Shrimp boats float in by the hundreds to the Gulf of Mexico along the shores of New Orleans. They arrive from Bayou La Batra, Alabama where Bubba Blue and Forrest Gump spearheaded a 12-day shrimp hunting expedition. Welcome to Sports Gras Day 2.
At the dock, Forrest and Bubba haul a crate crammed with shrimp over to Bourbon Street where Sports Gras, a two-day extravaganza, hits an attendance number of 3.17 million — more than tripling the number of people who went to Woodstock in 1969.
You’re witnessing a tailgate tent city bash before tonight’s NFL playoff game pitting Tom Brady against Drew Brees who, combined, own the all-time NFL passing records for yardage and touchdown passes.
Gump drops the crate at the tent grill where George Foreman Senior, a former heavyweight boxing champion, runs the food preparation logistics.
While his five sons, the Foreman Five, breakdance for the crowd, George Senior drops dozens of 50-pound live turtles into boiling water to make turtle soup, a popular New Orleans dish. He also fries dozens of crawfish that smell like rotten seaweed inside a skunk’s colon.
“Gotta get over to the game to do warm-ups,” says Forrest after guzzling five 16-ounce bottles of Dr. Pepper. He then runs off in his Crimson Tide Alabama red and white uniform sporting number 44. An All American in college, Gump will be Brady’s ball carrier tonight and won’t stop running if he gets the ball which may be disruptive.
Tents drape the entire city and beyond. Tipsy and loose-lipped, New Orleans is a city under the influence of Sports Gras. There are so many shrimp boats that it’s impossible to see the Gulf of Mexico.
The street parade is somewhat similar to the one held every day at noon in Disney World. Except this one is non-stop, miles longer, more eclectic, and unruly.
Hey, there’s Ricky Bobby in his ratty white underwear and no shirt running around in circles, a madman.
Slickly groomed Harry Connick, Jr., a New Orleans native, and famous musician finds a song that fits the moment: “The Way You Look Tonight.”
Lying belly up, Charles Barkley lies on his back, a round mound of stomach, surrounded by doctors as he takes on a scrotox procedure because Stephen A. recommended he do so after enjoying one on Day 1 of Sports Gras.
“That feels turrible,” he says. “This injection isn’t worth it just so my balls don’t sweat. If my balls sweat that’s somebody else’s problem. I ain’t no role model. Scrotoxes are turrible.”
Without paying, Sir Charles bolts from the tent and waddles back to his tent where he gives golf swing lessons to passersby. For those who can’t stay for the lesson, he sells videos of his golf swing instructions for $59.99 + shipping and handling.
Cheech and Chong find their soulmates at the marijuana tent: Ricky Williams and Michael Phelps. Chilling in the Buccaneers’ pirate ship, which barely fits inside the tent space they rented, the three-some take turns demonstrating to onlookers the proper way to roll a joint.
“Hey Phelps, man,” says Cheech. “You like bong hits don’t you, man? Were you high when you won those 22 Olympic Gold Medals?”
Phelps says “yeah I was but don’t tell Sportface. He’ll blog about it.”
With unrelenting persistence, the parade of people continues marching down the street as if it’s the Tournament of Roses Parade but less wholesome and organized.
There’s Luca’s Mom escorted by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who waves to the crowd and nods his head, and holds up a sign that reads “This is why I went to Duke.”
Here come the two quarterbacks for tonight’s game, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Gingerly the two men in full football gear make their way down the street using nursing home walkers. Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick walk next to Brady — also stabilized by walkers.
“We know you’re old, Tommy, but we need you to save the Patriots from fading into irrelevance,” says Kraft. “I’m getting old, too, and I need one more Super Bowl before I retire in Palm Beach to live at Rosie’s Rubdowns.”
“Tampa is terrific and I’m terrific,” says Brady. “Beaches are beautiful. And there’s no Belichick. Just babes.”
“Come on, Tom, can’t you get over me?” says Belichick. “OK, I’ll admit it, I let you go because I was jealous of your fame. You got on the cover of all the magazines and I wanted that to be me. So I was bitter and envious and still am. But I need you to win so I need you back.”
“You called me Johnny Foxboro too many times, Belch. Get off my parade.”
Gronk’s the next star to come down the street. Wearing black coaching shorts from the 1980s, no shirt, and flip flops, he’s tossing Manscape razors to all the men in the crowd.
“Get your lawns mowed,” yells Gronk. “Everybody, right now.”
A few blocks away over at the Superdome, 262 18-wheeler trucks from across America litter the parking lot. In the back seat of the Wienermobile, Sammy Sportface interviews Truck, the guy who rallied all U.S. truckers to the event, about why they all decided to attend Sports Gras.
Sometime next week, the sports blogger plans to file a full-blown feature story on Truck’s life with a sidebar about the history of 18-wheelers.
Other media giants saunter around the parking lot hunting for Sports Gras scoops. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, the NBC announcers for tonight’s game, stumble into one that seems promising.
“This just in: Brett Favre is going to burst an 18-wheeler up a ramp and fly the truck over the Superdome and land cleanly on the other side,” says Michaels. “While in the air he’s going to pass the football to Antonio Brown who will be in his psychedelic air balloon above the Superdome.
“No one has attempted anything this daring since Evil Knievel got inside a rocket and shot himself across the Snake River Canyon. I tell you what, if Favre pulls this off I’m gonna have to pull out my famous line: “Do you believe in miracles?”
Michaels hands the microphone over to John Madden, another media giant.
“I mean, how can anyone but Brett Favre even think of doing something like this, I mean, boom, it could only be Brett Favre?” asks John Madden. “He’s gonna fly up in the air in the 18 wheeler, toss a football to Antonio Brown in an air balloon, and then, boom, land the truck on the other side of the Superdome.”
Favre slides into his Wrangler Jeans. Danica Patrick straps a Tommie Copper band around his torso as Aaron Rogers watches with envy. He steps up into Truck’s 18 wheeler and puts on his Green Bay Packers football helmet.
“I can’t believe he’s really gonna do this,” says Collinsworth. “When I came to Sports Gras I thought it was all hype. But this event is delivering the goods. I mean, Ricky Bobby running around in his underwear, Forrest Gump wearing #44 for the game tonight, I have to say I’ve never been to an event like this.
“I wonder what happens if Favre crashes. That would put Sports Gras in the NFL Hall of Fame. They’d make a bust of Sammy Sportface but it would blow because we’d all have to listen to his rambling and annoying acceptance speech.”
In the parking lot, between rows of 18-wheelers and next to Favre’s truck, a band on a meteoric rise called the Fez builds the mood of anticipation for the truck stunt by playing “For What It’s Worth.”
To be continued…
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