Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On To The Next One(after being pissed off)

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.

“Good ma-”

“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.

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