this post sponsored by MMCA
I recently played a two-man tournament for a decent sum–nothing too crazy, just something to remind me of the joys of sparring mano-a-womano. After six-and-a-half hours, it was hill-hill and I lost. It had been a fantastic, gritty, grueling match to the end and about a half-dozen people lasted through the whole thing. As I was leaving into the early dawn, one of the half-dozen stopped me.
“We were talking over there and we think your shoes–your shoes might have made you lose.”
As often happens with some of my matches, there had been considerably more bet on the side than had been thrown in the middle. This dude (and maybe the other dudes) had maybe bet a little (or a lot).
I will never get away from a match–win or lose, before or after–without commentary judging my choices. “You didn’t practice enough.” “You did too many drills and now you can’t play naturally.” “You shoulda played safe.” “You shoulda went for the shot.” “You shouldn’t even have played, you couldn’t win, how could you not know that?”
Those are to be expected.
What I never expected to hear as a gambler was judgment on peripherals.
Oatmeal and coffee: “That’s all you’re going to eat?! That’s not enough!” Four fried chicken legs drizzled with honey, a side of coleslaw, two biscuits, and a Bloody Mary: “You’re really gonna eat all that?! You’ll get too sleepy!” Sixteen shots of varying levels of artificially flavored alcoholic sweetness: “What the fuck are you doing?! You can’t play drunk!” Wearing jeans: “Those jeans are too tight, you won’t be able to stretch for shots.” Wearing leggings: “Won’t you be cold? You’re always cold. You’ll freeze.” Wearing sweatpants: “Why are you slumming it? Didn’t do laundry?”
This is why I always bet my own.
So I can do, wear, eat, drink whatever the fuck I want.
If this dude had got in on the action, he could only have done it on the side. He probably lost money and was a little irritated by it. Still, it was nice that instead of commenting on my play, he only disliked my choice of footwear. I’m sure male gamblers must go through the same song-and-dance explanations with their side bettors. I gave him the best betting advice he could ever receive.
“Don’t like my shoes? Don’t fucking bet.”
Progress is rarely achieved in a day or a decade.
Baby steps, man. Baby steps.