Monday, July 5, 2010
Wow I thought to myself, how could one be so brave as i placed a €10 note in front of the bookmaker. "The last of the big spenders" she snarled. Bitch! i thought to myself but i wasn't going to let her get to me. For a moment as I stood at the counter i felt like Maximus in the Gladiator. A mans man, in betting office surrounded by other MEN in track suits and runners almost the uniform of the experienced gambler. Then i felt like an imposter with my shirt and pants until i realised valid currency is the only uniform that's recognised and that binds us all together.
The odds came to 27/1 and I was happy with that knowing a clean sweep would return €280. We arrived at the beautiful Farnham Estate and had a relaxing swim in the fantastic hydrotherapy area. It really is a top class resort and the staff are very friendly. It's an ideal retreat for couples who want to get away from it all for a while and participate in an activity that doesn't revolve around alcohol like many other Irish social activities do and have always done.
There is something for everyone at Farnham Estate. There is an 18 hole golf course, woodland walks or cycles, bicycles can be rented out at the hotel. Clay pigeon shooting and you can obviously enjoy a treatment at the spa and take some free classes to boot. I would strongly recommend the Relaxation Class which is incredible. The whole spa thing is quite selfish in some way as it is all about ones self - but baring in mind the way we live our lives nowadays, it is nice to have some "me time" as they saying goes.
After dinner on Friday, I watched Uruguay dispose of Ghana in somewhat controversial circumstances. It went to penalties and the South Americans won the day. I felt sorry for the Africans for a split second until it dawned on me that my €10 accumalator was riding on all ties and this was one of them. Uruguay to beat Ghana - Check. (Or so i thought)
After breakfast on Saturday morning i began to think about the big bet i had placed. One muck-up and i was gone. Deborah went to the gym and i went for 9-holes of golf. I am on a bit of a golf buzz at the moment but it's not as much fun playing alone especially when there are two people in front of you who think they are playing in the British Open - they took so much time with their shots which left me more time to dwell on whether it was a good idea to back the young Germans against the clever Argentinians and would Sligo have the belief to finish the job on their home patch.
Anyway, Germany comprehensively beat Agrentina and i was still on course. Sligo and Galway were also locked in combat and it really went to the wire. As a Galway man with a Sligo father, it was hard not to shout for Sligo as they really deserved to win in the first match and will always be underdogs against Galway. It looked as though Galway had done enough until Sligo burst to the fore in the last few minutes. It was extremely exciting and had it not of been for the extra strong fruity herbal tea we were drinking, i'm not sure i would've been able for the pressure. Fair play to the Yeats county men for proving they are now a team to be reckoned with not only in Connacht but in the All-Ireland series as well.
We went to the relaxation class after the matches and it was a great way to unwind after all the excitment. After a lovely dinner in the Botanica restaurant, it was time to watch Spain v Paraguay. Spain who had colonised Paraguay back in 1537 when Juan de Salazar de Espinosa arrived in Ascunsión and must have said "yeah, i like this place" and settled there. They were now taking on the country who are often called Corazón de América or The Heart of America.
The history between the two countries would suggest a dramatic match and it lived up to that suggestion. Paraguay were awarded a penalty to put them ahead in second half but failed to capitalise, Spain went up the field and were themselves awarded a penalty almost directly from the subsequent action. Xabi Alonso converted the kick but had to retake - his second attempt was saved. The game was poised and my bet was left hanging in the balance. Then in a flash David Villa had the ball in the Paraguay net and they were through to the semi-final of the world cup for the first time in the history of Spanish football.
So there i was, 6 out of 6. Uruguay, Germany, Spain, Sligo, Tipperary, Serena Williams all winners. Kerry to beat Limerick and happy days. I text my brother in law John to tell him of my good news and in one reply he ruined it all. "You had Uruguay? The bet means in 90 mins - sorry bud". Nooooooo. Only a novice gambler could be so naieve, so innocent, so stupid. I got it so right but so wrong in the breath.
However as we all know, the bookies never lose. Watch out fellow inexperienced gamblers, don't be fellow lambs to the slaughter.