This week is going to be a little slow, so let’s make it a…
FREE raffle week!
This blog doesn’t offer anything that will improve your game, but it does occasionally offer tchotchkes to improve your cue case.
|we interrupt this broadcast to bring you the following|
I had a simple raffle blog post all nicely pre-fabbed in the anticipation that this week would be a slow one. You’d think after all these years playing pool (and blogging some of those years and being a chick all those years and then some), I’d have learned never to pre-fab blog posts thinking life could be normal for just one week. My inability to absorb this knowledge through repeated experience is damn near miraculous. (Yes, I’m very proud.)
Last night was league night and my team played as the “away” team in a bar I hadn’t heard of before. On the way there, one of my teammates wondered idly about how bars were screened to be host locations for the league. Was there a vetting process? Did league reps go visit the bar to check out the area and/or the location itself. Our captain dismissed her questions and assured us the bar was fine. We got to the bar with a few minutes to spare.
I’d played at this bar before several years ago. In the meantime, it had changed hands at least once and had been renamed. When we walked in, there were a few members from the other team milling about the pool table and a couple of bar patrons at the bar watching the basketball game. The bar was long and narrow, which did nothing for my claustrophobia. I went to the women’s restroom and was confronted with this amusing set-up:
Toilet paper as the Holy Grail on a pedestal. Not a bad representation, actually. Obviously, this bar was no ordinary place.
The captains flipped a coin to begin and the opposing team put up the first player. This first match was a scrappy battle but our player won in the end. We were up 1-0. The opposing team was currently ranked second-to-last while we were in a four-way tie for fourth place. In order to further solidify our chances to make it to playoffs, we would need a victory and the best victory would be a 5-0.
The second match was also closely contested and featured the additional randomly annoying oddity of a bar patron shining a laser pointer at the players of the match and then getting all huffy when told to stop: “You all take this game TOO seriously!” Seriously? Seriously seriously. The opposing player was an excellent shotmaker and took the early lead, but once our player warmed up a bit, the match became close. At one point, our player had a difficult cut on a railed eight-ball. She made the eight-ball, but the cue ball continued rolling slowly towards the opposite corner pocket. A player from the opposing team — let us name him ROAD SALT — immediately jumped up and began shouting to the cue ball, “Get in there! C’mon! Scratch! GET IN THERE!! GO! Scratch!”
Our captain looked at him and said, “That’s some poor sportsmanship.”
He replied with, “What the f— is your problem?”
“We had this discussion at the captain’s meeting before the season began, which your captain should have attended. You’re not to cheer for your opponents scratching.”
Road Salt had some more choice phrases for my captain (she admirably kept her cool the entire time — didn’t even raise her voice) who stuck to her guns that one should not cheer the misfortunes of the other player. Road Salt’s trump card which he tossed down with relish was, “What the f— is wrong with you all? I guess you’re all on your periods! Hahaha!” O Billiards. How classy thou art.
My teammate shot back, “No, but you’re obviously on yours!”
Life, in some cases, imitates the internet.
What we were dealing with here was a little troll, an itty bitty angry Napolean (except without the massive European empire and the snazzy military suits with gold tassels to make up for — whatever — was lacking).
No one — and I mean NO ONE — knows more than I do what a bizarre, sometimes f—ed up, often hilarious, weirdass Malstrøm (that’s Norwegian for MelStorm) my life is.
Because of this, I made the decision to remain silent. I am completely reckless with my own life but I am not willing to say (or do) things that will endanger the well-being of those I care about. Road Salt was a troll, an aggressor looking to provoke an aggressive reaction with his actions and the best thing I could do right now was NOT FEED THE TROLL.
Eventually, everyone quieted down but the underlying tension was there. I remained calm, but very, very alert. Our player lost her match hill-hill and the overall match score was now 1-1.
After some team discussion, we put up our captain in the next match. Her opponent had the highest win percentage of all the guys on that team. The match would be tough, but we hoped our captain’s experience and patience would pull a win for us.
Our captain won the first game and since the race was only to two games, she was on the hill. In the second game, I called a timeout on her and suggested a safety. She whiffed the ball but the cue ball kicked off the rail behind the object ball and bounced back to the rail. I was relieved because that meant she got a rail and it was a good hit. A player on the other team said it was a foul because she had hit the rail first and the object ball second. This other player insisted that there was no way you could make a legal hit if you hit the rail first. Since I don’t really have words to describe what I felt, I’m just going to use the following photographs.
Words began to be exchanged.
The hostility of Road Salt and his teammate who insisted the shot was a foul became very apparent. I knew the hit was a good hit, but I wasn’t sure I could explain it to them. In any case, I once again chose not to get involved as, without someone watching the hit, the shot goes to the shooter, anyways. In hindsight, this was not a good choice. I should have said something, but I did not trust myself to remain calm once I was fully immersed in debate. Instead, I merely reiterated that the shot goes to the shooter.
More words were exchanged by both sides.
My captain said to the other player who insisted it was a foul that neither he, nor she, were qualified to call the shot as a foul. This was not a good move on our part as I believe that player felt she attacked his qualifications as a player. As you know, one does not need to be a highly-ranked player to know the rules of the game.
Road Salt was now in full force, telling my captain she was a bitch, telling my teammates they were bitches, etc. Meanwhile, in an effort to keep the peace, my captain said if they thought she had fouled, then fine — take ball-in-hand. Her opponent took ball-in-hand but the situation did not get any better. Road Salt AND his hefty girlfriend now increased their volume and insults, all while my captain was vainly trying to finish her game. Finally, the quietest and most petite girl on our team turned to him, and said, “Just shut up!”
Something about that phrase opened the floodgates to Hades.
Immediately, Road Salt insisted “no skinny white bitch” was going to tell him to shut up. He kept repeating this. People got on their feet. My teammate asked him why he couldn’t just let it go and he continued saying no skinny bitch was allowed to tell him to shut up. His girlfriend joined in. My other teammate told them to stop being disrespectful, saying if you were going to insult one of us, you insulted all of us. Things were going to boil over and I knew it.
My petite teammate, in an effort to give our captain some peace, turned heel and headed for the door. Road Salt continued shouting expletives at her as she walked out. My other teammate went outside with her to make sure she was all right. The whole time, I still sat on my stool, and said nothing. I truly hoped this was a case of too much machismo fueled by too much alcohol and that somehow, the other team (whose captain was very nice) could get this idiot under control.
With my teammates outside for the time being, the rabble began to die down. I watched Road Salt very closely. He was quite the attention whore. My teammates, now under control, walked in and the first thing Road Salt said upon seeing them was, “I ain’t gonna let no skinny trick tell me to shut up.”
Suffice it to say, this was a new low, even for the muddy salt that paves the dirty winter roads.
In the ensuing silence (the overly loud jukebox had died off long ago), I said my first words to the other team this evening. In a most polite manner, I asked, “Why did you call her a trick?” I will say, I was hoping beyond hope that he would correct himself and say “chick”, “trick” being another term for a prostitute.
He turned to me and said, “Shut the f— up. You’re all a f—ing bunch of tricks.”
I felt my heart beat very slowly, just once. All sound became muted and I felt my blood run cold and then very, very warm. My allergies disappeared and my itchy eyes cleared up immediately. I got off the stool and knew that I’d made a bad decision but I didn’t give a s—. Road Salt’s ridiculous girlfriend who was wearing a ridiculous hat came up to me and in a very nasal voice, stuck a long, orange-painted index finger nail in my face and wheezled, “Nyoo the captain, nyah? Nyoo need to tell nyo bitches to shyat yap!”
I snorted at this — douchehat — and said, “I’m not the captain and I wouldn’t tell them to shut up. They’re not wrong. Your dude is out of line.” Douchehat tottered a bit on her stilt-heels, put a hand on her hip and assumed the natural defensive posture of a teapot.
“YOU GUYS! Stop it. Just stop it! Girls, STOP IT.“
This was our captain, who was still playing her match — and also had the lungs of an opera singer. I took a step back and glanced over at the table and couldn’t help but wonder what had happened. She had somehow managed to run out an ugly rack and was now shooting a straight-in eight-ball. What the f—? I guess my days as a coach for this team are numbered. “I’m almost done here, just stop it and I’ll deal with it!” The other team immediately began taunting her during her shot, but unfazed and powered by the burning of a million suns, she fired in the eight-ball with the thud of a falling sarcophagus lid. Immediately, our captain ushered everyone, except me and the scorekeeper outside.
The overall match score was 2-1, in our favor.
When my teammates returned (again), they were as calm as they could manage. Our captain said I would play the next match. The other team’s captain came over to compare scoresheets and said to me, “Oh, sorry. You got to play Loud Mouth. The talker. Sorry, he talks a lot.” Bring it on, Road Salt.
I was very still on the surface but I was plenty wired inside. I reassured him, “I don’t talk at all, so I’m sure it’ll be fine.” The other captain gave an apprehensive laugh and returned to his corner. Road Salt was still grumbling and I figured the easiest way to defuse things would be to make him play the match. I requested a Coke from my teammate, and we began the match.
It was apparent early on that Road Salt played the way he acted — with much sound and fury resulting in nothing significant. I was not immune to my own slightly-contained desire to f— someone up and so, our first game started out ugly. Someone kept trying to call me on my phone and the vibrations threw me off a bit. I missed the eight twice and on the second time, left him an open table with just two balls and the eight ball. I was spotting him two games on the wire to five, so this would be a dangerous loss. I took a deep breath and waited. I turned to sip my drink and was surprised by my teammates all standing very quietly, very still — in a line. Their faces were expressionless and they said nothing. Strange. Road Salt inexplicably missed the eight. My teammates looked at each other and one of them said gently to me, “Don’t forget to mark the pocket.” Hmm. Okay. I marked the pocket and made the eight. One game down.
My captain said to me, “Pack up, we’re leaving.”
I did not question this and put my cues away. I picked up my pocket marker last and we all headed for the door. The opposing team captain said he would walk us out to our cars to make sure we made it. I shook his hand outside and thanked him for being a nice guy. He apologized that the match did not work out as he had looked forward to playing our team.
In the car ride back to headquarters, I was told what had happened.
As my teammates had stood outside cooling off, one of their friends who was a regular at the bar came out and told them in unequivocal terms to stop talking and leave the premises. This particular bar had many regulars who carried guns and at least one of the people in the bar had a gun right then. Guns + Alcohol + Choice Words = Death. We were playing that bar’s team. It would be wise to get out alive while we could. This was also why the opposing team captain needed to walk us out to our cars. The persistent calling during my match was another friend telling me to get the f— out of that bar.
And yet, a sick part of me laughed when my teammates mentioned that they all agreed not to tell me about the firearms situation — or that we would be forfeiting the rest of the match — until after I made that one eight-ball.
I was on the bus home an hour later and we all lived to play another day.
. . .
The match and both teams are up for review with the league’s board. They will take what action they deem necessary. We may have to play the match again, but if we do, it will be at a neutral location.
|we now return to our regularly scheduled programming|
Here is the raffle so many of you have been waiting for — the FREE raffle. The best part is, there won’t be just one winner this time, there will be FIVE. Ready? Here we go!
- Numbers are from 1-47
- You get to pick ONE number
- Enter your pick in the comments section (and enter a valid email address so I can contact you)
- If someone beats you chronologically to your pick, you will have to choose another number
Once the raffle is filled, the next California Super Lotto drawing will determine our winners.
Winners will get a warm and fuzzy yarn keychain! You won’t know which one until you get yours in the mail, but they will be vintage video-game related. 🙂
The faster the raffle fills up, the faster we get around to doing the drawing — so pass along this post via the Facebook “share” and/or Twitter “retweet” buttons at the top of the post.
I will update this list as often as I can (when I have Intarweb Access). Please check the comments to make sure your pick isn’t taken. Also, your email address may not make it past the spam filter, so check to make sure I update the list with your name.
- 1. DocHutch
- 2. ctyhntr
- 3. Bombay Sapphire
- 4. purpdrag
- 5. PBat51
- 6. Michael Myers
- 7. anthony
- 8. LABikerCowboy
- 9. Ali
- 10. TimKrazyMon
- 11. hapa5394
- 12. Roy Steffensen
- 13. Captain Kimchi
- 14. the redeemed
- 15. Heath
- 16. rope_one
- 17. Wojtek71
- 18. Damon
- 19. AlMightyBob
- 20. Billiard Traveler
- 21. Tiddler
- 22. Mike
- 23. AndyofLA
- 25. Paintime
- 27. Doug Wu
- 28. gsm1sw
- 29. pvc lou
- 30. rheester
- 32. Michael Reddick
- 33. kbcnc
- 36. Joisey Joi
- 37. demonrho
- 41. pool minnow
- 42. katzenhut
- 45. cyrex
- 46. Hidy Ho
- 47. SixPenny