The Washington Post

Editor’s Query: Tell us about a time when ... you lost a bet

I shared many areas of interest with my high school and college sweetheart, among them music. Both of us were competitive, but we rarely found ourselves on opposite sides of an issue. Then it happened. While driving around town one day, a favorite song was playing. Singing along, we clashed over a specific line of the lyrics. This led to a bet as to who was right.

Even by the time we had graduated from college and had gone our separate ways, we remained at a stalemate.

Thirty years later, I discovered how I could get in touch with her. But not knowing anything about her since college, I was wondering what to say so she would read my e-mail and answer me. Finally, I decided to search out the lyrics to resolve our bet. In the e-mail subject line to her, I wrote, “I concede, you were right about the lyrics.” Not only did she answer me, we have now been happily married for almost 10 years.

William J. Rauch,

Silver Spring

In the fall of 1975, as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, I had a friend who was an Air Force ROTC candidate at the University of Maryland in College Park.

We had met through our girlfriends, and the four of us had double-dated off and on.

Shortly before the Navy-Air Force football game, Rick sent me an eloquent letter that set out the terms of a bet on the game. The loser would pay for the winner’s dinner with a girlfriend of his choice. It was a simple bet, right?

Well, Air Force was the victor. “Rick, where are you and Annie going for dinner?” His reply has left a permanent mark on my brain: “Annie? No, I’m taking your girlfriend out for dinner!”

Kevin Stone,


The bright yellow-green tennis ball came down, and my racket, a blue blur, hit it, sending it over the net where it flew by my sister for what may have been the 15th time. No matter what she tried, Emily just couldn’t hit the ball back.

Bored, I put down my racket and eyed the tennis net. I had been practicing hurdles in gym, and if my judgment was correct, the tennis net was about the same height as a hurdle. At that moment my daredevil side ignited and took control. I turned to Emily and said: “I bet I can jump the net. Want to see?”

“Sure,” she replied, laying down her racket.

I took off toward the net at full speed. Alarms went off inside my head as I realized there was a chance that I wouldn’t make it. I began to cut my speed but knew it was too late. I pushed off the ground with all of my strength, trying to get as much height as possible. My feet snagged the net, and my face crashed into the green court surface.

I stood up and spat out some blood and a piece of tooth. I looked at Emily and shrugged. I won the tennis match, but she won the bet.

Erik Park,


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