Snow, slots, pool! It’s the infamous US Pool Players Association (US PPA) Tournament a few years back in Reno, Nevada.
Tony Annigoni, Tony Chohan and a huge cast of pool characters are dressed in the most interesting garb, playing twice a year events. A little guy is here that shoots almost standing straight up, then “jumps” back after he hits the ball. The entire Rakin clan is here. There’s a young girl who bobbles her head back and forth like a metronome while lining up her shot. A guy with a big belly guy and suspenders reels you in with his, “I don’t play very well,” then runs over you like a cement truck. A host of other regulars is also here.
This old girl goes to each and every one of these, always determined to do better, go further, get smarter and—hopefully—win some money back. I’m cutting my teeth on higher stakes tourney play.
Now, “Joe” (named changed to protect the guilty) attended each of these events too, and that’s where the trouble started. I start watching Joe because no one could be present at one of these events and not know Joe was there! Loud, boisterous, sharking, intoxicated, obnoxious…you name it. I’m thinking, “Please don’t let me draw that dude.” Fortunately, I didn’t—at least not at this event.
Although there were many run-ins with Joe, these stand out because no one else at this event had the (ahem) balls to confront this jerk! I’m sitting on the sidelines, sweatin’ matches. I glance to the right, down the lane of tables and see Joe playing against some young, leggy kid with complexion issues—and Joe is standing up behind the kid while he is shooting and sharking him. Of course the kid misses the shot, and Joe runs out.
I glance at the score—hill to hill, race to 7. Joe has gone to the bathroom for a break. The poor kid looks distraught. I just couldn’t help myself. I am seeing red. I feel bad for the kid. I’m pissed!