Saturday night alone, in Vegas. I’m there for a football coaching clinic. I’m staying at the Super 8, in the wasteland of the never ending strip, halfway between new Vegas of Venetian canals- and old Vegas of neon cowboys and Fremont street. I’m nowhere. Cobwebs.
Fuck it. I’m in Vegas. I dress up in my grey suit and pink/green striped tie and head out. Figure i’ll cab it to some big club at the Cosmopolitain. Right outside my not quite finished motel, I start looking down the boulevard for a cab. I spy the bar next door- which I thought was a condemned strip club. Peeling green paint, no sign. Tentatively I peer in, maybe I can have a quik beer there…
I step inside. Yep, this is locals only, I can smell it. Not a gondola in sight. Red banquettes, low ceilings, one square of bar.
But then I look around and open my ears. Swing music, Sam Cooke, hipsters in straw fedoras and the girls with curled up-dos. Dancing that is actual dancing. Lindy-hop, charleston, east coast swing. Polka dot dresses, striped thin ties. Heels and hose with lines down the back. Jesus did I land in my fantasy?
I dance with her and her. There’s “no thanks I don’t dance” but just one and and it seems there are short brunettes every where I look each cuter than the last. Then there’s a tall blonde. We dance. She stands off a bit with her drink, looking at the dance floor. Sorta nice ironic smile. She’s not gabbing with anyone. She’s way younger than me, but has a few years on most of the collegiate hipsters swirling around. “Amber, come on over, sit at my VIP table.” She comes over, we talk. Get another drink, dance. Then she asks what i’m doing in Vegas. What do I say? It doesn’t make much sense. What the hell am I doing in Vegas. I’m a Drama teacher for gods sake- football coaching , who am I kidding? Maybe I’ll just say i’m in finance. But like they say- always tell the truth, it’s the easiest thing to remember.
She looks at me stone cold. “Are you serious?”
“Sure” I say.
“I studied acting in college and I love football. In a month i’m trying out for the LFL, womens football league.”
“Yes,” she goes on, “I’ve just really gotten into it in the last couple of years.”
I’m stunned. Am I being punked? Candid camera? Every guy’s wet dream -someone who looks like a cross between Jennifer Anniston and a young Ellen Barkin confessing a love of football?
Needless to say, two more rounds of drinks, she’s from Denver, we kvell about Tim Tebow with no irony or restraint. She’s worried about her tryouts, doesn’t have much football experience. Neither do I , say, but i’m learning a ton of stuff in all these sessions at the convention. She’s fascinated with every geeky detail I spew about DB backpeddaling drills, Zone defense and O line blocking drills. There’s a pause, or two. She’s doesn’t know the stuff.
“Do you want me to teach you some things?” She just smiles, like a kid.
“Follow me.” I say.
In the blaring lights of the Viva Las Vegas wedding chappel, on the blacktop driveway, we spend half an hour around midnite running drills. Her short black skirt doesn’t make her pause for a second before getting in a three point stance. It hikes way up. She’s fine with it, brushes aside any awkwardness and wants to get on with it. Guys ride by in limos and taxies swerving at this confusing site. I teach her to backpedal and cut, block with her elbows glued to her side- she eats it all up, and spoiler alert, no I didn’t get the girl but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
It’s now 1am..”You wanna go get something to eat? ” I say.
She says no, has to head home. I invite her to the next morning’s conference, the last session before I head out. She says maybe.
The next morning, groggy at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with all my clothes in a backpack, there she is. And in a sea of giant football guys, there’s a small wiry jew with a tall blond knockout, looking over that mornings workshops. Giant guys very, very confused, strange looks. I say to her,”okay coach, lets go in.”
Lingerie Football League, yep, but don’t knock it. Those girls are beasts, and if crazy perfect nights like this one can happen, Amber I think you have a chance.
Yea I know, but man it’s good to dance to. Remember, the Aruba, Friday nights, South Las Vegas Blvd, right next to Viva Las Vegas. Indeed.
-not zamboni, jordan