TAR and LOATHING in Las Vegas

TAR and LOATHING in Las Vegas

TAR25 featuring Mike Dechaine vs Dennis Hatch and TAR30 featuring Darren Appleton vs Shane Van Boening had an unholy union.

It spawned TAR31 featuring the respective winners, Mr. Dechaine vs Mr. Van Boening.


I have heard interesting things about this Mike Dechaine. I have heard he is a good player, but most of all, I have heard he is an asshole. I personally witnessed some of his behavior of dubious quality briefly at an event in 2008, but that was five years ago and a lot of things can change in five years.

Just prior to TAR31’s kickoff, Mr. Dechaine talked a mile a minute and the most interesting bit I caught was him saying, “I’ll try not to be an asshole. It’s hard, though!” Chuckles all around, ha-ha, ha-ha, ha.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Dechaine makes fun of Mr. Van Boening for cleaning the balls, saying he is becoming like [fastidious ball cleaner and professional player] John “Mr. 400” Schmidt. Mr. Dechaine exudes an impressive amount of douchebaggery in this photograph with just his posture, no?

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Dechaine continues to give Mr. Van Boening crap for cleaning the table. His cheeks here and their accompanying expression are exceptionally punchable, like risen bread dough.

Amongst his many complaints, Mr. Dechaine constantly nagged about the microphone. He did not want to wear it. He did not like it. Why did he have to wear it. Did he HAVE to wear it? Why? How come Santa didn’t bring him a pony? Did you know the Easter Bunny was a piece of sh#t because he only brought him sugar-free sweets last year? And the Tooth Fairy? F#ck that dude, he’s a gossamer-winged nit.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

Here, Justin “Cat Herder” Collett patiently shows him how to operate the clip attached to the microphone, and then attaches it to Mr. Dechaine’s collar for him. This is a good thing. Mr. Dechaine is one of those people who might accidentally strangle himself putting on a clip-on tie.

This is Mr. Dechaine’s customary pose when playing Mr. Van Boening: listening to his own music whilst in the chair.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

He and the chair became best friends.

During the halftime break, Mr. Dechaine went outside and talked about how the only advantage Mr. Van Boening had over him was the break. When one person suggested Mr. Van Boening also played excellent patterns and pocketed balls well, Mr. Dechaine disagreed.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head oh, hey — new pockets!

These are the new pockets on TAR’s table. They are now factory-standard 4-1/2″ wide. Previously, they were 4-1/8″: see picture below for comparison from very first Studio match back in 2011, TAR21, featuring Alex Pagulayan vs Shane Van Boening.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s cheeks

He would look better if he wore a top hat and a monocle, don’t you think? Like a pool playing Mr. Peanut.

Mr. Dechaine could not keep up with Mr. Van Boening on this first day. Mr. Van Boening won with a score of 27-17

The post-game interview wherein Mr. Dechaine gives us all his excuses verified facts as to why he could not defeat Mr. Van Boening.

Shane Van Boening smirking at Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Van Boening looks on with his patented “He Can’t Fuggin’ Beat Me” smirk.

You cannot see the audience, but most of us were scrambling around blindly during this interview. We had rolled our eyes so much they popped right out of our heads.

After the cameras were turned off, Mr. Dechaine continued to tell Mr. Van Boening about how the match was all contingent upon the break. Mr. Dechaine said, whilst flogging a dead horse, that if the pockets were smaller and Mr. Van Boening did not have such a good break, he would not be winning.

Unfortunately, the break is part of the game. As Mr. Collett said, “Saying Shane wouldn’t be so good at pool if it weren’t for his breaks is like saying, ‘You wouldn’t be so good at basketball if you weren’t so good at basketball.'”

Shane Van Boening testing the density of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Van Boening was unable to convince Mr. Dechaine that “not missing” would also have helped his chances of winning.

Later on at dinner, Mr. Dechaine continued on his tirade, thereby making everyone frustrated or miserable. Dinner was good, when Mr. Dechaine was chewing.

At one point, Mr. Van Boening told Mr. Dechaine, “The break is the key.”

He also told him, “People don’t pay to watch you miss.”

A new day, a new beginning.

Today, Mr. Dechaine informed Mr. Van Boening when he arrived that he had been practicing the break. “Good,” Mr. Van Boening responded. “You’ll need it.”

Shane Van Boening smirking at Mike Dechaine’s head

Don’t you just want to shove an apple in his mouth and truss him up in a roasting pan?

Mr. Dechaine then proceeded to complain about Mr. Van Boening’s request to warm up on the table. I don’t even know how this became an argument, but it seems Mr. Dechaine was somehow displeased at Mr. Van Boening’s proposal that they alternate two racks at a time for practice. Mr. Van Boening eventually gave up and let Mr. Dechaine have his way.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

this is a picture of the back of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Dechaine looks annoying in this photograph. I have never met someone who looks annoying in every picture. Fascinating phenomenon.

Mr. Dechaine took the early lead today but did not keep it. At halftime, the score stood at 20-7 in favor of Mr. Van Boening.

During the halftime break, Mr. Dechaine decided to berate me and my two friends for making noise. Specifically, he wanted us to know that the three of us texting on our phones and laughing at him to shark him was “brutal”.

Although we may have whispered once or twice, all three of us are serious pool players and none of us would make noise to shark either player. Furthermore, the music in the studio was very loud, and I doubt he even heard us. He probably just saw our lips move and assumed we were talking about him. He implied that we were texting each other negative things about him. Because, of course, everything is about him.

One of my friends wasn’t even watching the match. She was online shopping on her phone, scrolling through the catalogues of online stores and whatnot.

My other friend didn’t check his phone more than two or three times, and neither I nor my other friend was texting him.

Of course, that leaves me. And — as Mr. Dechaine demanded I confess — I was texting. Why? BECAUSE I WAS POSTING SCORE UPDATES FOR THIS GODDAM MATCH.

I said we were not out to get him and he told me not to get defensive. He repeatedly said he “wasn’t mad” but I pointed out that if he wasn’t mad, why did he keep harping on the subject. He must be best friends with Scott Medeiros. We went back and forth on this point for a bit. I stayed calm although I did not appreciate his dickery.

I play competitive pool and could empathize and sympathize with his current situation. Here he was, down 20-7, on a live-streamed match. Any way you look at it — that sucks. But, I admired him for playing well (he has a great knowledge of speed control, kicking, and multirail position — I assume he must play excellent three-cushion) and playing on this daunting kind of stage at all. Although I wanted to punch him in the face more than anything, I did not. Instead, I offered him my support.

I told him I wanted to see him play well and win.

As a true pool nut, I did not cheer for either player. I simply wanted to see the best match possible and I wanted to see them both play their best. I told him he was playing better than yesterday and I wanted to see him win so I could watch a third set between them.

His response?

“I’m gonna lose anyway! Look at the score! Just look at it!”

Oh, wow.

As disconnected with reality as Mr. Dechaine is, I realize I am just as disconnected. I am not a professional player and that is why I enjoy watching professional players. Their mechanical and mental games are far above what I have. I come to watch them make the creative shots, the impossible kicks, string together racks and racks in ways I can only dream of and even when I’m dreaming, I’m not playing half as well. I come to watch them make the incredible comebacks when victory seems impossible. Their mental games are honed and strengthened beyond those of us mere mortals. They fight and never give up, thereby giving the rest of us hope and an example of what a true competitor should be and what they can accomplish. Watching them compete makes me a better player, a better competitor, and I love the game more afterwards.

Then Pumpkinhead Peter Griffin comes along to ruin my idealist opinions of professional pool players as true competitors (I know, they should have been ruined far before but, hey — I’m an optimist as well as an idealist). But, I must concede the point: Mr. Dechaine knows Mr. Dechaine’s game best. If he declares he cannot win, that he has the heart of dead horse, who am I to argue?

Still maintaining composure, I said that even if he believed we were making noise we’d make noise even if Shane was shooting. He pointed an accusatory finger here and said, “Ha! You ADMIT IT, then! YOU ADMIT IT!!” Seriously, WTF. I stayed calm and said I merely wanted to point out we were not favoring his opponent or specifically here to shark him, since that seemed to be what he was thinking.

Whereupon he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “It doesn’t matter if you make noise when Shane shoots, he can’t hear you. HELLO?! HE’S DEAF. HE CAN’T FUCKING HEAR YOU. Try to come up with a better example.” He swaggered off, pleased with his own intelligence.

Oh, wow.

I looked at Pumpkinhead Peter Griffin and only saw the broad side of a barn. That is, I could throw anything at it, including a punch, and would not fail to hit it. My hearing began to fade and my knuckles got twitchy. My friend nudged me. It woke me up and I looked at her, “I’m going to go outside now.”

I walked outside and said to the assembled smokers, “Now is Mike Dechaine always an asshole or is he always an asshole?”

I received the response, “Are you kidding? This is him on a good day.”

And then, because I wanted to be fair and thorough, I asked Mr. Collett if what Mr. Dechaine said was true, that Mr. Van Boening could not hear anything. Mr. Collett negated Mr. Dechaine’s assertation, saying that Mr. Van Boening has his hearing aid on at all times during the match.

Ah, so.

I concluded Mr. Dechaine was simply looking for someone to blame and abuse for his poor performance in this match. As a sometimes highly emotional competitor myself, I understood his situation keenly, and felt sorry for him.

When the match resumed, we gave Mr. Dechaine the absolute silence he claimed had been denied to him. It did not help. Despite an admirable five-game rally while Mr. Van Boening was on the hill, Mr. Dechaine was not able to close the gap and ultimately lost, 27-12.

Last I saw, Mr. Dechaine was insisting Mr. Van Boening play him another set on a tight table the next day. Mr. Van Boening declined.

“Are you scared?” Mr. Dechaine sneered.

“No,” Mr. Van Boening replied. “I’m going shopping.”

in conclusion

Here is a selection of statements by Mr. Dechaine. My thoughts are expressed below utilizing the dramatic emoting of the Internet’s current favorite feline, Grumpy Cat.

Many people have compared Mr. Dechaine with Earl Strickland, another excellent player well-known for becoming unhinged. In terms of artistic merit, these two are even: they both ramble on and on and on until you want to punch them. In terms of technical merit, however, Mr. Strickland has the edge with multiple U.S. Open and World Championships. In closing, Earl > Dechaine.

We’ve all seen bestiality now (and some of you paid for it! and some of you liked it!).

as sent to Justin Collett from Shane Van Boening

TAR31 was a horsef#cking for sure, and now I know why Mr. Douchaine is a giant asshole.

He is a giant asshole because that’s what it takes to accomodate the business parts of a large horse.

Out of all the TAR matches I have attended, I enjoyed this one the least and the main reason is the Pain From Maine Known As Dechaine. But, it’s all right. I did get to see some good play, even if it was mostly one-sided.

Although I find Mr. Dechaine to be yuck, this is based only on my experiences, and your mileage may vary. There is no doubt in my mind he is a fine player and a fine person to others. I completely understand that existence since I live it myself. As long as one is aware of the consequences of one’s actions, one may live however one wishes.

Thanks to Mr. Dechaine’s early exit from TAR31, my friends and I had an extra day to traipse around town. Here’s the gist of it, and many thanks to my generous friends who keep me in food and drink so I can throw all my disposable income at a pipe dream called “glory”.

At the usual truck stop on the way home, there is a pool table. We saw it the last time we were in Vegas, for TAR30, no less.

This time, it was gone.


t h a n k s winner winner tiny chicken dinner
EMCA | BGAZ | ATCA | Justin Collet & The Action Report | Mark & Sunny Griffin | Andy of LA
first time hello & hello again
Mr. Kane | Amy & Tim | Stacy | Mr. Dechaine

douchaine, for reals