Saturday, July 14, 2018

WM 2018--Goodbyes and Championship Pick

Dearest Friends,

WM 2018The sentimental address is upon us. Your friendly bookie confesses that each year’s missive contains many iterations that, however eloquently stated, emphasize an elementary theme. Namely, we keep this book as a means of providing a cheerful and amusing distraction for ourselves as we pass through the “Sad Veil of Tears” known as life. 

Those possessing mental wiring amenable to nebulous spiritual distortions have little difficulty imbuing life with meaning and purpose. For them the schlep can be easily structured into a sententious journey strewn with salient lessons. Hermit writers like myself and Syndicate Member 88-M find adjusting our thinking in such a proscribed way an arduous and defeating task. Hence, we reach out to one another and occupy ourselves with tasks such as a long letter to his budding-writer son:

Since I’ve broached the concept of “spiritual distortions”, it seems an apt topic to use as this year’s theme. The season of “Friends and Football” touches many of us in what may be described as a spiritual way. Your chronicler generally rejects such concepts as confused temporal nonsense, but the Great Global Unity Festival does make him reconsider. When it comes down to it all things spiritual are but illusions with varying degrees of sophistication. Various Eastern Religions and Buddhist Sects label the whole world and life itself as an illusory dream from which we will one day awaken. Sounds nice, but your friendly bookie has come to the conclusion that such philosophies are very likely every bit the crock of shit as the Abrahamic God; maybe even more so.

Life remains all that is that truly real, and it’s nothing resembling easy. We all know this. A tournament such as this one provides us with a much needed break. The World Cup affords us all we require to feel connected with all our fellows that this schlep through life with us. The passion. The power. The pressure. Colorful flags, songs, and chants. Unforgettable historic moments of celebratory joy and humility associated with being but a very small part of it all.

Then there’s the tears and the pain on the faces of the players and fans who fall short of the goal.

The configuration of the tournament itself mirrors the raw, real, and cruel nature of life itself. Dreams can die in a random instant, irrespective of how much hard work and preparation one has put in. Pushing oneself to the absolute limit of physical and mental exertion most often isn’t enough. Neither the game of football nor the game of life remains under any obligation to reward your efforts. The vast majority of what we do goes unsung and unnoticed. Random bounces, breaks, circumstances, and luck determine who will be crowned and remembered and who will be lost and forgotten.

Each year the most active Syndicate Members are invariably those who find themselves in something of a personal or professional rut. As always, this Sportsbook remains dedicated to them above all others It’s a pleasure and privilege to spend more of my time reconnecting with such members as I know firsthand how sad and lonely such despairing times can be. Your friendly (and highly empathetic bookie) is all too familiar with the crushing and suffocating pain of rejection and expulsion. Throughout our lives we exert tremendous energy towards the aim of belonging to one house or another. Times when we find ourselves exhausted, depleted, and in between houses are the most trying.

Nothing hurts more than learning that the cold reality that one once again finds oneself unwelcome, unwanted, and shunned from a house one worked so hard to call home. Fighting the “Good Fight” consumes a large portion of one’s mental capacity, and there’s little comfort to be derived from the fact that life has few rewards for even the most persistent “Warriors of the Light”. Each successive time we get cut alone and adrift leaves us feeling fearful, abandoned, and directionless.   

I love you, brothers. You are not alone. You’ll always be welcome in this house.

And…’ll never watch alone ; )     

Some would promise you that a true Warrior of the Light (“Krieger des Lichts” for Germans and Silbermond fans) can never truly fail. You friendly bookie makes no such promises. Failure happens all the time. The reason for fighting on lies not in the outcome, but the fight itself. We also have no choice. The clock ticks down on our ephemeral existence no matter how we feel about it. Life remains meaningless unless we imbue it with meaning. It also comes to a terminus that completely erases all that we were forever.

To my knowledge there’s no known antidote to life’s many heartbreaking doldrums, other than to keep moving and remain occupied at all costs. As easily as one can think oneself into a depressive funk, it remains impossible to think oneself out of it. Action is necessary even if it’s that of a clumsily painful sort. Think of a German guy attempting to dance. It a’int exactly pretty, but at least he’s trying.

An arc we began traversing back in the Group Preview Section again passes the latus rectum: Dance. Dance through life as best you can. That’s all you can do, even if—like most Germans—you really can’t.

There’s no option but to keep trying to dance until it’s our time to “Dance with the Macabre”.
 Image result for macabre medieval art plays fiddle

Yes….I’m a goddamned German…and learning how to dance is a lifelong effort ;)

Time for “Peace with the Metric System”, gentlemen.

“Peace with the Metric System”

“I don’t know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives. All comes down to today. Either we heal as a team, or we’re going to crumble. 2.54 centimeters by 2.54 centimeters…set piece by set piece….til we’re finished. We’re in hell right now gentlemen. Believe me. And…….we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or………..we can fight our way back…….into the light…….we can climb our way out of hell. 2.54 Centimeters at a time.

Now I can’t do it for you. I’m too old. I look around, I see all of these young faces and think……..I mean……..I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I…ah…. pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you…. I mean that’s…that’s…...that’s part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of 2.54 centimeters. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small…..I mean…one half a step too late or too early, you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast, you don’t quite kick it. The centimeters we need are everywhere around us! They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for those 2.54 centimeters. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for those 2.54 centimeters. We claw with our fingernails for those 2.54 centimeters! Because, we know when we add up all those centimeters, that’s gonna make the FUCKIN difference between winnin and losin!!!!!!!! Between living and dying!!!

I’ll tell you this: In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willin to die, who’s gonna win that 2.54 centimeters. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for those 2.54 centimeters!!! Because….that’s what livin is!!! The 15.24 centimeters in front of your face!!

Now I can’t make you do it! You’ve gotta look at the guy next to you. LOOK INTO HIS EYES!! Now I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go those 2.54 centimeters with you. I think you’re gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows, when it comes down to it, you’re gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen. And, either we heal, NOW, as a team……..or we will die…as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now………..WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?!?!?!?!”

Supreme Champion of the Football Universe—

France vs. Croatia

 Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svg vs. Civil Ensign of Croatia.svg

Been back and forth on this one several times. The Blazers can absolutely pull it off if they play pound-for-pound in the midfield and frustrate Pogba immediately. As I’ve said repeatedly in the Dailies, Deschamps would do well to feign some sort of injury for Giroud. No one falling for this “He draws coverage” farce anymore. I’m still confounded by the fact that the Belgians let them get away with this canard. Don’t double mark him! He’s slow and too heavy on the ball! Swarm Pogba instead!

We’ve seen so much inconsistency from Les Bleaus over the course of the tournament, but I somehow think they’ll get it right this time. It won’t be easy, but their superior creative talent will break through eventually. The Croatian “Old Dogs” are magnificent workhorses. They won’t prove easy for Kante, Hernandez, and Pogba to deal with initially. At a certain point, however, I don't believe that they’ll have enough ideas left to generate forward impetus. The lateral strategy that they used to torch the English late on also won’t work against a more traditional formation featuring younger and better rested players.

Ze French have too much talent to contain. I’ll aver that players like Griezman and Pogba have been saving their best moves for this match. They know full well how to better pace and prepare themselves after misallocating and ultimately frittering away the European crown on home soil.

I know I picked the wrong team to win the Euros two Summers ago, but we’ll go with them here.

We’ll even recycle the instructions.


Mes Ames. You better be prepared to celebrate!



A second star will look very nice above that rooster. Vive la Republic!


THE PICK: France +1 Goal

Enjoy living your life. Enjoy it for its own sake. Dance to the music. Appreciate the painting. Delve deeper into that novel. Make laughter and love as often as you can. Live lionhearted or don’t bother living at all

We’ll meet again. The Syndicate will return. For the time being……

“Go kick a ball with a stranger”

Seriously…go kick a ball with a stranger.

--S.S. P.J.W.  

WM 2018--Day Twenty-Four Recap

Your “Syndicate Hangover” is proudly presented by “Heineken 0.0”

Image result for Heineken 0.0 logo small 
All of the calories and none of the intoxication!

This dog don’t bite ; )

Day 24: Recap

Spread: 25-39
Straight up: 35-22-6

Hot Girl Standings

Games Played
5 (finished)
5 (finished)
7 (finished)
5 (finished)
4 (finished)
4 (finished)
7 (finished)
4 (finished)
4 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
4 (finished)
4 (finished)
4 (finished)
4 (finished)
South Korea
3 (finished)
5 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
Costa Rica
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
Saudi Arabia
3 (finished)

Only two remain. It all comes down to this. A great final awaits us all. Our time together draws to a close. Time to crown a new champion.

 Image result for world cup 2018

Congrats to those who cashed in on the over/under today. Sympathies to those who couldn’t resist taking Mother England for the maudlin money. Wasn’t quite the shootout I predicted, and that’s a damn shame considering England missed out on the chance to mettle and Lukaku totally blew his chance at the Golden Boot. Oh well. Tomorrow will make up for it.

“Riffs of the Day”—Day Twenty-Three

 Related image

Reader: Kane just isn’t quality today.

Vicey: …or for most of the days in the tournament. Still only one true quality goal from the almost certain Golden Boot Winner.

Reader: These teams need to wake up!

Vicey: Sigh. The Germans would have known how to appreciate a Third Place Playoff. Remember how hard they ran in 2006 and 2010? Yes...those wounds haven’t healed yet.

Reader: Did Arsenal overpay for Sokratis?

Vicey: It’s too early for transfer talk, 56-M! We’ve got the whole rest of the Summer for that. Nevertheless, the answer is yes. You poor Gunners fans are in for several long seasons at the Emirates. Unai Emery has just depleted your coffers with horrible moves.

Your friendly bookie plans on introducing all of you impatient and unappreciative bastards—scattered throughout the Syndicate—to each other for a “Misery Conference Call”. I’ll get this done before the next major tournament. This will be the highlight of my year. You’ll be pining for Arsene by Halloween. Torreira in the midfield? Bernd Leno in the Premiership? Oh dear lord.  

Reader: You should re-write the website for AFC 2019.

Vicey: Thanks for the endorsement, 43-M. I’ll put in a call to the Sheiks. Be sure to come visit me in Dubai!

Reader: $40 on Raheem Sterling scoring for England before 2020.

Vicey: Hmmmm….okay. Wager Accepted. Good luck, 8-M.


Just a few minutes and I’ll have the pick for you. It’s our “Last Day Alive”.

 Image result for last day alive chainsmokers


Love this song being used by the American Broadcasters throughout the knockouts. We have our official “Song of the Tournament”. Beautiful stuff.