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Digger Handicap & Predictions
by Brent Davies 

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The approaching Digger stands out for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is the amassing of what might be the best talent pool to ever grace a digger event. Adding to the talent notoriety and lending a sense of unknown is the participation of the group known as the SOB's (South of the Boat House). Finally, the massive Domer reunion, while nauseating many, will add a nostalgic "reunion" feel to the whole affair. I mean where else can a group of grown men talk about the Gipper shrine in Laurium, MI for over an hour? We certainly wouldn't want to miss that!

I've got to say that, while exciting, all these various elements make handicapping extremely difficult. But here we go anyway:

DAN ANDERSON: Dan has traded in some of his competitive juices for business acumen. In addition to his Accenture finance position, he is a mortgage broker, dabbles in high interest loans and used cars under $500. In other words, he's the "bohunk" father from Sixteen Candles. ODDS: 20 TO 1

AMY GILLIN: Amy could play the entire day with her feet cemented together with one arm behind her back and still manage to make the semi-finals. The "big left hand" not only utilizes her athletic ability, but her cunning guile as well. It's not often I tell my female partner to serve the guy. Only one thing can stop her: multiple matches playing with her husband. I've got $10 that says it's gonna happen. 4 to 1

SCOTT GILBERT: "Gilby" is a sneaky, effective player who is in mid-season form. In a co-ed match, he might have the best serve in the land. However, given that he is dating a 22 year old, his energy level must be taking a lethal hit so expect him to fade throughout the day. 15 to 1

TODD HENSON: Todd has the same physique he had when he was a dominating force both indoors and out. Wiry, blindingly pasty and shockingly agile, the only difference between Todd and Greg Barrett is a hearty breakfast and robust bowel movement. 8 to 1

PETE HICKMAN: Pete has been knocking around the minor leagues for years now. It seems that his fate is always determined by a guy's 5 on 5 game to 11. This year I look for him to have more control of his fate and make it at least to the semi-finals. What separates Pete from the rest of the pack is his ability to play better the more he drinks. Yes, he is a true South-sider. You can take the fly out of the spiked punch, but you can't take the spiked punch out of the fly. 10 to 1

JOANIE DENNY: She's married now---a year older and one might argue a better sand volleyball player. I'd like to argue it. At some point, a lifetime of alcohol consumption has a way of kicking in and reducing even the most experienced players into crash test dummies. I'm betting it's now. 19 to 1

JOSEPH DIMICHELE: The "idle one" is in the best shape of his life as he is training for the triathlon. He's always had success at diggers and with the big Domer constituency, I'm betting he has a little extra to prove. However, look for him to be distracted by some of the female SOB's and have his balance thrown off by numerous erections. 12 to 1

PETE GILLIN: Pete is big, lumbering and likable. Therefore, he belongs in a fairy tale and not on the beach. Enough said. 16 to 1

BEAGLE: Now that Beagle is married he has adopted the "Prince" attitude. He no longer wants to be known as Beagle. He is now the symbol <^>. Either way, it still won't help his chances any. After all, he's jumping for three now! 22 to 1

CHRIS MURDY: Murdy has shed his Ricky Martin act and is now performing Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" while dancing ostentatiously with a long, yellow boa. The fact that he can do this and still be considered one of the favorites is not only impressive, but a little concerning. 3 to 1

JEFF GEAR: To describe Jeff's volleyball skills is like trying to convince a buddy to go out with your girlfriend's not so good-looking friend. He's a computer genius, a great pool player, owns a boat and loves Marley. Oh, and he has a great personality. Skills you ask? Did I mention his personality? 21 to 1

SCOTT COUSINO: The newly engaged one has been living the easy life for quite sometime now. Coming to Chicago is always a bit of a homecoming for the Cous and quite frankly the night before the digger will obliterate the already incredibly remote chances of him winning. I'll say this: I like his chances of winning if he faces Hougo in the finals. 19 to 1

CAROL ALEXANDER: Carol and I go way, way back. I found her rolling around the gutters of Berwyn and brought her to the U.S. Her Gumby-like, deep thumb sets will be a pleasure to spike once again. She's feisty, driven and, hell, I like her chances. 6 to 1

GAYE DAVIES: Diminutive in stature, but strong on Italian seasoning, her new found hobby of flying trapeze has helped her upper body strength immensely. Unfortunately, her desire to sample every possible alcoholic drink on the beach will leave her staggering and inevitably turn her into a froth of suds with no visible means of support. 16 to 1

JOHN BRANDEIS: Every year I pick him to go far and I am left answering the question "what the hell was I thinking?" Well no more, Sir John. Drink my friend and dream about that elusive crown. "Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!"" 15 to 1

BRENT DAVIES: Victory comes in many forms. One victory over a Domer team will suffice. I could shoot higher, but really, what else is there? 30 to 1

FINAL PREDICTIONS:

PETE HICKMAN & AMY GILLIN DEFEAT GREG BARRETT & CAROL ALEXANDER