Mark Boyle

Destination Unknown: Countdown

by Mark Boyle
Radio Play-by-Play

I've been posting cryptic messages like these on my Twitter and Facebook pages nightly for nearly two months, and enough people have asked me about it that I thought it was time to address the subject.

I've been surprised by how many people have assumed that I'm counting down the days until the season ends. Come on, people. I've got the best job in the world, and I'd have to be a total moron (please hold all editorial comments) to be looking forward to the end of the season. If the Pacers went 0-and-82, I would still love going to work and would look forward to every single broadcast. So, no, that's what those numbers represent.

I get bored easily, and as a result am continually looking for ways to challenge myself. That's the genesis for things like my 500 mile walk across Indiana a few years back, or my competing in the US Open Chess Tournament back in the day. I like to test myself, and even if I fail, I find the whole process stimulating.

Which brings us to the numbers mentioned at the top of the blog. I decided a few days before training camp started to challenge myself and see if I could go from the first day of camp through the last day of the regular season without drinking. That's 199 days, and those numbers represent where I am on the journey.

You're wondering why I decided to do this, correct? Am I a raging alcoholic? No. Was my drinking preventing me from doing my job, or in any other way affecting me in a negative manner? No, not really. But my body has always processed alcohol in a manner that I gather is unusual. Copious consumption may result in me channelling my inner Dean Martin, but I have never had a hangover. And I literally mean never. Plus, I can grab a stool at 9 PM, shut the bar down, and be up and about (sans alarm), totally refreshed and ready to go at 7:30 the next morning. In addition, there is a history of alcoholism in my family that's always in the back of my mind when it comes to making choices in this area, so periodic reassessment strikes me as a responsible decision.

All of that being said, I'm a little disappointed. This challenge hasn't really been all that challenging. There have been no physical cravings, and I've wound down after several home games this season at my favorite local watering hole with a cup of coffee while, all around me, revelers are slamming shots, guzzling beer, and all but receiving whiskey intravenously. And nothing. I don't feel the urge to join them; if anything, I've actually gotten a kick out of being the only sober guy in the room. It's a little like being the only PhD in a room full of high school drop outs. You feel like you know something nobody else in the place knows. Plus, watching some soused up frat boy trying to put the moves on the local talent that inhabits said watering hole always ranks high on the unintentional comedy scale.

So you might wonder why I don't just extend the 199 day and stop drinking forever. It's a legitimate question, in that alcohol is hardly a member of one of the five food groups. But you know what? None of us are getting out alive, so I think I'll take a vice or two with me to the finish line. A good cigar and a fine beverage on occasion may not prolong my life, but it will most assuredly provide me with some pleasure while I'm still kicking.

So count on me getting through this 199 day run and accomplishing my mission. But inevitably, April 16th will get here. And on that day, track me down if you can. And if you do?

Well, I'm counting on you to bring the Knob Creek.

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by Mark Boyle are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.


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