Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Grinch

"Be careful Kris, those heels do hurt!" Chris joked. My opponent for the night, Maureen, was wearing shoes that could conceivably be used to murder someone. A tall, older blonde, she seemed pleasant enough as we walked to table six to start our match. A little cold, but - so far - she hadn't done anything to warrant the warning I'd received a week earlier.

She was just getting warmed up.

The first game didn't go her way, and she stamped her feet, slammed her cue down, and cursed my good luck. Her luck wasn't an issue, because - as any Grinch1 will tell you - her luck was actually skill, or karmic justice. She was getting hot early, which usually that spells doom for anyone - and it did, she lost eight-ball 1-3. I didn't play great, and I was still winning. She wasn't as good as she thought she was, which can also lead to disastrous results(I speak from personal experience here, pool is game where it (usually) pays to be humble).

Nine-ball went more her way. After dropping the first game to me(in which she tried a hard bank on the nine and left hanging for me - more 'luck'), I made the nine on the break - but scratched. This prompted her to say "You are one lucky dude". Apparently missing out on a one-shot victory qualified me for charmed status. What a grinch.

I made a mistake that game and she won. The next, she fluked in a two-nine combo.

That wasn't luck, though. If it was luck, maybe she would have smiled at her good fortune, offered an apology of sorts for it(which 99% of players do). But it wasn't luck. It was deserved retribution from the Pool Gods, obviously, because her stoned expression as the nine bounced around three rails before going in an unintended pocket told me that she had actually planned the entire shot. Why she couldn't plan extraordinary shots in advance every time she was at the table...well, that's one of life's great unexplainable mysteries. Probably has something to do with her being such a grinch.

But ANYWAY, she won nine-ball 4-2, largely because I let her attitude affect me and I played poorly. So we went to a tiebreaker, and in the interest of fair disclosure, I did win the flip, which is a bit lucky.

I picked eight-ball. And I ran out my second time at the table. And that, Grinch, is not luck. That's me kicking your ass.

Mean Maureen, as my teammates and I later dubbed her, packed up and left in less than five seconds. In my two seasons at Amsterdam, that was a first. Even if I won 7-0 or lost 0-7, we would chat a little. Make some small talk, wish each other luck in the future - you know, act like sociable, well-adjusted human beings.

Not grinches.

"Well, thanks a lot for that," I told Chris after reporting the match result. "That was load of merry-fucking sunshine."

Chris slowly shook his head. "If you're going to play competitive pool, you've got to get used to all types. And she's not the worst...but yeah she doesn't like losing."

I laughed. There's worse? I can't wait.

1Grinch = Bitch.