The game of Risk

robonfield

What I was doing this time last year

SETUP. Last year Appalachian State went to its third straight national championship football game. Even before the semifinal game was finished, the game sold out. Tickets with a face value of $20 sold for well over $100 on ebay. I lucked out getting two as a gift from a great boss.

THE GAMBLE. This season I wanted to avoid last year’s panic. With three weeks still left in the regular season, I bought three championship tickets. One for me. Two for a friend. Within two days the game sold out. I also booked a hotel room.

TOTAL INVESTMENT. Three tickets at $32.50 each. A hotel reservation I could cancel. I put $97.50 on the line.

THE COLLAPSE. ASU lost in the second round to Richmond, thanks in great part to three interceptions by Spider Seth Williams. After the game, my brother calls to let me know Seth is a friend of his from high school. Salt.

STRIKE ONE. Overnight ebay was flooded with tickets. Few bids would come. One four-ticket auction went for 99 cents.

STRIKE TWO. I called to cancel hotel room; was told I had made a non-refundable, non-cancelable reservation. Spent 20 minutes with customer service arguing. And lost. Bank account was docked $69.95.

TOTAL LOSS. $167.45.

HAIL MARY ONE. I put all three tickets individually on ebay. Starting bid $10. Shipping $2.50. One sales. For $10. Other two never do. Shipping *just* covers ebay costs.

HAIL MARY TWO. A co-worker told me Tuesday he’d sold his tickets to a Richmond fan living in Atlanta. I asked if he thought they’d want more. He called them. They said yes. So I call. The buyer is a die hard Georgia Southern fan, but her nephew is the starting quarterback for Richmond. I mention my brother’s relationship with Seth Williams. Turns out, her nephew and Seth are roommates and good friends. She buys my tickets for $25 each. I overnight them to her out of my pocket, $16.95.

TOTAL LOSS NOW. $124.40

LUCKY FUMBLE ONE: Hotel leaves me voicemail Wednesday asking if I’m showing up Friday. I call back Thursday morning, wondering what’s going on. Front desk attendant has no idea. Just says she has a note indicating I was called and asks if I’m coming. I repeat that I’d love to cancel and get a refund, but was told that was impossible. She says she can’t help me. I hang up. Inspired, I email both the hotel and corporate headquarters. I ask why one day I’m told I can’t cancel, tough, deal with it. The next I’m getting asked if I’m going to show up. I ask again for a refund. Wthin 10 minutes hotel responds. There were problems with online booking, they canceled my reservation, all money refunded.

LUCKY FUMBLE TWO. My Atlanta ticket buyer calls me. She says she just got the tickets. She saw how much shipping cost. She’s sending me a check to cover shipping.

TOTAL LOSS NOW. $37.50.

POSTGAME HANDSHAKE. Friend for whom I purchased two of the three tickets agrees to pay two-thirds the loss.

TOTAL LOSS. $12.50.

Not a bad gamble, huh?

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