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The Hoss Whisperer
As seen through the eyes of Bob Nelson
By Barry Anderson

I have been playing this game they call Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES system since before I can remember. I thought I had figured this game out for everything it had to offer. I never met a foe I didn't believe I could beat. I thought I was a very good player but always wondered how I would stack up against others who play this magnificent game.

My life was turned upside down when I received a simple text message from Neil Roesler, aka The Leonardite. It simply read, "Did you get a package from Joey?" I replied, "No, but I can't wait."

I knew this mystery package had something to do with our upcoming adventure. We had been planning a trip to Madison, Wisconsin to play in a much anticipated Tecmo Tournament. This tournament would finally answer our questions about how good our Tecmo skills really are. When I finally received my package, I opened it up only to find a simple 3 foot cord that would eventually change my life. This cord would give me the ability to play Tecmo online using an old school NES controller. I was so borched! (I had to make up a word, cause no words in the English language could properly describe how I truly felt) I began playing Tecmo online and getting beat on a pretty consistant basis. I started to realize how tough the competition is and how little I really knew about the game that I love so much. The day approached, and I was ready. The Hoss Whisperer was here.

So there we were, standing across the street from Logan's Madtown bar in Madison, Wisconsin. On my right, Joey Browner. On my left, Boomer Esiason. I in the middle, Bob Nelson. With all wearing matching eye black, we walked across and entered into the greatest scene I could have ever imagined. As I opened up the doors I saw two guys standing beside each other with their backs turned to us wearing two of the most recognizable jerseys known to Tecmo, Warren Moon and QB Bills. I knew this day was going to be memorable.

The tube TVs circled around the walls of the bar all lined up so wonderfully. I felt like I was back in 6th grade at the greatest sleepover ever! This tournament literally made my dream come true. At the same time, I was very nervous. I felt like I was back in high school competing in athletics again. Only the greatest thing about this day was that there was liquid courage all around me. This is where Dan came into play.

Dan came and introduced himself to me during Neil's first game in pool play. He asked me if I had a tab at the bar and I told him that I did. He must of seen the sparkle in my eye or maybe it was the fact that he saw me stumble a few times already before 10 am. Either way, he was trying to tell me that he would just be my personal servant for the day and follow me around and always keep my lips moist. I was not aware of this at the time because I was paying more attention to Neil's game at the time where Scott Norwood just picked up a blocked field goal and ran it into the endzone for the go ahead score. While we cheered for Neil and couldn't wait for our turn, Dan returns to our corner with our third or fourth drink of the day. It is still A.M. at this point.

After Neil finishes pool play at an impressive 3-0, Joey and I wait for our turn to flip the commemorative Jeff Hostetler coin. My first match up comes down to the wire. With time winding down, I put myself in position to kick a 67-yard field goal as time expires! It felt so good to get that first win. Dan was right behind me to say, "Congrats ! How about a shot?" At this point he's just calling me by my first name like he's my best friend so shots became more common than LT tackling the holder on extra points.

I lost my second game badly because I couldn't hold onto the ball to save my life. Fumblitis. The most helpless feeling in the entire game. After that mess, I got an easy win to finish my pool play at 2-1. Feeling pretty good about my performance, I sat back and watched the last game in my pool finish up. I slowly started to realize that we had a three-way tie for two spots. I ended up being the odd man out because I didn't run up the score in my third game and I lost out on point differential. Ugh. That was a terrible feeling. "Dan?" I shouted. "We are going to need to turn these beers into Red Bull Vodkas."

I was very disappointed I did not make the tournament. I did play well in my three games and that was my goal going into my first year of the Madison Tournament. I was upset for about 3 minutes. Then, I just ordered doubles. At least that's what Dan's advice was. Such a good caretaker.

Joey and Neil both made the tournament and I was really glad they both made it. Joey won his play-in game easily while I watched Neil get hit on by a female. That's right. There was a female present in the bar. I say female instead of hot chick or pimple-faced ogre because I was in no state to make a judgment call on the attractiveness of anything outside of my custom made Bob Nelson shirt. I hope Neil did some "lurching" of his own at some point of the night, but the jury will always be out on that case.

Everything from here on out gets a little hairy. I have just decided to put the rest of the highlights in bullet format due to lack of time frame and order of events. In no particular order:

-Neil hikes darts to me in a bar
-Joey loses his first round game to Jim Jensen
-Dan continues to pump alcohol down our throats by the pail full
-I ate the most scrumptious meal at Noodles and Company, recommended by Neil
-Neil loses his first round game on a last second jump catch only to lose the thumb war just yards short. I was just glad to see the controller being tossed into the air.
-Frank Maharajh from LA agrees to join the "Legalize the Lurch" protest with us
-Neil dry humps the dart board machine
-Got the bar tab calculated through NASA and turned out quite nice. Thanks Dan!
-I attempt to commentate the championship game via the web, but just come off as that annoying Tecmo bum who always picks the 49ers
-Neil gets into a verbal disagreement with our female cab driver about the social and financial status of the current residences in Madison. Or maybe it was about farming? Maybe a combination of the two. Either way, I won with my Dwight jokes.
-The Mexican mariachi band tries to recruit more members
-Neil takes a nap under a bar table
-I introduce Joey to the game of Cricket in darts. He goes on to dominate it just like everything else he touches. Seriously, 2nd place is just fine sometimes, Joey!!!
-Neil and I decide to play an exhibition game of Tecmo on the live screen to confuse and excite the crowd

I definitely left out some stuff, but this is my best effort to put this glorious weekend down on paper. Overall, the weekend was everything I imagined it would be. I can't wait till next year. I learned a lot and drank even more. I hope all who read this strongly consider participating next year. Whattayagonnado?

-Barry Anderson

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