The team has made it to the next round of playoffs! Read on for Captain Tim’s recap:
So what an unbelievable week it was. It took me 4 days of calling and pestering Will and Stuart to get us INTO the playoffs at all and finally on monday night – less than 24 hours before playoffs were to start – Stuart called me to tell me that he was sorry and an error HAD been made. He was actually really nice and supportive. We were supposed to be the 3rd seed, and we WERE in the playoffs. After a lot of calling around to tell everyone the good news, we found ourselves at the ACE bar on Tuesday.
I had talked to Kimba and Roger and Yorgo to discuss strategy, and I came up with the plan to start CJ and Kimba first, come out swinging with the thunder. Chin-Jin has been playing well, and he deserves to be playing anyhow after a light season. And Kimba is just… Kimba – not playing him would simply be stupid, and at the very least I consider myself a realtively smart monkey. It might put us in a semi-difficult situation as with Kimba and CJ playing it cuts out Yorgo, who has been MONEY practically the whole season. But I thought it was the right move.
WELL, we won the toss and opted to make them put up first. They decided to come out strong, which I thought was a good idea. George first, the 7. Now again, strategy comes into play. A good way to respond to this, as Eben’s team did against us the week before, is to put up a low number handicap against their best player (and with George, might actually be the best player in the entire league). This way, you are playing with house money, so to speak. You aren’t expecting a win, but you are getting their best player out of the way, and keeping him from hurting your good players or even your strong middle players who can then play against their weaker remaining players. And the way the balls might roll, you never know and end up with a win. It was Roger and Yorgo’s position that putting up Heather would be the best idea, while Kimba was convinced he could take George, and who the hell am I to argue there? So a choice had to be made. I was there, torn, right in the middle, seeing both sides. The wrong choice could mean disaster! Well, thankfully, you all have me as your coach, and I simply changed the rules and came up with a brilliant compromise.
In order to trick them and make everything work out to our benefit, I decided the best thing to do was to put Kimba up against George but SWITCH MINE AND KIMBA’S PERSONALITY. You may not realize it, but as well as a semi-professional singer, I am also an amateur neurophysicist and practitioner of the dark arts. This was just something I’d been working on recently and now seemed as good a time as any to test it out.
Now, this may sound totally impossible when you first read it, but when you review the match, you’re really going to see how it’s actually quite clear. Think of the opening match: Shooting a ball at the end of an impressive run but rattling it in and out and losing the game? Check. Playing too quickly and moodily to properly utilize your skills? Check. Missing an 8-ball shot and not taking advantage of mistakes by an opponent who appears to be in your head? Check. The thing is, I really wasn’t playing that badly, and had a real chance to set George down, but did you notice Kimba unable to close? PLEASE! Seemed familiar but… out of place, right? Yep. It was going perfect. I was afraid I had given myself away by screaming an obscenity during play – Jesus, I thought, that’s my signature move, I’ll screw it all up! – but nobody guessed the truth. So, the first part of the plan worked as George won 5-1 and Kimba graciously agreed to keep up appearances and seem as if he’d lost. My master plan was going exactly according to my master plan.
NEXT, it was CJ’s turn. He wanted to play early, and he was really really great about not being on the roster last week. The Ace Bar team put up who had to be probably their most dangerous player, a 3 who’s name escapes me at the moment, sadly. But he was a VERY good 3. He only had to win 2 games against CJ’s 5 to take the match. To me, this was the most tense matchup of the night. CJ, to his credit, played brilliantly. Never shooting too quick or out of his game and this guy he was against was sneaky scary good. I had some nervous moments when I was going to need to be coaching CJ AS Kimba, but if you noticed, Kimba would always talk to ME during those coaches. DANG I’m tricky. Anyhow, I can’t really recall CJ ever even having a scare against this kid he was playing, despite the fact that he scared everyone else on our team. CJ was perfect and now we were tied 1-1.
I had already told Roger than if CJ won he was up next. It’s been clear to me that Roger, despite his recent losses during the season, has been playing great – better each week – and really was a good bet to win. Also, the guy they put up was Gerik, another 4 handicap and a really great guy who totally crushed me last time and who I didn’t want to play. I mean, er, who Kimba didn’t want to play. Yeah. Anyway, I put Roger up and it was a race to 3 games. Roger, a good soldier committed above all else to making me look brilliant, continued to play well and got RIGHT into Gerik’s head. Our team is really peaking at the right time, and Roger displayed this. I don’t really even recall that he lost a single game, but in a feat of reporting that rivals the New York Post, I admit I don’t remember exactly. Regardless, he made Gerik work hard enough that he had no chance. A big big win, putting us one match from victory as opposed to on the down side.
WELL, now we had a choice to make. I figured that no matter WHO we put up, it was their 5 next, Helena, who is rather supertalented on her cut shots and also rather distracting because she’s rather beautiful. Now, a strategy that we all discussed was rolling the dice on our best remaining player and putting up Yorgo to close it outas we only had to win 3 matches and it’s over. The problem with that is that If Yorgo happens to get beat (and this is nothing on Yorgo – ANYONE can get beat), well, we’re effed, as anyone else we have would put us over the handicap limit and we’d be done. The safe play would be to put me up in order to play the odds against a loss, with Heather being left against one of THEIR remaining 3′s in that case.
At least it SEEMED like a hard choice, But remember, Kimba’s personality, consciousness, and pool skills were inhabiting my brain! Ha! So I put “myself” up and they did indeed counter with Helena. The first game I put together a really good run to start and the game was over rather quickly with me victorious. Again – did you see the calm demeanor, the thoughful progressions, the fact that I wasn’t acting like Tweak from South Park? It’s so obvious now, isn’t it? The second game I was playing well but was unable to get a shot on the 8-ball before Helena did. However, perhaps intimidated by mine, I mean Kimba’s, I mean…. Oh whatever. Perhaps intimidated by her opponent’s play, she was unable to made a hard cut and actually knocked the 8 into the wrong pocket. Bad luck, but I took it, believe me. The third game I played pretty well and made just about my only bad shot of the entire match by rushing an 8-ball at the side pocket, missing. Luckily, I got another chance on an even thinner cut into the corner that I liked better and WE WON THE MATCH 3-1!
We played great, and I think the only game losses were Kimba’s against George. I really want to thank Vikrum and Heather and Yorgo for hanging out and being so supportive. Yorgo got in his former team’s head just by being there; Heather – despite having all KINDS of work to do for her new job – hung out in case of the need to bring down the hammer and save our @sses in the last game as she always does; and Vikrum was just his super-supportive self who managed to keep score for me when I got too tweaked to even be in the room when others were playing.
ON TO THE FINALS!