5, 4, 3, 2, UNO!

I’ve been out of the sports reporting world for a month or so due to winter break and such and what better way to start the year off than writing about an intense bout of UNO.


It was New Year’s Eve in the Brown household, as my mom tucked my sister and her friend into bed for their sleepover. I was watching an episode of the Twilight Zone (that episode where William Shatner sees the dude in the monkey suit on the airplane wing and no one else sees it) to prepare myself for the inevitable games of UNO in my near future.

I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

The first few games were a flash. My mom mercilessly destroyed me five times. in. a. row. It was like the Golden State Warriors playing the Brooklyn Nets. Or the 2007 New England Patriots playing the 2017 Cleveland Browns. Or literally any team playing the 2017 Cleveland Browns. I was getting WHOOPED.

It was as if the UNO gods just decided they wanted me to only get numbered cards and ~none~ of them were going to be the same color. There were no combos to be made. I was getting demolished.

But as they old adage says, winners don’t lose forever (I made this up). Then, like a bright shining ray of hope, I took the first win. And then the second… and the third… and the fourth… oh boy, here we go… five wins. in. a. row. BOOM, we’re back in business, baby.

However, these games were getting ridiculously long, to the point that my energy was fading. It was taking a toll on my young body. My arm strength was depleting. An ACL injury was surely near. There was no stopping though, because mama ain’t raise no quitter (which apparently is a song by the blues artist Full Fat, not too bad, check it out).

The next four games were full of dirty draw four moves and certain card-peek-cheating. Skips and reverses were relentless, because of the certainty that the other person had to have the most perfect combination of cards in the world and you gotta get things done quickly. After a full 14 rounds of duking it out, we were all tied up at 7 games a piece. 7 — 7. Siete y siete. Some other languages words that mean seven to seven.

With that 7th win in hand for me, my mom begins to shuffle the cards for the umpteenth time and speaks a question that she should have never spoke. “I’m tired, do you want to call it now?” She may have been sincerely wrong or trying to fool me into believing that we were not actually in a tie, but all that I saw in that moment was weakness in the heart of my opponent. It’s game time.

It’s a slow start to the series closer, as we both lay down some simple numbers to get things going. However, with 4 cards left in my hand and a sudden realization that history was on my side, I fulfilled my destiny. A blue skip, a green skip, and a color change. “UNO,” I proclaimed, “Red.”

I looked up into my mom’s eyes and I saw the surprise and flicker of defeat, almost as if her pupils screamed, “I’ve raised a monster.” She goes to draw a card, obviously hoping for a draw two, color change, or that almost impossible draw four. As I watch her hand slowly flip the card over, I see the loss ripple through her arm into her heart and she sadly (but hilariously) refrains from laying down any card at all.

Like a clean Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass or a cardiac Kemba stepback to a free throw line jumper, my red 5 slapped the stack of cards with a ~BANG~ (or at least that’s how I imagined it) and I grasped that final win like Tom Brady has grasped the Super Bowl trophy literally five whole times.

The spoils of the victor are sweeter than what I imagine alcohol tastes like (this one’s for you, mom haha) and there’s nothing like getting to shape your finger and your thumb into an L and place it onto someone else’s forhead. (I hope this made you go instinctively “SOMEBODY ONCE TOLD ME THE WORLD…”)

Happy New Year. May your 2018 be like a hand of only 7 draw fours and color changes.

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