The shot from the seven to the eight ball was perfect. The seven fell, whitey bounced off the rail and glided behind the eight, like a shark sizing up it’s prey. After a bad start and a back and forth struggle, the match was mine.
As I got up from the shot, I saw my opponent throw up his hands in disgust and turn towards his watching teammates. I didn’t smile, I didn’t gloat; I didn’t do anything other than look at him and announce:
“Eight-ball, corner pocket,” gesturing towards the intended pocket. It was a short shot, the calling was just a necessary formality: we were playing nine-ball, and the eight ball was my additional “game” ball since he had a higher handicap than me.
The shot was called. I leaned down, softly sent the eight-ball home, and got up to shake my opponent’s hand.
“You didn’t call the ball,” he said, cutting me off.
I blinked. Was he serious?
“Yes I did, I said it right to you.”
“No you didn’t, I was watching you the whole time. I never took my eyes off you,”
“Dude, I know you did because I saw you throw up your hands when I got position on the eight - and I called the ball.”
This fruitless exchange went back and forth for another minute; exasperated I said I’d talk to Chris(the league director) and ask what we could do.
Walking to the front of Amsterdam, I passed Mimi, who tried to talk to me. I put up my hand and said something like sorry I’m in the middle of a dispute with my opponent1 and marched right past her. My jaw was tight, my teeth were clenched, and my shoulders tense. I was pissed.
Chris’s ruling didn’t help: since I hadn’t physically marked the pocked(with a coin or something), and my opponent hadn’t acknowledged my call, it didn’t count. I didn’t win.
Now, I got credit for the eight ball, and it was still my turn at the table. That was the good news. The bad news was I still had to make the nine to win, and since I didn’t think I’d be shooting the nine, I’d left myself a very long cut shot.
Angry, but trying to remain calm, I returned to the table and reluctantly told my opponent he was “right2”, apologized, got down and slammed the fucking nine ball into the corner pocket anyway. Game, match. Fuck. You.
I silently took apart my cue, got my things, shook his hand, and went to the bar. A few minutes later, my opponent gone and my teammates around me, I recounted the tale, still very angry.
“Damn, I need a beer.”
“Fuck that guy,” Alex said. “You still won, yeah, you make me shoot again? I’ll win twice, asshole!!” he said, laughing.
I smiled. We had done pretty well that night.
Still, the experience left me sour. Next time I play that guy, I want to destroy him. If he still has to give me a ball, I’ll ignore it and beat him anyway. Then it’ll be on to the next one.I used that phrase as an excuse to post this awesome video:
1Or, as I call him now, asshole.
2The way a rules-lawyer can be right, but still be wrong.