I got my shit together as best I could this morning.
|The sign on the stage was made of chips, cards, and other gambling bits.|
|I went and worshipped at the Altar of Good Luck which, incidentally, is also the Altar of Bad Beats. The paper, plastic, and resin bits giveth and they empty-eth your pocket-eth.|
|I can hardly keep up with technology these days.|
|I ooohed and aaahed over modern conveniences now available to participants such as being able to check brackets on nice big screens right next to the tournament desk. You could also sign up for text message notifications regarding the time and location of your next match, and your opponent’s name.|
|Strawberry tarts are for closers.|
|I admired the local foods, although I did not try any. A gentleman saw me taking this photograph and asked why didn’t I get one. I said I would, once I cashed in the tournament. As I left, he bought one, saying the longer he had looked at the tart, the more he wanted one. He thanked me for taking the photograph and alerting him to such a delicious breakfast.|
I might have been a little ambitious/clueless when signing up for events this year. I entered a total of four events, scotch doubles 8-ball, singles 8-ball, team 8-ball, and team 9-ball. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I forgot how long it had been since I’d signed up for a full roster of events. No helping it now.
My first event was scotch doubles 8-ball. I hadn’t had much time to practice lately with my partner (since he and his gf had been traipsing all over some tropical paradise — no, I’m not jealous AT ALL) but, honestly, I didn’t care. Dude was going to have to carry me and since I didn’t weigh too much, I figured things would be all right. We started off very shaky but managed to scramble through a couple of matches.
It was during one of these matches that I first encountered (for this tournament) the strange phenomenon of Why The F#CK Did You Say That. Now, you all know by now I like to play in silence. I’m not one for small talk or compliments. This is pool, mister (or misteress). Let’s play the game. Silence is golden. Silence is neutral. Silence (aside from necessary exchanges regarding the game being played) is respectful to both competing parties. You win? You don’t have to say anything to me. In fact, I prefer you don’t. If I win? I will rarely say anything to you. Nothing needs to be said.
In this match, my partner and I were down 3-0 in a race to 4. Yeah, sh#t was looking grim. Even defribrillators would not save us now. I had been missing a lot and screwing up shape. My partner struggled, then, because I struggled. Our opponents were very good players. They generally only needed one turn at the table to clear everything out.
I am not a fan of alternate break, but this time, it saved us.
In that hill game, it was our break. I broke and did not make solid contact with the head ball, resulting in most of the balls staying in the rack with a few zinging around the table and none dropping. It was our opponent’s turn. I felt like absolute shit for letting my partner down. As I walked back to sit down, one of my opponents looked at me and said, “Haha, you gave yourself the rack!”
Why The F#CK Did You Say That.
I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you?
Aw, hell naw.
My opponent had served me a Pissed Off Royale with Cheese and now, I just… could not let these people win. Victory was not allowed for these two. Allowed to these two victory was not. They eventually missed (as the rack was a fustercluck), my partner made a shot and I was left with something tricky to shoot. I cracked my neck (terrifically bad habit) and nearly broke my teeth with the desire to get my game under control. I fired it in and set my partner up perfectly. In the span of an inning, my game changed completely. As I played better, my partner played better, too. At the risk of sounding twee, trite, and precious — it was like magic. Total voodoo magic. We won 4-3 playing some of the best pool we had ever played together.
We needed to win six matches this first day in order to make it into any decent money. We were almost there. If I could just keep my goddam shit together, we could very well make it into the finals. We had momentum now and as we waited for our next match, we practiced and played better and better.
And then, the lights went out.
|This reminds me of the Galveston World Classic (or something like that) in 2009.|
|The convention center went completely dark for a minute or so. After a bit, emergency lights came on. I did not think too much of it as I believed these big Vegas casinos were prepared for things like power outages and whatnot.|
|The matches in progress stopped.|
|Idle waiters like me and my partner continued to hit balls.|
|As time dragged on, people began to worry. The lights were out, yes, but the worst part was — so was the air conditioning. You get that many people into an enclosed space with no AC and soon you will have a rainforest atmosphere without the dancing parrots and singing frogs.|
Amateur competition area with no table lighting.
You may click to embiggen. Cuz why not.
|Andy Chen caught some Blair Witch-style footage of the storm.|
|A friend came in and told me to go look at the storm outside. Storm? I had not known there was any storm. Of course, I was in Pool Mode meaning nothing else mattered but competition. My friend said just a few moments ago, there had been a sandstorm so dense you could not see five feet past the windows.|
|I wandered over to the windows and the sand was gone but the storm was still storming.|
The professionals were also mostly milling about, waiting. You may click to embiggen.
The dude in orange at the center is Andrew Cleary. I did not get a photograph of his fabulous orange jumpsuit and white shoes, but be assured they were magnificent.
As a half-hour turned into an hour, the natives began to get restless. Some players asked their opponents if they wanted to continue playing with the available light. Some agreed, some did not. We received snippets of information here and there regarding the continuation of play. We heard if the lights were back on by 10:30, all play would resume. That would put us a couple of hours behind schedule, but the delay would not be too bad. We would just finish this day later than usual.
|Can’t let all that ice melting at the bars go to waste, y’know?|
|I was offered many drinks in my wanderings but had to decline, sigh. I still had a responsibility to be sober for my partner, dammit. But, I totally understood those who did not want the liquor to get warm since refrigeration was out as well.|
|Good times, good times.|
|Each player received a survey from Cyclop, the manufacturer of the new acid-trip balls. I saw this abandoned survey on a table and decided its astute observations should not be wasted.|
Finally, some time past 11:00 p.m., we received the announcement that all play was suspended for the evening. Any matches in progress were stopped at that point and would be resumed tomorrow. There were no reschedules yet, but we were to keep checking the brackets and information, as it became available, would be announced. The room would be locked to ensure ball layouts were not disturbed. Now everyone GTFO and we’ll see you in the morning.
Singles events started tomorrow and, usually, they ran doubles down to the very last few matches in order to make sure doubles participants were able to compete without schedule conflict in both events. In addition to all this, we had FINALLY caught a gear. Right now, we were playing well and we wanted to keep going. Nothing to do but… wait and see what happens.
We spent all evening and the early morning anxiously refreshing the brackets to see when we would play next. Things changed rapidly and announcements came and went. At one point, this is what I saw when I checked.
I received word that when matches were scheduled for the same time, all singles matches were to take precedence. So, I was to go to my singles match first, and they would update me on when the doubles match would take place.
I gave up trying to make sense of everything and went to bed, hoping things would look better in the morning.
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