Why don’t they make movies about pool players? That’s a question for later in this article. For now, all I can tell you is that at the Envato Melbourne Office Tournament, pool is a full contact sport!
The smack-talk is so intense, it makes the one-inch-punch look like Reiki Massage. It’s 95% psychological out there. A sea of boos can make the most hardened triathlete soft and gooey in the middle. And that’s exactly what happened at the final of our mostly-annual, bi-annual pool competition.
John Barton of GoodFilms, formally the Marketplace Dev Manager, sized up against the head honcho, CEO of CEOs, Collis, “l’Apostrophe”, Ta’eed. Only one could triumph, but both were cut of stuff stronger than steel…. spiderwebs I think. Collis has been playing in pool competitions in Sydney since before you, dear reader, were born! John on the other hand, has a chip on his shoulder the size of your mother, and he’s not afraid to use it.
John had a good week until this point. He started by playing a best-of-five against a very serious contender, Glen Maddern. After winning three straight matches, he laughingly agreed to play the final redundant games, only to wipe the floor with Mr. Maddern, his partner and CEO of GoodFilms, again and again. Glen held back his tears, and we believe they are still in business together. Good for them!
Collis had a different start. His group round left him pitted against Skellie ‘The Skeletor’, in a very early stage of the game both he and Skellie had dealt out the pain on unsuspecting players Chendo and Julian, and now they found themselves in a pool game that had nothing to do with pool! That’s right, it’s psychology. Weren’t you paying attention?
Collis had a very serious advantage though. Through some sort of special “rule” (ask whichever numbskull thought these rules up) if Collis were to loose to Skellie, he would have the option of a rematch!!! This, and nothing to do with how the balls lay on the table, was the straw that broke Skellie’s back. She faltered in the first game. Collis did a little dance, and marched into the Quarter Finals.
Matt, our token Frenchman was the next to succumb to John in the quarter finals. A late arrival, and shoehorned into the most contentious group, Matthieu “Don’t Call Me Mathew” Aussaguel cut through Chaman, Jordan, Stuart and April like a hot knife through Camembert. Some said Chaman was in with the best chance, having vastly understated her abilities. Matt showed us otherwise, having lost to Chaman once before, invoking the aforementioned “rule”, he beat her handily the second time around.
In the end, John showed him who was boss, like a boss! Matthieu is believed to be in training for the next tournament already, typing twice as hard as normal to strengthen his fingers, and giving menacing looks to anybody who might put up some opposition to his rightful place on the trophy’s Champion’s list.
Now, if you look at the half of the champion’s board Naysan “The Informant” Naraqi competed on, you’d be forgiven for wondering how Nase had any trouble with Collis, given his amazing run in the group stages. We’re all wondering the same thing. Perhaps Nase threw the game, out of fear of beating the CEO. We’ll never know… but we’ll always suspect!
Collis had only one more player standing between him and the Final Round. Unfortunately for Mark, that somebody was him. Mark is trained in at least 4 martial arts and can paralyse you in three moves, but none of these skills were any help to him on the sweat-splattered felt of our unlevelled proving ground. I can’t remember how this game went exactly. I assume I have repressed the memory.
Nemeses can come in many forms, and for John, his Nemesis was Pete “The Little Prince” Yandell. John taught Pete everything he knows and some had feared that the student had surpassed the master. Still, how did Pete even get there? He’d used Machiavellian cunning in the early stages, casting doubt on Dave “The Bastard” Goodlad’s parentage and egging various parties on, in the hopes of bringing down their whole house of cards.
Some say Pete didn’t play a single game of pool. I know I never saw him play. Nonetheless, his alibis swear he played and who’s to say they’re lying, even if they’re now riding shiny new bicycles! To add to this there was Rodney “The Black Hole” Blackney. Blackney tore his group a new pool pocket, then mysteriously contracted a disease (which had all the hallmarks of the plague) forcing him to forfeit his game with Pete. He turned up the next day with no pock-marks whatsoever!
Well played Pete. Well played. In the end, John defeated Pete, and we all took a night’s rest before the Final.
So earlier, I asked you why they don’t make movies about pool players. The answer should be clear at this stage…. There’s too much, y’know, psychology! The final was no exception…..
The winner of the Eden Cup gets to hold the cup on their desk until the next Competition. If John were to beat Collis, he’d take the cup out of the office, where none could bathe in its splendour! Anyone familiar with The Ashes trophy will identify with this sentiment. Anyone unfamiliar, well, it’s a trophy that created a rivalry between Australia and England that will burn long after we’re all gone. With this final pool match looming, you could hear whispers of “The Ashes” throughout the Envato office.
John could not win! We’d never live it down!
Collis beat John in the first two games of five, but John drove through heavy heckling and even booing to snatch the third! John needed to win the next two games to bring home the cup and glory! Collis knew this and focused like a laser on his fourth game. You could hear his heart beating a few metres away and the sweat on his hands glistened in the limelight. When he potted the black, everyone cheered, but moments later we saw the monsters we had become.
A game like this can only come once a year because it makes even the most timid employee’s blood boil when it does. We’d been baying for John’s simmering blood but had forgotten ourselves in the process.
This year the Eden cup will grace Collis’s desk for all to see…until next year, when old rivals again shall meet!