Boating Is a Sure Bet

Unlike some football wagers I've made in the past

Published in the October 2023 Issue June 2024 Feature Brady L. Kay

As I made my way toward the crowded restaurant from the parking lot, I couldn’t help but feel all eyes were on me. Yes, I received a few stares and I noticed a couple of kids pointing in my general direction, but mostly people just had puzzled looks on their faces as I tried to quickly make my way to the table to meet up with my friends for dinner.

As I took my seat, laughter immediately broke out at our table. I was being greeted with some very big grins and it was clearly obvious. It was no longer just a feeling I was having; all eyes in this Mexican restaurant were on me and that was painfully obvious for anyone to see. Oh, did I forget to mention I was wearing an orange life jacket snugly around my neck? And not a comfortable, proper fitting life jacket either. Clearly “one size fits all” is just a marketing myth.

If you’re wondering why I was wearing one of those cheap orange life jackets to dinner I’d say that’s a fair and reasonable question to ask. Let’s just say I was on the wrong end of a football bet and let's just leave it at that.

When I was younger and betting on my team to win, it was all about making wagers with my friends for money. However, I've discovered as I get older the humiliation factor seems to be a more popular route to go than just picking up a dinner tab. It seems the riskier the bet, the greater the humiliation.

Yep, thanks to my friend who is best known in the boating industry as “Goofy,” I struggled to navigate around the bulky life jacket and get tortilla chips to my mouth without spilling queso dip down the front of it. In hindsight it did make for a nice bib so maybe I'm onto something and this could be the start of a trend.

When I originally agreed to the silly wager I liked my chances and felt it was as close to a sure bet as you can get. However, if I wanted better odds of winning I should have bet on something less risky, such as betting on the boating lifestyle.

Owning a pontoon might be perceived as a gamble to some, but based on the years that I have been boating with my own family, I can honestly say with a hundred percent assurance it has paid off like no other bet I’ve ever made. Finding a fun activity that you can all do together as a family and that your teenagers will enjoy is not an easy task. We've stayed close as a family for several different reasons, but the bond over boating is a big part of it. Our kids have grown up on the water and hopefully that means we're raising the next generation of boaters too.   

Plus, another major factor is we seldom go out on the water as just our immediate family. My wife and I enjoy inviting neighbors or having our children invite their friends to join us on our pontoon. It has helped connect us with the friends our kids hang out with as well as made us extremely popular in the summer months with our friends and neighbors.

Back to the results of my poor bet. My friends and I all had a good laugh at dinner that night as I did my best to be a good sport about it. Plus the “experience” lives on as the photos continue to circulate among those in our friendship group who weren’t with us that night. As awkward as it was, it won’t deter me from making another silly bet like this again. But if you’re looking for better odds, bet on boating, and you can take that sound advice all the way to the lake.

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