Monday, October 4, 2010

Pardon me, sir... would you like to eat that camera?

I hate to admit this, but I lost my cool during a match at Regionals over the weekend. Big time. Very possibly the most pissed-off I've ever been during a match.

After taking a loss earlier in the tournament, I battled my way up through the West side of the board and back over to the winner's bracket to find myself up against the guy that eliminated the person who sent me to the West side in the first place. He was a very tough competitor, probably the best I faced during the whole tournament.

Anyway, I got off to a good start and built up a decent lead. I was at the table with a fairly easy shot on the 7-ball, pretty much straight across the table into the side pocket... but it wasn't completely a walk in the park since the cue ball was on the rail forcing me to jack up a bit to get some stop for better shape on the 8. Other than that, it looked like I'd have a fairly easy run out.

I lined up, did a couple practice strokes... then, as I started my final stroke, I saw a bright orange flash out of the corner of my eye! I felt my body react - flinching mid-stroke, and I missed the shot. I looked over to find out what the source of the light was and saw that it came from some dude taking a picture with a camera phone. I don't think the light was supposed to be a flash per se, it wasn't a super-bright white flash... the geeky side of me thinks the light helps the camera focus in low-light situations, but the bottom line is it was directed right at me, bright enough to cause a distraction, and couldn't have come at a worse time!

I was absolutely livid, but fought back the urge to crack his skull with the butt of my cue (didn't want to take a chance at damaging the cue in the middle of an important tournament). I walked over to him and in a very reasonable tone said "that orange flash from your camera distracted me and very likely made me miss my shot."

And that's when I realized his clue train left the station some time ago. Instead of apologizing and immediately turning it off and putting it away like most sane human beings would do... he offered no apology whatsoever, made no motion to put it away and/or turn it off, and simply agreed with me that it could be annoying but he didn't know how to turn it off. He then proceeded to make some sort of "geeze buddy, it was only one shot" kind of remark and told me I'd probably still win. That's when I decided I needed to take a more direct approach.

I said, "No, you're not getting it. Put that camera away NOW. I don't want to see it again. Do not take any more pictures of me, period!" He reluctantly put it away, as if my request/demand was unreasonable. Meanwhile, my opponent was busy running out the remaining balls in that rack, so I also told camera-dude "that one missed shot cost me four points so far" and went to the table to rack the balls. My opponent broke, sinking a ball and ran two more before turning the table back to me. I felt compelled to give camera-dude an update "seven points now... but since those are points I should have had INSTEAD of him, it's really more like giving up double that, or fourteen points!"

Thankfully, I was able to get my head back in the game enough to win by a small margin. I went on to win the finals match as well... so I'm going to Vegas baby! OK, OK, I live in Vegas... but still, I'm headed to the APA 9-ball Shootout at the 2011 Singles Nationals!

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