apartment. I then went back to our place and waited.

Lisa walked in the door and immediately went to the fridge to get a Mt. Dew. As she came around the kitchen counter, she noticed that the bar stools were missing and asked me about it. That’s when I told her I was leaving. Her full, ice-cold Mt. Dew can landed against the side of my head, spraying the kitchen with soda. Much yelling and swearing ensued, but I was able to escape with no bodily injury aside from sticky hair and a bump on the side of my head.
— Steve in Tulsa

3. I was dating a girl for six years. She was putting herself through school and didn’t have a very supportive family (read as: selfish deadbeat stoners), so my family and I provided her with a lot of essentials (food, toiletries, a car, etc). I had finished my graduate degree and she still had one year left in hers. We had started to discuss a little more permanence in our relationship, so I had taken on an extra job in order to sock away money for a rock.

She had the opportunity to go on a very beneficial study/internship abroad trip in Spain during the summer for eight weeks, and I encouraged her to take it. She did, but 4 days after she got there she started to have anxiety attacks about missing home/me/fatty American foods/etc. She got so upset that she literally boarded a plane to come home. Knowing the plane stopped in England, I myself plopped down the cash and took a flight to the same airport and intercepted her, knowing she would regret not seeing this opportunity through.

I calmed her down and sent her back to Spain, on my dime, and went home. Seven and half weeks later, she gets home just in time to walk in to a birthday party my family planned for me to inform me that she slept with someone else on the trip and end our relationship. Worst part: It was an English dude she met on the plane I put her on to go back to Spain. That was two and a half years ago, and I still hate women roughly 85% of the time.
— Ryan L.

2. My junior year I was dating a way-outta-my-league senior. She invited me to go to prom with her. A rain out from the previous night forced us to make up a state quarterfinal baseball game two hours away, on the morning of the prom. I was starting pitcher that game, and my game day ritual included turning my phone off during pregame.

It was a pitcher’s duel for the ages. Leading 2-1 going into the bottom of the last inning, coach pulled me to “save me for the semi finals”. Our closer walked a batter, hit another, and thew a meatball that was crushed for a walkoff.

Crushed and devastated, I realized that I wouldn’t be home in time to change for prom. I had my tux rushed to school and changed in the locker room. I drove to the dance as quickly as possible. When I got there I saw my girlfriend and she looked puzzled to see me. Turns out, she had broke up with me over the phone (voicemail) that morning and brought a different dude as her date.

Being somewhat of a prankster myself, I assumed this was just a cruel joke. So I pretended to start a fight with the new guy. He proceeded to push me down. I fell and stained the borrowed tuxedo, which I had to pay extra to have cleaned.

Worst. Breakup. Ever.
— Sal from Baltimore.

1. The first day of my junior year of college I met this sweet blonde freshman, and while our relationship was strictly no-strings hooking up for a year, by my senior year I smartened up and we started to date for a year. I went away to law school after and we had some typical problems but we dated on-and-off throughout, and during the “off,” we didn’t date anyone else and still hooked up so it was one of those ridiculous non-breakup-breakups.

Anyways, my final year of law school I realize I gotta nail this girl down, so I take out an unnecessarily large loan for bar prep and spend a few thousand on a ring and ask — and receive — her father’s blessing. It should be said that my friends eviscerated this decision and thought it was a terrible idea. She found out I met with her dad and basically beat out of me my intentions. She was thrilled and suddenly we were planning a wedding, where it would be, who would be invited, etc. (For the sake of tradition it was determined between us I would “officially” propose in person but that we would begin planning and consider ourselves engaged.) It should be said that while our schools and hometowns were close, she had by this point moved to Florida for a job and I was finishing law school in Pennsylvania, five years after we met.

Since I hadn’t seen her in a few months I skipped a week of vital bar prep to fly down and visit her and things were perfect. A month and a half later she came up to my hometown and my grad party, complete with my family and friends who by this point were expecting a wedding the next summer. I even made a cheesy video of photos and videos from my college and law school years with a special section for her (to “Augustana” — yes I’m a tool), in front of my family and all their friends.

A couple months pass and suddenly her plan to move up to Buffalo seems to be wavering, but the “I love you”s are still there. I go to my friends house to watch the Bills and Titans and sometime during the first half I get a long facebook message, saying that she needed a break, needed time and space and was feeling constricted. Note that at the moment she lived 1,000 miles away and we hadn’t seen each other in three months. Naturally I’m panicked and perplexed, I want to talk, to work this out but she keeps deferring, saying it’s not best for us to speak on the phone, while at the same time swearing there wasn’t another guy, emphatically enough where she would get mad at me for even asking if there was another guy.

Weeks go by and the harder I try, the less progress I’m making. She still won’t talk on the phone, she tells me to cancel my trip down to Florida for Thanksgiving because she “already made plans with friends.” The desperation and arguing comes to a head when I sell the engagement ring back (for 1/6 of the price) and take three of my friends to a Sabres game, drink myself stupid and end up crying in the snow on my parents steps. (Oh, I found out six days before that facebook message that I had failed the New York Bar Exam.)

Anyways, sometime in mid-December I see her facebook status: “putting up our first Christmas tree.” She lived alone as far as I knew. Turned out she left me for a guy in her office, a decade older than her with eight years on me. She had always mentioned him as a friend but simply said he was “way too old” for her. Naturally I never should have trusted her. Basically these are the facts:

• Engaged
• Ended over facebook
• For another guy
• Never spoke over the phone at any point during/after
• Never saw her after my grad party

Postscript: Two months later I was driving back from my college homecoming weekend (a miserable time), when I experienced chest tightness. I went to the hospital and after tests they said that me, a 25 year old regular sized guy, was having a heart attack. It was fucking Valentine’s Day (not making this shit up, my undergrad’s alumni weekend ended on 2/14/10). Terrified, I said “fuck it” and sent my ex an apology (for what I have no idea), and my love, telling her I was having a heart attack and heading to the hospital. I was in the cardiac unit for three days and never received a response.
— Matthew R.

Previous Participation Fridays:

Best/Worst Excuses
Heckling stories
Weird laws
Animal facts

Filed Under: About Last Weekend, Duke, Eli Manning, Kansas, Lebron James, Madonna, Miami, Miami Heat, Missouri, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Ohio State, Roger Goodell, Super Bowl, Wisconsin

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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere