Retro Relapse: Le Mans: The Greatest Race in the World

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Since 1923, one race has stood above all others as the greatest race in the world: The 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It has now gone on for over 90 years and is inching towards that century mark. It is the most important event in motorsports history. It pits the best car manufacturers in the world, head-to-head, to see who is the best between them. It is a dangerous game of impossible odds, cutthroat competition and bragging rights yet it still exudes more class than any other sporting event in the history of the world.

The only thing that even comes close to the 24 Hours of Le Mans is Formula 1. However, Formula 1 doesn’t race for 24 hours straight, through the elements and into the dark of night on poorly lit and often times wet roads. I can’t think of a sport or a single event with such a level of danger, risk and reward. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a showcase of the immortals behind the wheel. Only the best can hack it and only the best of the best can cross the finish line.

I could spend all day pumping this thing up because it is the most amazing thing that I get to witness year in and year out. This race is great for all the reasons I stated above but it doesn’t seem to click with American audiences. I guess watching ugly billboards go round and round in a circle for four hours is more exciting than seeing Ferraris, Porches, Aston Martins, BMWs, Audis, Mercedes and other beautiful cars weaving in and out of other luxury cars, s-curves and sharp turns for 24 hours. Sorry America, I have to side with the rest of the world on this one.

Additionally, Le Mans brings out the prototypes. The best manufacturers and engineers in the world use all their resources and knowledge to create the absolute best machine they can build in order to compete against one another. For more than a decade, Audi has dominated the sport because they have made cars that make supercars looks like ’82 Datsuns. In the past, manufacturers like Porsche and Ferrari dominated the sport. I’d rather see these majestic beasts of the road zipping by than some Chevrolet eyesore trying to sell me penis pills and Pop Tarts. If you don’t feel the same way, you need to really look at yourself in the mirror. To succeed in Le Mans, you have to be able to do a lot more than turn left at high speeds and talk with a twang.

This weekend, the 24 Hours of Le Mans returns. I will be glued to my television set for 24 hours, actually more than that due to all the pre-race and post-race coverage. Yes, I know that Audi will most assuredly win once again but that’s not the point. I didn’t stop watching Formula 1 when Michael Schumacher won five seasons in a row.

The point is, this is a sport for men. The most dangerous and life-threatening sport in the world. It gives us the best drivers in the best machines on the best race track ever created. It gives one more excitement and awe than some Mike’s Hard Lemonade 900 or whatever the next NASCAR race is called.

Steve McQueen, one of the greatest manly men to ever live, made a racing movie about one event, it was the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Hell, the film itself was simply called Le Mans.

Any argument one could have against Le Mans being the most badass sporting event of the year is completely and utterly invalid.

NASCAR can keep Tom Cruise.

Retro Relapse: The Fitness of the Modern Man

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

You go to the gym, you lift, you spin, you even hit a speedy blue ball with a racket. Sometimes you run, sometimes you swim and sometimes you stair climb. You eat celery and tuna and only drink water and protein powder mixed with water. You tore your half-shirt last week when flexing in front of the mirror for a Vine. All that is great and fantastic but compared to the men of ancient times, you’re a pussy.

Don’t worry, it’s cool, I know that in this regard, I’m a pussy too – it is what it is.

The fact of the matter is, no matter how many crunches you do or how many power squats you scream through, some ancient Mongol savage could probably conquer a dozen of us in about 30 seconds. We’d be nothing but easy-to-kill food for all the old school warriors of every badass race in history. And no matter how hard we work to improve ourselves, we’d never be more than a sandwich or a nuisance to those people. Their world is gone but if they still existed and hadn’t evolved into us, they’d pillage the shit out of us in no time.

You see, it doesn’t matter how strong you are or how fit you are, you’re still doing it all wrong. And that’s okay because as society has evolved, we don’t need to be rabid beasts roaming the desolate wilderness for a minute form of anything considered sustenance. We no longer have to hunt and gather and thus, life is pretty fucking easy.

Apart from that, we no longer have to find ourselves in constant battle with neighboring tribes who want our land, our food, our water and our women. We don’t have to be on edge constantly because we have a society that is organized and for the most part, civil. We have air conditioning, hot water, television, movies, the Internet, fast food on every corner, a Starbucks wedged between every corner and a multitude of vices we can use to distract ourselves from a world that is nowhere near as tough as it used to be. Shit’s simple.

Looking at the Aztecs, Vikings, Mongols, Apaches, Spartans, Medieval knights, musketeers, Roman gladiators, Ming Dynasty warriors, Rajputs, old school Persians, Comanches, Centurions, Zandas, Maoris, Samurai and Ninjas we’re just fucked. Even Neanderthals would probably just grab us and crush our heads between their palms like the Hulk trying to squash a grape. And the truth is, these guys didn’t work out. They didn’t need to. Their whole existence was a workout. Us modern men, if we’re on top of things, schedule an hour (maybe two) to go to the gym and maximize our time in that short of a window.

The thing though, is that modern men aren’t training for the oncoming wrath of another warrior tribe, they are training to look good above all else. It’s a fashion show and a lifting competition; it’s no longer about survival. Apart from athletes who work out and train for performance or badass motherfuckers like the Green Beret, Navy SEALs or Delta Force, fitness has become a dick wagging contest. Sure, some people do it for health. In fact, most people claim it’s for health. Reality dictates something different than the rhetoric though when you see swollen dudes screaming at each other pressing bars with hundreds of pounds on them all in an effort to impress and outshine their fellow dude brahs.

I’m not saying that this is wrong or trying to paint it as silly or pointless. Truth is, I want to bench press school buses and have the physique of Dwayne Johnson. I think ultimately, most guys would want that (and many women too). I’m just not going to kid myself and pretend that I’m some Herculean barbarian that could eat an entire village for brunch and make a stew out of their weakling souls. As hard as any of us work, unless we are living in a cave whittling battle axes with our teeth and walking 30 miles per day over mountains and through swamps to find 4 oz. of protein, we’ll never be what we were.

But that’s okay, as a society, we’ve earned our much easier lifestyle. We’ve evolved to not have to be the barbarians of old. However, those old habits are still ingrained in our DNA. At a primal level, we probably are still fighting for survival despite the theatrics. Additionally, we’re still competitive because that’s what we are.

Keep working out, stay healthy, eat good but maybe cut out the effeminate low calorie beers because Mic Ultra would just piss off the brutes of old.

In the end, live a long and prosperous life because we deserve it. It was the old warrior and barbarian ways that led to our success and the luxury of not having to remain warriors and barbarians. Let’s just hope that a magical rift in time doesn’t appear because then we’d just be the meat in a Viking omelette.

Retro Relapse: The Legend of Dr. Chek

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

*Taken from my personal journal.

There is a legend that must be chronicled in order to keep it going for generations. A legend that I had never heard about until I experienced it firsthand while camping recently at Fisheating Creek in Palmdale, FL. The legend I am speaking of here in this journal, is the Legend of Dr. Chek.

Now before one might jump the gun, don’t simply assume that I am talking about the generic brand of Dr. Pepper soda pop that Winn-Dixie distributes through their chain stores. Oh no! This Dr. Chek is a raccoon! A brave warrior raccoon with an uncanny and bizarre handicap.

You see, while camping late at night, my fellow campers and I left a cast iron pot full of chicken and potatoes near the bushes by our camp in an effort to lure some small woodland creatures out of the brush for a little bit of casual observation. As the hours passed and I had to chase off some feral cat a half dozen times, I was alerted to the presence of something alive and unusual in the scrub palmettos approaching the cast iron pot.

A peculiar sound emanated from the palm brush. It sounded like “tink… tink…” -pause- “tink… tink…” -pause- “tink…” The sound kept repeated like some strange Morse code getting nearer and nearer! At first I thought that maybe some backwoods redneck was playing a joke on us, but no!

Out of the bushes crawled two raccoons. The first seemed very confident and brave and dove his tiny raccoon paws into the cast iron pot honorably and heroically. I named him Colonel G.W. Bertram Garrett. Behind the good Colonel however was the answer to the odd mystery behind that “tink… tink…” sound for there stood a raccoon with a rather bewildering and unbelievable feature.

As I was a bit taken aback by this interesting discovery, I had to stare harder to make sure that my 20/20 eyes were not deceiving me. But they weren’t; there was a raccoon with a soda can for a front right leg! Somehow it must have gotten stuck and he was never able to get the damned thing off! Hence the name, Dr. Chek.

Now one would think that this can could cut into Dr. Chek’s flesh and sever an artery and that is very much possible. However, when startled by our observation of him once or twice, he darted into the bushes like he wasn’t hindered by the abnormal handicap at all. In fact, he seemed to be just fine in his condition even though he could only eat and scrap with one paw, he couldn’t climb trees and lost the art of stealth with his ominous “tink… tink…” The truth is, he didn’t even seem to care and he didn’t let it get him down. Pretty impressive, as I’ve seen bear-sized men get taken out by springtime pollen. This raccoon was a goddamned warrior!

Maybe somehow that old soda can will combine with Dr. Chek’s DNA and when he plants his seed in a lady ‘coon, it will birth a new species of aluminum raccoons. It would only be a matter of time before they conquered the Earth! It’d be like Planet of the Apes but with metal raccoons – Planet of the Tin ‘Coons! Except they probably wouldn’t try to kill mankind, they’d just make us work on farms created for us to generate human trash for the tin ‘coons to eat. Damn, we all might be royally screwed!

I probably should have thought of this sooner, like when I was camping, and thus murdered Dr. Chek while he was in my sight. If mankind falls to these creatures, I am to blame. I should do something to make it right, if it isn’t already too late.

I apologize Dr. Chek, for I must not stop the hunt until your little half ‘coon, half cyborg soda can body is quivering and bleeding at the end of my bodacious cutlass!

Or… I could just leave him be, as a warrior of Dr. Chek’s caliber should be worshiped and admired like a just and righteous god.

Retro Relapse: An Economics Lesson for Anti-Capitalist Strippers

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2011.

It is no secret to those who know me, I love spending quality time and a good chunk of change at the strip club. Those chicks fucking love me, especially after Christmas bonus time! Well, they act like they love me, which I am totally fine with because while they are acting like they are into me, I am acting like I am into them when all I really want is to grab a few titties, slap a few butt-cheeks and have my cock attacked by gyrating asses. A girl that really knows how to utilize her knees during a lap dance really gets my wallet’s respect (hint, hint to you strippers reading this).

In the past, I have been engaged to a few strippers because on more than one occasion, a night of drunken debauchery, capitalized on by yours truly ballin’ outta control, has led to genuine feelings shared amongst myself and a few of these ladies. I’m not talking feelings grown out of monetary exchange, I am talking about two people connecting and finding some common ground and understanding. Granted these situations never panned out, as most strippers are flakes in the real world and I am hard to please and easily irritated but it doesn’t mean that I don’t wish them well. In fact, I have tried to help many understand how they could make a shit ton of cash but usually my economic lectures are interrupted by another stripper walking up to steal me away from the one I’m talking to or by some generic crunk song forcing the stripper on my lap to act like a trained monkey dancing for treats.

I have given this lesson to many but only a few have listened. However those who have listened have made a fuckload of bank! See, I have a very simple plan, one that could provide strippers with the riches they so desire and often times try to get by latching on like parasitic lampreys whenever they discover a guy who seemingly has a bottomless bank account. Fuck those guys, your plan of seductively siphoning off their riches never works out to your benefit, at least not long-term. Rich dudes are completely fucking unreliable. The only person you can rely on is yourself. Only when you break through and shatter your anti-capitalistic mentality and look at your “assets” as a real business, will you be able to transform your lackadaisical and often times inebriated work ethic into a lucrative and promising career. Wouldn’t you like to be a millionaire before the strip club owner pushes you out on your 30th birthday? Well, this is a lesson on how to do just that.

In the area that I live, strippers work for bargain prices, so my neck of the woods actually provides me with a good example. If you make more for your services than the girls do in my area, adjust your math accordingly.

In my town, strippers typically charge twenty dollars per lap dance. I have been to places where the prices are as high as forty to fifty bucks a lap dance. I refuse to pay that. Not because I am cheap but because I don’t find the exchange of that amount of money to be equal to the service provided. Maybe I am just spoiled in my neck of the woods with our twenty dollar lap dances but hey, why pay fifty for one when in most towns you can get a b.j. for less? Hell, I know a girl that gives $10 handjobs. Not that I would want a cheap b.j. or handjob, I’m just trying to put the cost of competing services into perspective. Now back to my point.

A lap dance is twenty dollars ($20). That twenty-dollar lap dance usually lasts about three-to-four minutes. Let’s round up to four (4) minutes to have the numbers nice and round. So if a stripper performs five (5) consecutive lap dances that amounts to one hundred dollars ($100).. cha-ching! That’s one hundred bucks made in twenty (20) minutes, as 4 (minutes) times 5 (lap dances) is equal to twenty (minutes). Since twenty minutes is a third of an hour, multiply these numbers by three (3). The total money made in twenty minutes is $100, so the total money made in one hour would be $300! If a stripper works non-stop, she can make $300 per hour! Fuck getting that psychology degree you are all supposedly working so hard for at the community college!

And real estate licenses? Shit, the best real estate per square foot is any lap you’re grinding on.

Granted, a stripper can’t work non-stop. I mean, they do have to go on stage every hour or so for at least two songs. They also have to go to the back to freshen up and either get a swig of water or vodka. God forbid they dehydrate. So for reality’s sake, let’s say that she can squeeze in at least a half hour of real work, she is still averaging $150 an hour! Keep in kind, that this is a stripper at a $20 per dance rate. If you charge $40 per dance, you’re back up to $300 per hour! If you’re a $50 per dance stripper, you’re averaging $375 per hour! Those rare dancers in the really high-end clubs that can get $60 per dance from the high rollers will average $450 per hour! I wish I were a chick so I could hustle these horny motherfuckers and bank some serious cheese.

The craziest part is that strippers don’t just work for an hour, well technically they are at the club for more than an hour if they show up on time and don’t get sent home early. If they keep hustling during those hours, this hard earned cash will multiply with ease. If a stripper can maintain this pace, she’ll be rich in no time. Now, I know that there are peak times and low times during the day but if you have the looks and the tools, you should be able to get the attention of every dude that walks through that front door. Run that club and be the “go to” chick. It ain’t a hard thing to achieve, you just have to not look like ass and you have to make an effort to please and be pleasant and classy at the same time. No dude wants to continually throw money away on a hood rat. Stop acting like a dickhead, ladies, and get your shit together. Moving on!

If a chick works, say an 8-hour shift, and maintains her money making pace, she’ll walk away with $1,200 that day! Sounds crazy but strippers I’ve coached in the basics of economics have pulled this off. Sure, there are days where this won’t happen but one girl I talk to told me that she can pull this off about three times a week, when she works five to six shifts. If you can hustle like her, you can get paid! Am I sounding like an infomercial for a bullshit product yet? Really though, I ain’t selling anything, all this knowledge is free! Well, maybe you can hook me up with a few lap dances next time we meet, as a courtesy of course.

So my girl that was able to hit the $1,200 mark was also able to average this three times a week. That comes out to $3,600 a fucking week! That ass is expensive! Think about that number for a minute. You could pay for your titties in one week!

Now most of us are aware that there are 52 weeks in a year. If you multiply $3,600 (per week) by 52 (all the weeks in a year) you could hit $187,200 in a single year! This is before taxes and shit but who really claims all of their “tips”? Also, this is before you have to pay your dues to the club owner and DJ and whoever else, depending upon your establishments set up.. but damn! $187k a year is over 18 times more than the poverty level!

In five years, at this pace, you could earn $936,000! That is just shy of a million dollars! If you push even a little harder, you could be a millionaire in five years. Fuck that club owner, you could buy his ass out and run that shit the way it should be run. Hell, that might actually be a bad idea because you may just want to focus on shaking that ass because that ass is one hell of a bread-earner.

In ten years, you could earn about 1.9 million dollars! So if you started stripping at 18, by the age of 28 you could have nearly 2 million dollars. Do you know what you could do with that much money? This is considering you didn’t blow it on drugs, asshole parasite boyfriends or Hello Kitty sandwich makers. The truth is, your ass can make you rich.

So why are strippers usually broke and always whining to you about it? Quite simply, they have the shittiest work ethic I have ever seen. Some of them are there to please but half the time they are socializing with you, it is a waste. They are either trying to get you to buy them appletinis or Chinese food. Often times, the customer has to ask them for a dance, as they are too busy gossiping with regulars who are just there to drink. Otherwise, they are just bumming cigarettes while rolling their eyes whenever another stripper (who is hustling) walks by with a customer in hand. If you don’t get off of your fucking asses and try to sell your products and services, the competition will crush you and the opportunities and most importantly the money will continue to pass you by. The knowledge I have shared here is literally a million times more valuable than any dollar bill I have shoved in your black light reactive panties.

Do you want to be a winner or do you want to debate with yourself if you should quit and go back to Hot Topic because you feel that you were better off there at $7.25 an hour? At least the assistant manager from Spencer’s thought you were cute enough to buy you a smoothie everyday. Fuck all of that, it would take about 3 hours of shitty menial work at Hot Topic just to equal the $20 you could make in 4 minutes at the strip club. Do the fucking math.

You have also got to stop with the negativity and bullshit excuses. I’ve heard it all before. If you know that you are good at what you do, why the fuck are you working in a club that barely gets any customers? I’ve heard the day shift excuse too. You’re only on day shift for one of three reasons. The first, you are getting old. The second, you are a newbie. The third, you aren’t pulling your weight. If you were the top attraction, you’d be working the prime schedule. Even then, if you get the prime shifts and the customers just aren’t there to make it lucrative for you, go work at another club. Hell, move to a bigger town and get a job there. If you are better than most, you will make more than them. If this is what you do for a living, make it your fucking passion. If it isn’t, get out and go do something else. Take pride in what you do or don’t do it. PERIOD! If you take pride and have the work ethic to hustle, you will do what you have to do to make it big. Free market ass is where it’s at!

I’ve given you the keys to success here. All you’ve got to do is work it and work it well! If you’re on drugs, stop using them at the office. If you spend more time drinking with desensitized regulars than looking for the steady flow of new paying clients, stop it and switch your game up. If you’re spending more time gossiping with the other girls or whining to customers about your prick boyfriend, you will never succeed at the level you could. All it takes is effort; the problem is that most strippers seemingly don’t have any. Instead of taking that as an insult, any stripper with half a brain should look at that fact as an advantage. Your competition is easy pickins. So pick away, hustle and count that paper.

You’re fucking welcome.

Talking Pulp Update (9/3/2019): Danger Avoided; Minor Posting

Well, we dodged a bullet with the hurricane but I have it from reliable sources that there is the potential for 47 more threats on their way.

Anyway, I’ll go back to regular posting this weekend.

In the meantime, I’ll probably post some Vids I Dig and Comic Reviews this week, as I have a ton in my queue waiting to be posted anyway.

Talking Pulp Update (9/2/2019): Taking Labor Day Week Off

There’s a lot going on in my life and I need to catch up on things. Well, I’ve been catching up on things but it cuts into my time trying to watch, read, play and review things for this site.

I should be back the following week.

If I’m not or life throws more curveballs, I’ll let you know.

But I may take some significant time off in the future, as I want to do some traveling and need a break from my adult working life due to burn out and professional frustration.

This also means I might soon be a free agent because I doubt my employer will be okay with a sabbatical.

And I guess that the time this is scheduled to post, I’ll also be getting hit by a hurricane. So that’s fun.

Retro Relapse: My Experience at the 2015 NHL Draft

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

The last few days were spent in Sunrise, Florida. It is only about an hour and twenty minutes away from my house and it is also a place I lived and went to middle school in for two years. My return there wasn’t to reminisce or to track down old friends, I went to where the Florida Panthers play, at the BB&T Center, as that is where this year’s NHL Draft was held.

My Chicago Blackhawks didn’t even have a first round pick but I didn’t care. It wasn’t even about that really. The NHL Draft was this close to my house and I wanted to go for the experience of seeing a professional sports draft, to banter with other fans, to gloat about another Blackhawks championship and to just kick back and hold on to the hockey season for an extra week.

What I got was more than I could ask for.

When I showed up at around 1:30 on Friday afternoon, it had just rained. The FanFest wasn’t yet up and running due to the weather but they got it up pretty fast. There was more for kids than adults but it was still a pretty cool setup. There were games and challenges and other things to occupy your time while waiting for the doors of the arena to open.

The best feature of the FanFest was the giant Coors Light igloo in the middle. I detest that beer but I assumed it would be cold inside. It was. It also had beer that wasn’t Coors Light. Granted, they didn’t have any craft beer because the Galactic Empire doesn’t sell merchandise from the Rebel Alliance but that $14.00 Molson was pretty refreshing in that cold igloo, as the Florida summer weather outside was stifling and awful.

The doors to the Florida Panthers team store opened and I made my way in for what was going to be an autograph signing featuring current Calder Trophy holder Aaron Ekblad, as well as Panthers’ great Bill Lindsay.

While waiting in the autograph line for over an hour, most of the fans crammed in around me were very nice and congratulatory about the Blackhawks and their third Stanley Cup in six years. My jersey was getting the opposite reaction to the one that I expected. It was cool though, because ultimately everyone was just there to have fun. The season is over, no bloodshed was necessary.

I hooked up with a few Edmonton Oilers fans who had flown in to South Florida just to be there when potential future legend Connor McDavid was drafted to their team with the first overall pick. These guys were cheery, happy and ready to party hard. They were also hardcore Canadian hockey fans that Floridians like me never get to spend much time with. Well, at least hardcore Canadian hockey fans closer to my age. Florida gets a lot of those old snowbirds but talking to them is like talking to a room full of Don Cherrys

The line moved forward, I met Bill Lindsay, who was nice and also very complimentary of the Blackhawks. I got his autograph and then moved on to rookie of the year Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad signed a 2015 NHL Draft puck that I bought in the store, shook my hand, posed for a picture, thanked me for being there and gave my Blackhawks the thumbs up as well. He was also sitting with his Calder Trophy, which he was awarded with just two days prior. It was beautiful to see up close.

I then went back outside to wait for the arena doors to open. I spent time with more Oilers fans, some Maple Leafs fans, a small army of Canadiens – who entertained me with a long diatribe about why no other teams beside the Original Six teams will always find themselves at the top of the food chain. I finally got the negative reaction to my Blackhawks jersey that I expected earlier, and of course it was from Boston Bruins fans. Weirdly, even Philadelphia Flyers fans were cool with my presence. They complimented Toews and Kane, I complimented Giroux and talked to them about how I did artwork for Flyers’ legend Bernie Parent.

I hooked up with another group of Edmonton Oilers fans and was astounded by the fact that so many of them traveled so far to be at the NHL Draft. This was the group I hung out with for the rest of the Draft.

We made our way in, we drank craft beer at the Miami Brewing Co. bar. We got pretty inebriated, spent too much on concessions, bought a bunch of crap in the stores and toured the facility. But then I got wind that the Stanley Cup was in the building. A few of the Oilers guys and I hightailed it to section 129 to see the Cup.

We got there, we got close to the front of the line. We waited for some time before Phil Pritchard showed up with his crew, carting in a very large crate. We all knew what was inside. Phil, officially known as “The Keeper of the Cup” put on his patented white gloves to the cheers of hundreds, if not thousands, who were now in line. He reached into the case and lifted out the Stanley Cup.

Being that I am a Blackhawks fan, I felt all Blackhawks fans should’ve got first dibs. We are the champions, mind you. However, the line went in order but it was only about five minutes before I got to stand next to (and lightly touch) the Stanley Cup. I posed for pictures, stared in awe and almost got emotional standing next to the most prized trophy in all of sports. There truly is nothing like the Stanley Cup and to be next to it, just a week after the Chicago Blackhawks lifted it in glory for the third time in six years, was pretty astounding. Seeing my own reflection staring back at me over the names of Blackhawks players and all the other greats who won the Cup was one of the greatest moments of my life. I felt like Samwise Gamgee after the One Ring went into the fires of Mount Doom, knowing that I had been a true companion on the greatest quest ever taken.

My inebriated Edmonton pals and I then made our way to our seats.

The NHL Draft kicked off and it wasn’t much time before the Edmonton Oilers selected Connor McDavid as the number one pick. It was to be expected, as McDavid has been compared to Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby. It is also interesting as McDavid is starting his career in the same place that Gretzky did. Furthermore, the Oilers’ greatest success came with Gretzky as their star and there hasn’t been a whole lot of success since. To many Edmonton fans, including the crew I found myself a part of that night, they see Connor McDavid as a savior. Whether that is true or not, remains to be seen but it will be an interesting story to watch over the upcoming years.

A few of these tough-as-nails Edmonton guys had a tear in their eye. I can’t blame them. Fuck, they love their sport, their team and they really need this. I hope they get back to the glory that has long eluded them.

Also, as expected, the Buffalo Sabres selected Jack Eichel at number two. He would’ve been the first pick in any other NHL Draft. The fact that he was number two, says a lot about McDavid and regardless, this is an amazing draft class that I got to witness, live and in person.

The third pick, Dylan Strome went to the Arizona Coyotes. He’s another kid that probably has nothing but greatness ahead of him.

Pick after pick kept coming. Every time, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman came to the podium he was booed harshly, but that is the norm for him. Most people do it because it has become the fashionable thing to do. By around pick twenty, when the booing had mostly subsided, there was this old knucklehead who kept screaming obscenities at him. I asked him why he hated Bettman so much.

He says, “Don’t you fucking watch hockey?”
I said, “Yes.”
“And you have to ask a stupid fucking question like that?”
“I’m just curious as to what specific thing he did that pushed you into hating him.”
“All of it!”
“Well, like what? Like what are the three worst things he’s done in your opinion?”
“What? Are you defending that douchebag?”
“No. I don’t like him all that much either. But you’re really heated, man.”
“Yeah, he sucks!”
“Why?”
“Look at him!”
“So you don’t like how he looks?”
“Look fella, why are you up my fucking ass about this?!”
“Never mind, I just thought you could elaborate.”
“Fuck off! I’m watching the fucking Draft!”

The Florida Panthers picked 11th. After their pick, the arena pretty much cleared out. That’s Florida sports fans for you. Well, the Tampa Bay fans stayed and were still in abundance. They were still waiting for their pick but they stuck around through the entire first round and even came back the next day. So I guess the Lightning fan base is sort of the antithesis to the typical Florida sports fan. Good for them, even though my team just beat them in the Stanley Cup Finals, I respect them and their team. They have a very bright future.

After the first round, I found out that my Edmonton pals were staying at the same hotel as me. One of their girlfriends, who wasn’t drinking much, actually offered to drive me back to the hotel in my car, so I wouldn’t be inconvenienced. We all met up after the first round and partied around the hotel. We then went back to my room, as I was upgraded to a suite due to overbooking, and we partied like rabid sons of bitches.

We all rolled out of bed at 7 a.m. and returned to the BB&T Center for rounds two through seven.

There were a lot less fans on the second day. A lot less press too. These rounds went by super fast and after a few hours, the NHL Draft was over. The day was less eventful than the first but that is probably because we were all hungover and exhausted. I drank a ton of caffeine that morning.

I hugged my Edmonton friends, we parted ways and I hope I get to see them again at a later date. Hopefully during an Oilers-Blackhawks playoff game. Or maybe I’ll make it all the way up to Edmonton one day.

I then got in my car and drove the hour and twenty minutes home. After walking through my front door, I crashed.

It was a great, fun weekend. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Now I have to count down the days of the off season. Hockey can’t get here soon enough.