“Do you want to make a little wager on the Super Bowl?” my 17-year old daughter asked me Friday night.
We were out of town at a track and field camp, enjoying some quality father-daughter time.
She knew the answer before she even posed the question, but I played it off like I was mulling it over while under the table I checked my Chase Mobile App to see how much she had in her High School Checking account.
“Do you even have money to bet?” I asked. My daughter isn’t the only one who asks questions when she already knows the answer.
Caitlin Byrd proceeded to tell me about her babysitting gig on Tuesday night. Three hours. $30.
For the love of Burrow, she was willing to go all in on the Bengals.
Had it ended there, everything would have been just fine, but sometimes I have a problem with TMI. Too much information.
First, I felt the need to give my daughter a little Byrd Family Betting History 101.
“You know what my grandfather would tell Papaw?” I asked. “Never bet a man on his own proposition.”
Of course, I don’t know why Frank Carl Byrd, or “Doc” as he was known to friends and family, was giving betting advice.
As far as I know, he is the only member of the family who has ever been to the Kentucky Derby.
He watched Johnstown win the 1939 Derby with some friends and brought a winning ticket back to Shreveport because he didn’t know you could cash a “show” bet if the horse finished first or second.
Who am I to point fingers?
As a senior at Byrd High School, I would leave for off-campus PE for track and field. I would get in my workout — after making a pit stop at Louisiana Downs and playing the ponies.
At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, getting carded was the least of my worries.
On one trip, I ran into my father, who was more impressed, I think, with my boldness than upset with the life choices.
A horse I had bet on came across the line and won his race. I found my dad and gave him a high five and told him I had picked the winning horse. My dad did not share in my excitement.
I knew something wrong when he hung his head and started laughing.
“Son,” he said. “The jockey has to be on the horse for you to win.”
Back to my daughter…
“Do you know what a line is?” I asked her.
Of course she didn’t.
I proceeded to explain that the Cincinnati Bengals were underdogs and that they were getting four points.
“You mean the Rams can win by three points and I still win my bet?,” she asked.
“Let’s do that.”
Why not? Right? The Rams were going to blow out Cincinnati.
At my age, I should know when to keep my mouth shut. Like father, like daughter.
As the family watched the fourth quarter, my wife asked Caitlin why she was so invested in the game. She spilled the tea on our wager, and I wondered what part of “don’t tell mom” she had misunderstood.
I tried to watch the game, hoping that the Bengals would score on their final drive, send the game to overtime, and the Rams would win by a touchdown in OT.
But there was a special warmth from across the room, where my wife’s eyes were burning a hole with a look which would have melted lesser men.
Now, it’s mid-afternoon February 14, and I’m hoping to turn on some Byrd charm to improve my prospects so we will be able to enjoy a nice Valentine’s dinner.
But, don’t bet on it.