Remember last week when I wrote about how my annual trip to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Tournament is the highlight of my year and the weeks leading up to it are filled with giddy anticipation of the delightful frivolity to come?
Well fuck that. That version of me is dead. I am now in post-Vegas recovery mode and I hate everything.
Las Vegas should not exist. It is a monument to humanity’s arrogance and an affront to God. Nobody should go there.
Anyway, let’s review the fun:
We arrived, as is customary, Wednesday night. Thanks to some enormous construction industry conference, the entire city was booked up months in advance. You could get rooms on the strip, but not for less than three times the normal Wednesday price. So we opted for the opulent luxury of one night at Main Street Station in Downtown Las Vegas before moving to Mandalay Bay for the remaining nights.
I’m not here to shit on the Main Street Station. In fact, it had an entirely suitable late night brewery/restaurant with $2 Jager shots, which, in hindsight, did not set a good precedent for the weekend to come.
Note the time of that tweet. Rule 1: don’t give a bunch of idiots Jager after midnight.
That place also had a bunch of banners from their beers winning awards at the Great American Beer Festival 20 years ago. Very on-brand for a city with a school still desperately clutching to its own banner from the ’90s, trying to make it relevant. Speaking of…
Don’t ask me what happened the rest of the night, but I won a double-digit amount of money at Pai Gow and naturally let it ride on the roulette table because I am a damaged and broken man.
We awoke the next morning suddenly realizing we needed to find breakfast in Downtown Las Vegas. Let me tell you, Fremont Street on a Friday or Saturday night is a pretty good time. But a Thursday morning, off the beaten path it is as depressing as being inside a CVS anywhere in the world at any time of day.
Eventually broke free of Downtown and arrived at the Mandalay Bay. We got to our room without incident or absolutely any notable story at all.
This was my first time at the Mandalay Bay and I was really impressed. They charge for parking but offer free WiFi in every room and have the nicest pool of any Vegas hotel I’ve ever stayed at. 8/10 would stay again.
The problem is that we now had about 7 hours until our 8:30 PM tip-off. (Oh yeah there is an basketball component to all this I promise.) And that meant beers. So many beers. I legitimately probably drank more that Thursday than any other day in my 28 years on Earth.
Alcohol consumption like that will lead you to things like wearing the same shirt as 20 of your stupidest friends to take back the SDSU Hawai’ian Shirt from the AztecMesa commenters of the world.
We may have embarrassed ourselves to everyone who saw us, but this was a political statement of re-appropriation, dammit!
Also the Aztecs knocked Nick Duncan on his stupid, ample Australian ass and, for the first time in weeks (months?) it was fun to walk around as an Aztec fan. If you’ll allow me a moment of sincerity, I can live with this being the highlight of the season. Our team scrapped and beat a team that has owned us in recent years and gave the fans something to be proud of in a year that didn’t have a ton of those moments.
It was nice. We went to Shake Shack to celebrate. We had burgers. There were some Colorado band kids who smelled really bad. Apparently we made it back home safe without me losing more money. We call that a success.
With an even more outrageously late tip time on Friday night, we had a long day ahead of us which meant proper nourishment to start the day:
Then there were naps. Followed by our traditional trip to the Bellagio Buffet at which my good friend Jeff laid waste to the crab legs station:
Then there was more drinking and before we knew it, it was time for the game.
The previous night I developed a rapport with a particular bartender at the Thomas & Mack Center. The deal was that as long as I tipped him in cash, he would charge me for a double tequila and pineapple, but pour me somewhere between a quadruple and just handing me a bottle.
Well it turns out they put alcohol in tequila now because while the Aztecs fought valiantly as CSU hit roughly 75 contested threes, I got to work calmly stacking chairs up, one at a time, at about three-minute intervals. Don’t ask why I do Tetris shit when I’m drunk. Just accept me for who I am.
This was an industrious achievement that everyone in our section rallied around EXCEPT FOR THESE CHAIR STRUCTURE DISLIKERS:
They were very upset an suddenly our section was treated like a threat to national security:
These guys remained here questioning everyone until the game was over. It is a testament to the pride of Aztec fans that nobody snitched on me. Even as our season ticked away to an unceremonious end against infinitely hate-able Colorado State, the collective strength of a bunch of jackasses in Hawai’ian shirts held strong.
We took the L and escaped into the Vegas night. With a long cab line my group opted to walk to the Hard Rock. We ended up at a Pai Gow table and my next memory is waking up Saturday morning. Teleporting is fun.
We had planned all week to go to Top Golf first thing Saturday morning. I am a man of my word, but let me tell you: I have felt better.
We enjoyed a few more bloody marys and a $50 carafe of mimosas and no it did not improve my status but we had 24 hours to kill and no basketball game to watch so we marched on. A few hours at the pool later it was time to head out for the last night in Vegas.
Believe it or not I was actually winning overall, despite having every single parlay bet die on the first game. But as is customary, it was time to ride the parlay of the late-Saturday West Coast title games of the Pac-12, the WAC and the Big West. They call this traditional bet “Tupac’s Demise.”
Arizona was in control most of the game against Oregon, UC Davis jumped out to an early lead over UC Irvine and the mighty Roadrunners of CSU Bakersfield were routing New Mexico State. I was finally going to hit a sports bet for the first time all weekend.
Unfortunately, CSU Bakersfield is now in the pantheon of the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Indians, Paris Saint-Germain, the Democratic Party and the Atlanta Falcons as all-time great chokers. The ‘Runners blew it and my dream of Vegas profitability withered away like so many crumpled sports book receipts.
A few of my other friends went heavy on UC Irvine and came up just short in standard heartbreaking fashion:
And then there’s Ben. Ben has a unique approach to gambling. And by that, I mean he only does two bets: sports parlays and betting on black at the roulette table.
The week was not kind to Ben as Vegas is unkind to most people and also that is an insane strategy. He became a bit of a punchline between everyone joking about how poorly he was doing. But he had one more Hail Mary in him. How did it go? Well, it went well enough for him to make this when he got home:
That last $100 bet is the college basketball equivalent of coming back from a 25-point deficit to win by double digits, and you still take a “fuck you” three at the buzzer just to gloat. Ben is a transcendentally absurd human being.
So that was that. We took one final trip to Shake Shack on the walk home and called it a weekend.
At the crack of dawn Sunday morning we fled and didn’t speak for the entire drive home.
I’ve now been home for five days. My throat still hasn’t recovered from the dry cigarette air, I have had a constant headache that won’t go away and my body is just generally in WTF mode.
All that being said:
I love you, Vegas. Fuck you, Vegas.