Sour Grapes Makes Great Whine
By John Newman
A purple streak heads down the sideline at the snap of the ball, Randy Moss working against man-to-man coverage provided by the first-year cornerback. The kid's fast, very fast, and is all over Moss like a blanket. His heart pounds as he realizes he can't be beat, that he's got this icon of touchdown kings smothered like peanut butter on toast. He's been a star all through school, but this is "The Show" and life just doesn't get any better.
Warp speed now as they reach the goal-line and there is slight, incidental contact orchestrated by Moss. Where once was nothing, a two foot gap magically appears between the two. A perfectly timed leap, a roar from the crowd, and Moss is dancing in the end zone, taunting the rookie. The kid walks back to the bench shaking his head where the defensive coach tells him not to worry, he was beaten by a better player and to learn from it.
Similar scenes arise in almost every competition imaginable. Eric Bristow pumps a fist into the air as his last dart slams into double tops to win the World Championship. Tiger Woods does the same as his curling eighteen-footer drops to clinch yet another title. My friend Lisa sticks her tongue out at me as her last tile closes out another game of scrabble. In almost every case, it is the winner who does the chirping. Only in poker does the vanquished feel the right to spout.
"How can you call two bets on the turn for a gutshot straight?" I'm asked by the gentleman leading until the river drowned him, his voice dripping with venom. The fact that there was $260 in the pot at the time told me it was worth twenty for a shot at the nuts, but I hesitated before educating yet another ATM as to the simple math involved. Instead I shrugged, mumbled something about "being due," and let him stew in his own juices. It dawned on me at that moment that I could use this type of emotion to my advantage. Let him think I'm a lucky fool, in fact, let's stir him up some and see if we can get him on tilt!
It worked wonderfully and to this day I relish the sweet "whine" of victory. I no longer feel the need to display my superior knowledge, to gain whatever respect I may have felt as I explained the intricate and sometimes foolish thought process I went through in making some winning plays. Instead, I'll analyze the whiner and see if I can turn his emotion to further my own good. More often than not, the player is merely venting his frustration at the gambling gods and a simple "shhhhh...I'm stackin' yer chips here" is enough to shut them up. But occasionally you'll find the right guy, the one who needs just a little push to go over the edge.
I don't know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy the player on "tilt". They make horrible decisions fueled by anger and very rarely go on any kind of winning rush. Instead, they spiral into oblivion, losing pot after pot and, in most cases, the pots seem to go to the one that put them on "tilt' in the first place. It's almost a surreal experience, like the other players have somehow faded from the table and it's heads up and speeding towards an inevitable end. Time stands still and you look down and see many more stacks than you started with as the "tilted one" walks away.
If you are a "chirper," stop and think. Did I lose to a superior play? It's important you be honest with yourself here. If the answer is yes, LEARN from it. If it's no, why would you want to scare away an inferior player? If you're an educator, please, stop right now. You're costing both of us money. Learn who you can push over the edge and enjoy the feast. End zone celebrations are optional!
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