Monday, September 21, 2009

Galveston- F.I.D.O.

Well I dogged the whole five blogs in five days thing. Shit happens. That is my new outlook on the pool world as a whole. Amused detachment. Because if I actually spend too much time thinking about the state of the game I get too pissed off and cynical. Take for example this past Saturday. I am in Galveston for this end all be all million dollar extravaganza trying like hell to keep an open mind. I had spent all day and most of the night in the tournament room on Friday so I was unusually tired Saturday. I was looking at some of the reaction online to the fact that all of the pre event bullshit about $50,000 first places and other failed promises seemed to not bother anyone in the least. Or at best a very few.

So I started thinking about things and kept reading the responses some of them by people who's opinion I give some weight to. I started to get mad. I mean pissed. What the fuck is wrong with people in this industry? In my entire life I have never seen a more ethically challenged business and lower expectations from customers and people involved. I really started to get worked up and started to seriously ask myself some hard questions. Is this what I want to invest my life in? Do you really want to be in a business where the bar is set so low that flat out misinformation is accepted and overlooked? In a business where a little bit of money spread around can absolve any and all past transgressions because every one is so hungry for any scrap they can get?

I had a long talk with myself and I didn't like what I was coming up with. Then I kind of calmed down and realized that despite the metric tons of bullshit that seems to cover the ground everywhere you look in this industry there are some very bright points and even some inspiration. I also realized that pool is no different than any other business when you get right down to it. If you look hard enough in any business you will find the bullshit and less than ethical behavior. It just seems to be so readily accepted in pool and that is what really bothers me. I believe we get the game we deserve, If we do not mind bullshit falsehoods and inflated claims then guess what? That is exactly what we will get until everyone makes up their mind that it has to stop.

For anyone who has not been keeping up with the latest AZ Billiards Forums hot topic (how dare you fail to be hardwired into the pool intarweb!!!) The World Classic in Galveston promised $50,000 for first place in the Open 10 Ball event and the Amateur 8 Ball Team event. The way they presented it on their website was that the entry fees would be used to payout the fields while the top heavy first prizes would just magically be there. Anyone who asked the rather simple question of "How?" was branded a naysayer and too negative. Well fuck that. It is a logical question and one that evidently the promoters couldn't come up with a viable answer for because guess what? Those $50,000 guaranteed first places turned into a $22,000 added 10 ball tournament and $9000 for first place for the team events. The ten ball event is bullshit but I can almost stomach it. It is a respectable added money event. What puts me on mega-head spinning-puppy kicking-TILT is how in the fuck do you explain going from $50,000 guaranteed first place to $9,000 in the team event????

Yes the promoters put on an event. Yes they lost an asinine amount of money to do it. Yes it was probably the best one pocket field in the last 10 years. They deserve credit for all of those things. They also need to explain beyond "At least we did something" why after 6 months of non stop hype when the rubber met the road shit changed drastically at the last minute. If they don't at least address it then I will never support another one of their events. I am sure that will not keep them up at night but you know what? It will allow me to sleep a little better knowing that I at least put my money where my mouth is. I passed by the promoters in person a couple times in Galveston and debated just asking them "WTF?" but in my state of mind I would not have done any good. I don't really care why they didn't pay. They didn't seem to care about all the people trying to figure out how it would work so the hell with it. It's their chicken they can fuck it anyway they want to.

The spin has already started and the "At least they are doing something" crowd is going to win the day and sometime in the near future a bunch of pool players and fans are going to go to another bigger than life event and get one broke off in them just like always. You know why? Because at least they are doing something.

In this my hopefully last Galveston themed blog post I would like to share the conclusion that I came to that Saturday in my hotel room. I realized that while the industry is fucked up like Channel 4 (you know that one channel you had when you were a kid that would never come in right? The one with Super Friends on and you never could get that shit to tune in) it also is what I love to do and has let me meet some amazing people and do some awesome things. I realized that as bad as things sometimes seem they are not pull the pin and see what's next bad. There are some wonderful honorable people in this business. Whenever I get down about this industry and lately it has been a lot I have to remind myself how lucky I am. Then I refer to my time tested personal motto that has carried me through many things more jacked up than anything the pool world can throw at me and that is: F.I.D.O.

Fuck It Drive On.

Ok. Now that I have all the maudlin shit out of the way time for some funny road stories from the event.

Friday finds me back in the bleachers with my main sweating buddy at this event Bill "If you don't play 14.1 you can kiss my ass" Maropolis . Somehow the topic of total spectator capacity came up and we figured it to be about 1800 give or take. Then Bill went on to compare the events VIP spectator amenities to other events. You see Bill is the Efren Reyes of pool spectating. Its not even close. The rest of the world gets 9-7. Bill has a collection of VIP passes going back to the 70's. He has been to more events than Simonis 860. So he knows what a good VIP seating arrangement is supposed to be like.

He begins to pontificate on the situation: "Well the bleachers are pretty high to start with but the biggest problem is I don't have a table. How can it be VIP without a table? Where am I supposed to eat my chicken strips? Where am I supposed to set my Taco Bell?" all very valid and hilarious points. He then mentions that he feels a little silly for firing $200 at the "PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE" when there is often no one even looking at the passes to begin with. I agree with him that this would cause me some annoyance would I too have donked off a similar two bills. I joke that he was probably the only guy who sprung for the entire event PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE. I joked that he probably had number 001 on his badge. We laughed and then he said through the chuckles "You know what....when I went to pick up my badge at registration I told them my name and that I was here to pick up my PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE and they said " you are the one. We have been waiting for you." I literally cried laughing.

So naturally I asked Bill to see this now mythical and certainly one of its kind credential. He pulled it out (I thought heard some faint noise in the background...almost like angels singing) and showed it to me. It was beautiful in all its majesty. Then I noticed something at the bottom. It was a number. That number? 101. I told him that I bet they started the numbers at 100 like checks. Bill agreed. We both cried laughing.

Some pics of Bill and the only known Galveston World Classic PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE in the known universe.

Right after the above gutbusting laughter session happened I overheard this little exchange that I can only describe as hilarious and somewhat typical:

Pool Player: "Hey Alex. I got a story for you. I get busted last night and pawn my cues for $500. Then I get in a game for $500. Win that and then get in another one and win two sets at $500 each. So in a few hours I go from being broke and pawning my cues to being up a $1000. What do you think of that?"

Alex Pagulayan: "Can I borrow $500?"

A pic of Alex and Scooter. This is the picture in the dictionary under both action and donkey.

Sunday I went out to dinner with Shane and out of the blue he says "You know how many guys have won the US Open more than once?" I started naming names but he knew exactly who had done it. Me thinks the kid has his sights set on Virginia. Shane is one of those guys I mentioned earlier who is one of the good guys. He is a hell of a champion and a great person for the game. Kid is pretty funny too.

Off to L.A. tomorrow for TAR 16 Dominguez vs Morra.

What I am listening to:

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