At one point, I even considered turning pro. I moved to New York for a while, though not to pursue backgammon as a profession necessarily. I think I had rock star in mind. Backgammon was my fallback. You always need something to fall back on, my mother counseled. I think she had teaching in mind. But I enjoyed playing backgammon more than I did explaining stuff to kids that I myself didn’t understand, and Mom also said to do what you love, so I figured backgammon was the natural fallback choice.

At the time, clubs throughout the Big Apple were like my college basement — backgammon dens. Big dollars were exchanging hands and the game was extremely fashionable. I had read a lot of books on the subject, my favorite being Backgammon for Blood!, and even though I still couldn’t beat the probability guy, I felt ready for the big leagues.

I went to a few clubs famed for their backgammon. One look at the players’ gluey eyes and zombiesque expressions and I knew that this was the Bigs.

These guys had it bad. And for my wallet, the stakes were so that the numbers may as well have been theoretical. This was backgammon for blood, bone, and marrow.

These were my Olympians.

Now maybe their (and my?) time has come.

Just after the 400 meter relay and just before the Scrabble tournament.