I accept 99% of you

This summer has been an all-out bonanza of wedding activity for yours truly. I only attended two actual weddings this season – but inasmuch as both weddings were of close friends, there was a constant chatter amongst our posse leading up to both events; e.g. talk of the planning, the anticipation, which people were left off the guest list and dragged under the friendship bus, etc. What’s more, my own sister’s wedding is coming up in a few weeks, so that will be yet another big deal.

After my sister’s marriage, the focus within my family will be on me, so the logic goes, because I am the next-oldest cousin and, logically, the next one to marry. The truth is I don’t plan to get married for a while, that is unless I hear back from South African beauty Charlize Theron about my written proposal – seriously, how long does it take to respond to a letter ( I’ve sent 15)? I don’t understand what the hold up could be. I used a classy serif-based font, and went as far as to spray each missive with a mist from the extract of a dozen Giant Proteas, South Africa’s national flower. But still no answer. Some say my persistence is creepy, but I know better. People said the same thing about a too-short young basketball player who grew up in North Carolina, and couldn’t make his high school basketball team. That young man’s name was Michael Jordan.

The last wedding I attended did not disappoint. It was a joyous occasion and, while the father of the bride was Greek, there were, sadly, no flying plates or champagne flutes – though it was pretty amusing how we, the non-Greeks, kept looking at each other for cues as to whether a particular moment was the right time to huck our empty glasses at the wall. That moment never came, but luckily the father of the bride would prove more entertaining than any airborne, high-velocity flatware: the FOB was fabulously drunk, but not the quiet drunk, slouched over in the corner. No, sir. He actually peaked early, delivering a toast to the bride and groom, where he repeated himself at least a dozen times – asked for a LOT of grandchildren (translation: I look forward to you bedding my daughter, sir) and confessed, clearly only half-jokingly, that the groom was not yet, and I quote, “100% welcomed into the family.” I say well done, honesty is important in any family relationship.

He finished strongly by groping a good half of the women at the party – his preferred move was the old “let-me-take-a-picture-with-you-lovely-ladies-so-I-can-grab-your-asses” trick. Hey, the guy paid for the wedding, so at least he got his money’s worth. I think the rule should be that if you’re paying for a wedding, then you can say – and repeat ad nauseum – whatever you want in your speech. If you’re paying for a wedding and it’s open bar, then say what you want, and then grope away.

The Triple Crown

Watching the US open tennis last week, I was listening to the commentators discuss the near-unfathomable difficulty involved in a player winning all three major tennis championships in one year, and how special such an achievement would be.

It made me think of how the sports world is rife with such milestones. Whether it’s horse racing’s Triple Crown, the tennis Grand Slam, the football perfect season, or perhaps the terrifyingly daunting hot dog challenge of the competitive eating circuit  – the greatness of the achiever goes down in the annals of history, and rightfully so.

But when I witness an athlete achieving such a milestone, my immediate reaction is, “I have nothing in common with this individual,” and “I will never be as good at anything as (insert athlete’s name) is at (insert relevant sport).” I am merely good at a few things, and I will never be a true champion at one thing. I like a good hot dog now and then, maybe i’ll even have 2 in one sitting, but I am not Takeru Kobayashi. I admit this is a pathetic outlook to have, but it’s just how i feel.

Well, that’s at least how I felt before last week. Last week I was in Scotland with three friends. Between extra innings of haggis and English breakfasts, the four of us managed to drink our way through a raucous wedding reception, leaving us pretty haggard the morning after, but it was at that point that we all decided to “dig deep”, “push it to the max”, and if you’ll indulge me in one last sports metaphor, “give 110%” of our collective efforts to our newly adopted cause. And the cause? To be gloriously intoxicated – and then sober – in 3 separate Scottish cities within a 24 hour period.

We succeeded. In Aberdeen, in the wee hours of the morning, as our friend’s wedding celebration winded down,  we were all still blotto. We sobered up on the train. We made it to Glasgow, caught a footie match, and in the process, got sauced. Then we sobered up on the train once again. Finally, we made it to Edinburgh, where we became comfortably blitzed. All good things happen in 3′s. No big deal.

But where was our trophy? Where were the accolades; the fanfare? There were none. But that was fine by us because, like all great athletes, we didn’t do it for the glory – we did it for the love of the game. Chew on that, A-rod.