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Welcome back to the latest edition of STATTS (Stories, Thoughts, and Titties…just kidding, TikToks, but I promise the TikToks are almost as good). Like penicillin shots in a Bourbon Street minute clinic, we’re back for another round, baby! Every week I get to write this column without being cancelled is a little gift from the blogging gods, so if you like what you’re reading, be sure to blow up the boss’s Twitter with average sized penis jokes and crappy stories of your own. This way, he’ll know that the STATTS crew is for real. Not huge yet, but girthy. Efficient, but not gaudy. Not too big to fail, but big enough to make an impact.
Last week, we huddled in the handicapped stall for a tale of mystery, intrigue, and gravitas: the Legend of the Potato Dumper. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, go check it out, and then be prepared to order the vegetable medley tonight with your steak. We even found a nice moral to the story about pushing yourself to your limits in order to achieve greatness, so really, it was inspirational more than comical, which is always nice.
Without planning it, I’ve noticed that every opening monologue thus far has had some kind of moral attached—some serious and some not—so I believe it’s high-time we got down on one knee and made it official. From this day forward, I dub Part One of STATTS “The Morality Clause,” in honor of contracts meant to hold hellraisers to a certain behavioral standard so as not to bring disrepute or scandal to all parties involved. May these contracts be easily broken and loosely enforced—loose like the sphincter of the Potato Dumper himself. Here, here. On to Part One!
PART I – The Morality Clause
“Highballs and Basketballs”
Today’s cautionary tale comes from the very end of my junior year of high school, a time in every young man’s life when good decisions don’t always make it to the page. I was 17 and summer break was just about to begin, which made it a very exciting time, indeed. Scoring booze was about to become my new favorite hobby.
I had been raised in a family where drinking wasn’t shamed, but it certainly wasn’t encouraged. Like gays in the military, there was an air of don’t ask, don’t tell that hung heavy in our house, and I respected that. Needless to say, though, I was curious and ready to push the boundaries.
In Nashville, Tennessee, an annual rite of passage known as the Iroquois Steeplechase rips through high society like a hurricane at the end of spring, and by the time 2005 rolled around, I was ready to see what all the fuss was about. If you’ve never been, it’s a massive all-day tailgate in the middle of a large tract of land surrounded by a horse path. Everyone dresses to the nines and drinks from sun up to sundown as the races take place around you. When you’re young and determined to binge drink all day, even seeing a horse is considered an accomplishment. As far as I was concerned on that first Steeplechase, the races didn’t even happen. It was simply a mad dash to see what drinking felt like and to avoid getting spotted by any administrators from my high school.
All told, it was one of the best days of my young life, even if I can’t remember much of it 16 years later. Steeplechase seemingly always delivers: over the years, I’ve tossed the football with OutKick’s own Chad Withrow, I met my future boss Clay Travis one time in the infield and just shot the shit for ten minutes with him, and I’ve stared at some of the best sundresses that the South has to offer. It’s a Saturday that rivals (if not tops) any fall football tailgate…yes, even my beloved Ole Miss Grove…and I encourage everyone to make the pilgrimage at least once. Problem was, that spring I popped my Steeple cherry, I also had other commitments; ones that don’t exactly mix as well as beer and Jell-O shots do for a teenager.
I told you in my inaugural STATTS (before we even named it STATTS) that I’m 6’4”, the last two inches of which came thanks to a growth spurt earlier that school year. This is important because as a basketball player, I had come up as a small forward with some range as a shooter. But as I got older and taller, the coaches moved me to the block, and I quickly realized that I wasn’t nearly dirty enough as a player to bang bodies with actual power forwards and centers.
The best player I ever faced was 6’11” Brandan Wright, an absolute freak who would have gone straight from high school to the NBA if not for the one-and-done rule that got implemented our senior year. He led his team to four straight state titles (f*cking stud) and then did his one-year college sentence at UNC before rattling off an impressive 13-year playing career in the NBA. (He was the best player by a million miles that anyone had ever seen at the time in Middle Tennessee, but in the Association his best offensive season was just 9.1 PPG with Dallas in 2013—goes to show how good those dudes are in the NBA). I knew that my senior season was going to be remembered as a buffet of nuts in my face if I didn’t toughen up and learn to make him uncomfortable, so I tried out for, and eventually joined, an AAU team with hopes of getting better at basketball.
And it worked. I didn’t slow down Brandan whatsoever in our two games the next fall, but I undoubtedly got meaner, stronger, and dirtier by playing travel ball. Plus, he never dunked on me once, something I’m still proud of to this day. Honestly, learning to really compete was the only way I could get minutes on that summer team. Everyone was more polished, so I became a junkyard dog: stepping on toes and boxing out kids who had D-1 offers before their senior season. It wasn’t pretty, but I showed up every day with my lunch pale and kicked ass, slowly evolving from punch line to halfway decent basketball player. Most importantly, I was consistent and reliable; that is, until Steeplechase rolled around.
This is what I mean when I say a 17-year old brain isn’t fully functioning: for some reason I thought I could booze all day and then go play an AAU game across town, and would be totally fine. It was the dumbest decision I made until two years later when I thought I needed 6 (six!!!) handles of whiskey for a week-long trip in Panama City for Spring Break (one per day), but that’s another story entirely.
When I got to the game, I may have smelled like a pool hall, but I was swagalicious. I was drunk and feeling myself. The lunky bruiser that everyone was expecting had an entire case of liquid confidence in his system and was ready to f*cking dominate some kids that night. I was calling for the rock, yelling out plays, chattering like never before, jacking up three balls and holding the finish, smack talking the other team, smack talking my own team; just an absolute bull in a China shop. Could I run and cut with much accuracy? No. Did I overrun a few fast breaks and crash into the padded wall by the cheerleaders? Yes. But dammit, I was a man possessed, and my entire team took notice.
These were a bunch of teenagers, and even though I assumed they were all more world-wise and experienced than myself at the time, looking back it’s clear that they were just kids, too, confused by what they were seeing but not sure what was happening. When they asked where I had been that day, I nonchalantly told them a horserace, which I think made the situation even stranger to them. After all, Nashville isn’t exactly Churchill Downs, and these kids were from all kinds of random suburbs across town. What sort of horse race would do this to their quiet, contemplative teammate? Surely my coaches knew, but what were they going to do? Bench me for being too passionate? I brought the thunder that afternoon, and we won easily because of it.
That’s what confidence is: being someone you’re not, and in turn becoming the person that you’ve always truly been, but were too scared to let out. Funny enough, even though that day could have gone sideways in a million ways, it actually earned me a good deal of respect from my team, who likely saw me as a goofy private school kid who didn’t fit in up to that point. They learned I had a sharp tongue and a hefty nut sack that could be unleashed on them at a moment’s notice, and the rest of the summer was really a funny mix of being accepted and learning how to play the game at a higher level. It had taken a day of underage drinking to really become my truest self–at least for an afternoon–and I felt like the King of the World that night until I puked in the gym trash can.
I’m not advocating alcohol as the cure to the modern, reluctant ego (quite honestly, I rarely drink anymore), but I do see the value in letting yourself be yourself as often as possible, even if you think it will be rejected or scorned by the world around you. Quite often, the opposite actually happens: the world exalts your willingness to be yourself because they subconsciously recognize the fearlessness within you, and then wish they had what you had. It’s funny how much we self-sabotage when it’s so much more fun to let loose. Just watch out for gym walls and try to stay out of foul trouble when you do.
Moral of the story: always pregame for the real game.
PART II – Random STATTS (still needs an official name; I’m thinking maybe name it after a real person.)
1. Goodbye of the week:
My affable colleague Clint Lamb is finishing up his two weeks’ notice today at OutKick and is now headed to On3 where gets to administer Crimson Tide booster shots all day to the Alabama faithful. I joked with Clint recently that being a good co-worker and ‘liking’ his daily Bama posts on Twitter have made the algorithm believe that I, too, am a Bama fan, and that’s a stink you just can’t wash off with soap. I don’t know a lot about On3 yet, but if co-founder Shannon Terry’s successful digital publishing resume is any indication, it will become a force in the industry, just like Rivals, 247Sports, and others were under his watch, too. In other words, you’re about to see a meteoric rise in the SEC landscape from Mr. Lamb, and I couldn’t be happier for the guy. Everyone just do me a favor and promise to check in on him the day Saban finally decides to retire. I have a feeling there will be a lot of tissues and Sarah McLachlan being played. Love ya, pal!
2. Speaking of love, how about the self-care going on in Fayetteville?
I’m an adult and will NOT be making any masturbation jokes in this column, but good gracious how excited are the Arkansas boys for the start of college football? The rub routes, the five techniques, the stiff competition. Not to mention the amazing College Gameday sign potential. I think the Razorbacks are slowly moving from the bottom of my SEC totem pole to the tip of the iceberg.
3. Coolest gambling moment of the week:
Everyone has that story when everything fell into place and they ripped off a heater that brought the casino to its knees. Pictures of regular folks sitting in front of six figure paydays thanks to a crazy table game side bet hitting are like catnip to me. I have to click, I have to stare into their souls, and I have to both love them and hate them all at the same time.
The closest I’ve ever come to being that guy in real life came during the same Vegas trip that spawned the Sick Haircut story from a few weeks ago. I had only learned to play craps a few weeks prior, because I knew there would be a moment of camaraderie where we’d all take over a table together, and I didn’t want to be the dolt sitting there playing the field because I didn’t know the rules.
And that’s exactly what happened. Around 3AM after a night out together, the crew was walking on air and decided to give the Mirage some hell at the tables. There’s nothing better than taking over an entire table with your buddies because it’s the only game in the casino where everyone wins or loses together (not entirely accurate, but you get the point). And baby, we were hot. Even random degenerates up late were crowding around to watch the insanity.
When the dice got to me, the cash was rolling in and I was feeling myself, and then proceeded to hit two points and six numbers in a row myself. As the dealers were paying out and everyone was high-fiving, I started pumping up the crowd even more. Are You Not Entertained? On the come out roll, I tossed the stickman $200 for all the hardways (a big bet for a guy who was playing $15 pass lines with odds). Sporting enough wood to make an Arkansas freshman blush, I told him to move the entire bet to the hard eight, instead, working of course. I was calling my shot, and dammit if it didn’t deliver on the very next roll.
I made $1,800 on that roll alone, had pulled off a Great Bambino moment, and couldn’t have felt any better if Wonder Woman herself was waiting for me upstairs. I had taken about a grand for the trip, blacked out, and woke up the next day with over $5,000 in the kitty. Vegas, baby.
4. Vintage bombshell of the week:
I’m a blonde lover myself, but these Lynda Carter pictures absolutely floored me, especially the last one. What a stunner. I was born in the wrong era.
5. 2021 moment of the week:
Instead of sipping highballs with Wonder Woman, I’m forced to watch Thunder Woman here summon weather fairies and grind a boulder down to a pebble with her Fayetteville Fanny (that’s what the Australians call the lady bits and it makes me giggle every time). Again, born in the wrong era.
6. Vintage bombshell of the week, part two:
This is quickly becoming a photo blog and I’m fine with it. Like the Sandlot boys and a big pouch of chaw, I’ve been saving this next picture for a good time.
Pretty cool, no? Here’s the quick backstory: I matched with the girl here on a dating app 6 years ago, and this was her cover photo. We never ended up meeting so I don’t know her personally, which is why I edited her out. No clue how old this picture is (at least six years and change), but it’s amazing nonetheless. Big Cat looks like a baby and Dave looks like he did before the spray tans and Soul Cycle classes. I don’t think Barstool had even partnered with Chernin at this point. And how about our man CT? Apparently there was a photo of him circulating this week that he didn’t care for, so I’m here to get that taste out of your mouth. Looking like a GD stallion here in this smut blogging Mt. Rushmore pic. Everyone’s rich and famous now, but this was back during the rise. Very cool.
7. Favorite Biden meme of the week:
8. Party bus of the week:
Reader Larry from Leb’nin, TN sent me this pic with only a small caption: Spotted in Destin. So many questions.
9. Dirty joke of the week:
What did Cinderella do when she got to the ball? Gagged a little.
10. STATTS Bookclub: Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins.
I told you last week that I wrote a self-development book, and Power vs. Force was one of my primary influences. A lot of the book is dedicated to a neurological process called muscle testing, which you may or may not care to learn about, but the other primary theme detailed is the dissection of influence and how to make the world bend to your will. ‘Force’ is difficult and exhausting, like pushing a boulder up a hill. ‘Power’ is easy and fluid; it relies upon leverage, and as such, has the ability to sway the hearts and minds of millions if you can learn to tap into it. Most people live their lives in ‘force,’ but ‘power’ is there for you, if you choose it.
Imagine—what if you had access to a simple yes-or-no answer to any question you wished to ask? A demonstrably true answer. Any question . . . think about it.— from the Foreword
We think we live by forces we control, but in fact we are governed by power from unrevealed sources, power over which we have no control.— from the author’s Preface
The universe holds its breath as we choose, instant by instant, which pathway to follow; for the universe, the very essence of life itself, is highly conscious. Every act, thought, and choice adds to a permanent mosaic; our decisions ripple through the universe of consciousness to affect the lives of all.— from Power vs. Force
PART III – MatchTik Men (2003) – Reminder, Volume Up
Not sure whether to laugh or cry at this one. On one hand, I think it’s kind of cool to grow up without a screen in your face at all times. On the other hand, these kids just want a few minutes away from building barns and hand-washing dishes to watch some Saturday morning cartoons. My parents joke that by the time I was three years old, I could work the VCR and turn on Nintendo by myself, which they loved because they got to sleep in a few extra minutes in the mornings. But now I hate that my entire life is centered around screens, and I actively try to go hours without looking at my phone. So for the third and final time, WRONG.ERA.
A+ filter usage. So simple, so effective. Sleeping by the belts, pouting on the escalator, just swimming in his own contempt. There’s an old saying that if you women didn’t have boobs, us men wouldn’t talk to any of you, and I think this jabroni may have coined it himself.
Hey Clint, what did you think about the kick-six game in 2013?
Hey Thunder Woman, did you know Russian collusion was proven to be a hoax?
***Read the special announcement before watching the next batch!!!***
This is what TikTok used to be before it got popular in 2020. Even finding these old videos was a chore, but ever since starting this round up at OutKick, I’ve been looking for the these–the Holy Grail of TikToks. I couldn’t even find it on the app; I had to find it on Instagram, but who cares, here we are, and I’m so excited.
Savor each of these videos, because they are everything we love at STATTS. Absurd, unbelievable, and totally self-serious. I’m not even going to write jokes for them, because honestly, the jokes write themselves. Nothing I can say will rival their natural hilarity.
I will say, though, if you see one of these KINGS out at the bar tonight, be sure to buy them a drink, but don’t make too much eye contact. You never know who may be sporting a secret barbed wire chest tat under that software programming uniform.
Wow, what a roundup. Thanks so much for stopping by and sending some fan mail each week. I love that you guys are enjoying this because it’s a lot of fun to write. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @outkicktommy. I love this community and want everyone who reads OutKick to love it, too. Cheers to another Friday!
Cover photo via CBS/Getty Images.