New Rules of Journalism:
1. Never make bold Facebook predictions.
2. If you do happen to make a bold Facebook prediction, See Rule No. 1.
Yes, I opened my mouth Saturday night and inserted a size 11 1/2 foot which my family, friends and Facebook followers found uproariously amusing. After Notre Dame had crushed hapless Wake Forest, I noted the succession of FB posts about Irish friends rooting for Oregon to fall to Stanford and Kansas State to lose to Baylor. I just didn't see either happening and I said so.
About the time Baylor went up 14-7 in the first quarter, I threw down the gauntlet — No way would Baylor beat K-State, and if they did, I promised to wear a women's wig, a dress and walk from my home in Baugo Township to Jimtown High School … about 2 1/2 miles. I said I'd do it, not thinking for a second I would have to end up doing so.
To make matters worse, I upped the ante later when Stanford and Oregon were tied 7-7. If the Ducks would lose, which I knew they wouldn't at home, I'd make that Sunday walk a complete round trip.
As I flipped back between Fox and ESPN, like most of Irish Nation did Saturday night, I never dreamed of what eventually went down … namely No.1 KSU and No.2 Oregon. The Wildcats were run off the field by Baylor, which by the way, had the No. 120-ranked defense in the country — out of 120. And later, after I saw in bewilderment as an OU overtime field goal doinked off the goal post, I knew I had some paying up to do.
Insert “OMG” and “SMH” here. If you don't know what those letters mean, ask your kid.
Borrowed an old dress of my wife's, which was way too big for her now, borrowed a bright red wig from a dear friend, Sue McGuire-Devol and at 1 o'clock Sunday, I was ready to do some walking. The lipstick and eye-liner was not part of the bargain, but I wore them anyway. Yes, I felt pretty. Black nylons helped, too.
In a long, black, sleeveless dress (a little tight, too) and red-haired wig, I took off … with my wife, two kids and four friends' kids along for the march of shame. They spent most of the first leg singing along to “Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison. Fun-loving little creeps.
An enormous cadre of Facebook friends was waiting for social media documentation of this as was a number of Baugo friends on the route I chose to walk. There were 37 — yes, 37 — neighbors, family, and friends waiting outside my home by 1 p.m., snapping pictures, shaking their heads and laughing their fannies off.
In the first 5 minutes of the walk, before I even left my neighborhood, Spank Parcell drove up and handed me a bouquet of carnations. That purchase from 7-Eleven sent him back a staggering $2.69. Parcell later related on FB that his sweet mother, riding in the passenger seat, said, “Spank, that's the ugliest woman I've ever seen.”
I came across a half-dozen friends in lawn chairs along C.R. 22, about a half-mile from my house. But then my worst fear came true. Gary Devol had Facebooked Dean Huppert, the sports director at Fox 28 in Elkhart and informed him of my little payoff walk. Like Saturday night's games, I figured on a Sunday in November, Fox had plenty to do.
Wrong again. About a mile from home, still on C.R. 22 near Five Points comes a white Fox car. We recorded an interview where I had to re-live my Saturday night prediction debacle and the gal took some video of us walking up and then walking away. The station played a 45-second clip on Sunday's night's 10 p.m. broadcast. Thanks, Deano.
Found another friend/picture-taker a half-mile later at Five Points, where C.R. 22, C.R. 118 and C.R. 1 meet. There I received an energy bar and a strange stare from a woman driver passing by. Kept the parade moving down C.R. 118 an Elkhart County sheriff's officer drove by. I waved at him with my flowers. He gave the traditional law enforcement nod.
Walked past two construction workers who were in the driveway of a home. I kept walking, told them “Paying off a bet.” One guy said, “I figured something like that.” ….. Picked up a couple of liquid refreshments and stopped for pictures twice in Baugo Crossing then hit the high school by 2 p.m. Sheila Pletcher was among the parents in the school's parking lot near the football field. She laughed and tucked a $1 bill in my dress.
Later, more friends, more pictures and more refreshments on the return trip. At one point, a man and a young boy stepped onto their front porch and politely applauded and waved. I have zero clue who they were. Bless them.
By 3:30 p.m. and with blisters the size of silver dollars on each heel, I finished. Huge thanks to Staci, Gina, Mason, Kaylee, Kate, Lilly, Allie, Myah and RyLee for joining me on the adventure. And, of course, to their parents, who spent the afternoon driving through Baugo checking up on me and their children.
Now, Notre Dame is officially No. 1, my blisters have been popped and medicated — I named one of them “Baylor” and the other “Stanford” — and I'm ready to settle in for two weeks of vacation. All that's standing between the beloved Irish and a national championship game is a trip to Southern Cal, which by the way, lost their starting QB, Matt Barkley, to a shoulder injury. Go figure.
Today, I'll kick back and endure the hundreds of Facebook posts from friends. Saturday around 8 p.m., I'll make another bombastic prediction about USC-ND. Then again, probably not.
Read Bill Beck's Side Lines blog online at blog.etruth.com/sidelines.