As instructed, I went to my singles match first. I won and checked the brackets. I saw that my doubles match was now scheduled for the space in between my first and second singles matches.
The air conditioning for the convention center was still mostly out of commission. Of the three main tournament rooms, there was only enough power to air-condition one at a time, so the air conditioning was rotated between the rooms. You could sweat yourself to half your size in one room and then freeze from lack of insulation walking into another.
My partner and I did no good in our doubles match. In particular, I did not break nearly well enough to do any good. Our opponents, on the other hand, broke well and played well. At one point, the guy on the other team smashed the rack and made five balls. I looked at my partner and said, “I can’t beat that.” He replied, “Very few can.” Sigh. But, the other team was super-nice (and we knew them) so other than being kicked to the loser’s side, the match was thoroughly enjoyable. We checked with the tournament desk regarding when we would play our loser’s side doubles match and were told to check back again. Singles matches would still take precedence over doubles matches scheduled for the same time slot.
I won my next singles match and checked the board again. Our loser’s side doubles match had been scheduled for later in the day.
Things got interesting at my next singles match. There was a tall guy practicing on the next table. He had a very wide stance and constantly got in the way of me and my opponent. It can be hard to play when you don’t know if you will be bumped or shoved at any given moment. I often waited for Mr. Oblivious to be done flailing around the table rather than risk him running into me if I tried to shoot quickly between his orbits. Many times, he would stand at the side of the table and shoot the same shot over and over again, even though we needed to shoot as well. I think both my opponent and I hoped he would eventually notice we were playing a match and at least give us the courtesy of alternating right-of-way for shooting. No such luck. At one point, my opponent went up to him as he thrashed away at the same shot over and over again and said politely, “I’m sorry, but I have to shoot. We’re playing a match.” His reply? “That’s all right, I’ll just be a minute.”
Seriously. What. The. FUCK.
This was a delicate situation. I wanted to tell this guy to move. At best, he would likely move over the barest minimum of space required and then stand RIGHT next to us staring and huffing and chalking impatiently as we shot (actually, it happened), as if we were inconveniencing him — this dude wearing an ugly-ass polyester shirt who HAD NOTHING AT STAKE. Fuck. That cheap-ass shirt was a goddamn crime against humanity in itself. (PRO TIP: 3 collared shirts for $9.99 make you look like $3.33+tax, not a million dollars. So quit your vain-ass strutting.) At worst, he would probably argue back and an altercation would happen (c’mon, it’s me — altercation guaranteed!). That altercation would take me out of focusing on the match. In the end, I opted not to engage and decided to just try and deal with it.
My opponent played well and I fell behind. It was not impossible to come back and win–it would just be very, very, very difficult. I drew every last mental and physical resource together. I made a decision, made a plan, and then sallied forth — right into a famous gambler who had come to work out a money game.
I like tournaments. I like gambling. I sometimes like one a little more than the other, but that usually depends on how well I’m doing in which particular rodeo. Gambling and tournaments are like significant others — neither should meet the other(s) because then shit gets complicated.
Shit got complicated.
As some of you know, it can be hard to get a game and a good amount of action sometimes only comes about because both parties felt like negotiating or playing and were conveniently in the same place. Yet, I wanted to win the tournament, too. I was stuck because I could not make a decision. I never had to make such a decision so I had no precedent to follow. When you can’t focus on one or the other, you lose both. I did not focus on my match, so I dogged that off magnificently. Since I could not give full attention to negotiations, I was also unable to pin down a game.
Sometimes, that’s just how it goes.
Now that I have gone through the experience of someone woofing at me during a tournament match, I know exactly how to handle the situation, should it ever arise again (HIGHLY unlikely, I think).
C’est la vie.
Nothing to do now but wait for my singles loser’s side match.
|Meanwhile, Nature’s shenanigans continued to ensue.|
Despite playing some fairly decent eight-ball and being in a position to win more than once, I also dogged this one off and ended up in the tournament slot that has accurately defined my life as of late: one outta the money.
Our doubles match had been pushed to the next day as my singles match, and those of my partner, had run very late. As I walked through the main tournament room to catch up with all the people who (wisely) avoided me when I was in competition, I heard a distinct, “Hey! I’ll take that drink now.”
|This is a picture of a plastic cup full of cabernet.|
|It was the Mighty Dechaine.|
|I had written a little something-something on him earlier this year and in the ensuing nuclear fallout, he had been a pretty good sport about it.|
|He requested cabernet and I gladly bought it for him. And now, we were even… 😉|
I began to feel the effects of tournament fatigue to the point where I was — dare I say it — relieved to be out of the singles event. It meant one less event for me to lose sleep and food over. I was half-alive in one event. Two other events had not yet started. Life was all right for now. I was treading water, which was not as good as swimming forward, but was certainly better than drowning.
|<< head back to the darkness of Day 1|