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The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

My Gambling Grandpa

My grandfather and I have an interesting relationship. We like to gamble with each other — making mostly sports bets to see who will win. I know this sounds kind of weird, but it really is a lot of fun.

And I’ve never lost.

Now, you might think that he’s just being nice and that’s what I thought when I was younger. But as he kept losing, he started to get a little bit mad (in that funny grandpa way) that I kept beating him.

We usually bet on basketball, college basketball, especially March Madness, the college basketball championship tournament, is our favorite sport to bet on.

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With the March Madness tournament, anything can happen, so it’s really hard to win the bet. But somehow every year, I have picked the winner over him.

For the March Madness bet, we make a bracket and pick four teams to go into the final four, the last four teams left in the tournament.There has only been one tie where neither of our four teams didn’t make it, and we had to remake the bet and pick a new team.

I still beat him when we picked a new winner.

That’s when I realized I was pretty lucky — and not just in betting.

My grandfather and I don’t talk a lot. He’s a pretty quiet guy. He’s the type of guy who will just sit there and listen to you talk, making sure you know he’s listening. Making these bets with him, as weird as it sounds, has brought us a lot closer.

When I was younger, he and I didn’t really connect. My grandpa loves to fish, but I don’t. My brother does, so I always felt as if he wanted to hang out with my brother more or talk to him more. My grandpa also loves to read — another hobby that he doesn’t share with me.

When I was little, I was never quiet and shy like my big brother. I was always running around and being wild. My grandpa never had children of his own so connecting to a wild child wasn’t easy for him.

As I grew up, I started to realize he loved sports as much as I do. But we don’t always like the same teams, which is where the betting kind of started.

Making these bets has made us so much closer. But it’s not really about the gambling — although winning does feel pretty good. When my team does really well, I call him and start talking trash. And he does the same back to me, which really makes me laugh –e’s not that great at it. We started getting closer by talking silly trash to each other. It’s fun to finally get to joke around with him.

We have been making these bets for about four years now, and over the last four years our relationship has grown. I never felt like we had anything in common until we started talking sports and betting with each other.

A few years ago, we were at dinner, and I told him about a Michael Jordan poster I wanted. The poster was when he won the dunk contest, and it was signed by him. I told him how I was probably going to buy it for myself one day, I wasn’t trying to get him to get it for me — I was just sharing what I liked.

Many months later was my birthday, and we all went to dinner. The first gift I opened was the framed photo of MJ — with his signature on it. I almost cried that day because in my head I didn’t understand how he remembered that. That special gift made me feel so loved and appreciated.

To this day I don’t understand how he remembered something so long ago that was just a passing conversation.

The funny thing is, he’s not even my real grandpa by blood. But he still cares and treats me as if I was his own. He’s an amazing man, and I’m proud to call him my grandpa.

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About the Contributor
Joey Shanks
Joey Shanks, Reporter
I’m Joey and I’m a junior. This is my first year in newspaper. I love playing basketball and playing video games
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