A Long December

December marks the beginning of the always entertaining CRFC playoff season. December also marks the beginning of the always popular office holiday party season when people that donít really like each other are brought together by the lure of free food and drinks. If you are one of the lucky few, these two December miracles will not collide with one another and you will escape December having played all of your CRFC playoff games and having attended your significant otherís office holiday party.


But it is inevitable that many of you will be faced with making this very difficult choice in the coming weeks. Just ask CRFC legend Greg Poulos, whoís chances at a title were destroyed by his center Craig Duncanís decision to attend his girlfriendís office holiday party instead of the 1st ever CRFC Finals back in December of 2000. GP still canít talk about this without getting a little heated and I donít blame him for it. On the other hand, we all know the pressures of relationships and having to choose between what we really should do and what we really want to do.


When faced with these types of life challenges, nature sometimes provides some answers. Wild animals typically have four choices when faced with a pending fight: avoid, submit, flight, or fight. Here are a few options that may help you appear to do what you really should do (adhering to her needs) while simultaneously doing what you really want to do (playing in the playoff game).


Avoid. Despite what our current administration seems to think, avoiding a fight is the typically the best choice for everyone involved in any situation. But how can you avoid a fight under these tempestuous conditions? Well, initiate some romantic plans with your beloved well before you have to tell her that you cannot make her office holiday party because of a CRFC playoff game. Maybe a weekend at a bed and breakfast in Vermont or a day of beauty at her favorite Newbury Street spa? Heck, maybe even give her an early Christmas gift and say you just couldnít wait to give it to her (the Jewish faith has the clear advantage here). The bottom line is that you will need to have some romance equity already invested in your significant other because you will definitely need to borrow from it when she comes at you with an ice pick after you tell her you are playing in the CRFC game instead of going to her office party. Plus, when she shows up to the office party without you, she will at least have a reason not to hook up with her better looking, smarter and richer co-worker and has a new gift or trip to tell her friends about (never underestimate the power of this). If you havenít already done anything, stop reading this immediately and start investing right now. Just like what they say about your retirement savings, you are probably already way behind.


Flight: Undoubtedly, some of you will not adhere to point #1 either out of shear laziness or, more likely, out of outright fear of your significant other. If you find yourself in the position of not having enough romance equity invested in your spouse in order to choose CRFC over the holiday party, you have the option of simply fleeing. Not literally of course because some of us are in way too deep to hide (although if she does come at you with an ice pick, I recommend it), but figuratively fleeing, by, well, playing dumb to the magnitude of your decision to play. It is the old ìwhat is the big dealî gig that I am sure most of you are well aware of, followed by the old ìif I had known it was such a big deal to you, I would have definitely gone to the office party, but it is too late now b/c my team may have to forfeit if I donít show.î I am not sure if this still works on the older couples, but it may be helpful for all of you young kids out there. And you kids stay in school.


Submit: Throwing yourself on the mercy of the court may the simplest form of getting what you want as it involves very limited pre-planning and no tricky head games. But this cruel trick of nature has the ultimate paradox that in that in order to get what you want, you simply have to do what men were bred never to do ñ beg. While some women seemingly donít have a problem with this tactic, just reading that sentence makes most men wince. But ultimately this Machiavellian ìends justifies the meansî tactic may be your best bet if #1 and #2 are no longer options for you. As George Costanza proved in delaying his wedding to Susan, a little crying never hurt anyone either, but I suggest not admitting this to your teammates if you do try this tactic. They may just get you kicked off the team and then you could find yourself home alone on the couch while your teammates are playing in the playoff game and your wife is drinking with her smarter, richer and better looking co-workers at the holiday party.


The Fight: If you have either ignored or exhausted all of the above, then you will undoubtedly find yourself in a fight. It is important to judge the fightís severity at this point. Some dogs will feign aggression in a fight and will eventually back down once a more dominant dog comes into the picture. You can usually tell these dogs because they are usually not looking at you square in the eye or are walking backwards as they bark at you. If this is the kind of fight you think you are in, then I say continue on with the fight until you are allowed to play in the game. Of course, make nice and follow the fight up with some romance equity after you get to play in the game. But make sure you judge the severity of the fight correctly, because a misjudgment can be devastating as sometimes you get a dog that does not feign anything and looks at you directly in the eyes and lunges at your throat while barking at you. If you do find yourself in a fight like this, then I think the best thing to do is to roll over on your stomach, throw your arms and legs in the air, and make a few high pitched squeaking sounds until the threat passes. CRFC basketball isnít that important, is it?


Good luck and I hope to see you all in the playoffs!

*The views expressed in this column are for entertainment purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or actions of the Wolverine.