5 last-minute gift ideas for the degenerate sports fan in your life

You can't go wrong with whiskey. Courtesy photo

So you have waited until the last minute to get a gift for the degenerate sports fan in your life. It’s getting tight on something from Amazon, but it is still possible. However, if you want to get a gift that looks like you put some effort into it (even though you didn’t), and in most cases not spend a lot of money, you have options and can get most of these without waiting in line for much. Sure, you can always get golf, running, tennis or crossfit equipment, but if the person in your life likes good alcohol, gambling, fun and sports (yes, that’s me, so I would love any of these), here are five last-minute gift ideas:

Local beer and spirits

There is no shortage of great choices; the craft beer scene in Houston is the best it has ever been, and there are several great options. The Downtown Spec’s has entire area dedicated to Houston and Texas beers, including some nice barrel-aged options. The staff is very knowledgeable and if you just ask for guidance they will help. If you want to go more high end, whiskey is always a good choice. We recommend keeping it local. The Whitmeyer’s Texas Whiskey and Texas Peach are great options, and if you want to go high end, the Single Barrel is the way to go. Your degenerate will thank you. Spec’s downtown has them on a regular basis, but you can also swing by the distillery and pick up a bottle if you are on the north side of town. A distillery tour (or a brewery tour) gift card makes a nice complement. This is a good, affordable option, because you can spend as much or as little as you like.

Astros World Series memorabilia

Your sports fan will still appreciate Astros World Series gear. Academy still has a great selection and you can swing by there. If you want something a little different, the audio book HIstory Earned makes a terrific gift, or you can hit them with a coffee table book. Again, affordability is the key. The audio book is just $13.99, and most gear is under $60.

Poker room membership

Legal poker rooms are cropping up everything, and a membership for your favorite degenerate works very well. Check for the one nearest you; a google search will do it. My personal favorite is Lions Poker Palace on Richmond near Dave and Buster’s. You can’t go wrong with this one. A yearly membership is the best option for someone who is playing a lot, but even a monthly membership works. You can create a nice gift card online and give your degenerate a money order and it makes it look like you put in a lot of effort.

Rent a suite at Sam Houston Race Park

Live racing returns in January, and there are affordable suite packages available. It’s a great way to have a fun night with friends, perhaps win some money and do some business networking. If you want to keep it more personal and keep the price down, a nice romantic dinner at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant or a night in the Jockey Club works as well. That way, you have a nice dinner together, while the degenerate in your life can get in a few bets.

Rockets partial ticket packages

In case you haven’t noticed, the Rockets are on a tear right now. Five-game packages are available and a night at Toyota Center can be fun and entertaining. Ticket prices vary based on seating so there are very affordable options.

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Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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