Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Chapter 4 - Australia and Italy vs England

Chapter EntriesDaniel Casadio2 Comments

Chilling out in my little house, the view doesn’t get old and I don’t understand how 10 seconds ago there was sun shine but now it’s raining. Make up your mind Inish Turk! 

I wrote this blog:

‘Do you want to have a game?’ I said confidently. The two English men looked at me. Analysed me and then with a slight grin agreed. ‘Heads or tails?’ I asked, they both agreed on heads. I tossed up the coin, everything went slow motion. I’ve just watched these two English men absolutely kill it last game when they were vsing their friends. At least I’ve got Pedro on my side, he said he plays quite a bit of pool and I can’t play to save my life. The coin fell back into my hand and it was… I actually had no idea, I’m still learning what the Euro coins look like. But yet I still had to act confident like I knew what I was doing. Can one still be confident and not know which is heads or tails? Of course not. I froze.

There is a 50% chance of me being wrong Dull DC thought, Dull DC come on, look at the glass half full. You’ve got this! Optimistic DC thought. I know what we’ll do Cheeky DC thought.
‘It’s tails, we say you break’ I firmly said and quickly put the coin down so no one could see what it was. Cheekiness always wins.

We had a horrible start to the game, I wasn’t hitting anything. Literally. I gave them two shots at least 3 times in the first 10 minutes. Then Pedro slotted in a nice shot and hope started to become more visible, maybe we could win this. After all, we were sinking bigs, and bigs always win. That’s my mentality anyways – see how much of a rookie I am, when it comes to pool? Then Andrew (one of the English men), hits two smalls in the same pocket. He then sinks the last small ball quite easily and then it’s just the black ball left for the English to win. Would we leave the community centre with any of our dignity left? Andrew slams the white ball fiercely into the black, and the black reacts violently and goes directly into a middle pocket. What?! How was that even possible?! Angry DC thought. The English men Andrew and William (I can’t remember his name, I’m horrible with names. But he did look like a William) had huge smiles, no one could wipe off.

I was so upset, I had let down Pedro. I went to the bartender because bartenders are the new counsellors. I drank away my sorrows with my best friend Guinness. ‘Best of 3?’ William said in a joking manner. I looked to Pedro, I don’t think he really understood that concept because he’s still learning English. The choice was up to me. I so thought all my dignity was taken away from me, but my best friend Guinness was really encouraging and was there for me when I needed him. I took one more gulp of my best friend and agreed more confidently than ever.

Pedro broke and sunk a big. Pedro sunk another one! He was confident, I was confident and there were good vibes everywhere especially as Andrew and William realised how much of a mistake they made. They sank a couple smalls, we then sank a few bigs. Whenever we sank a ball, I would celebrate with my best friend. Now, many friends back home would know that it doesn’t take a whole lot of alcohol to affect me. Some would even say that I’m a ‘light weight’… and… well, it’s completely true as much as I try to deny it.

It came my go and the table for some reason was moving a little bit. I lined up my shot, eyed off the white ball and I felt like the white was moving all over the place. I slammed the white ball as hard I could and somehow after a few bounces off the wall, it sunk a big in the middle pocket! I rejoiced but kept it to a cool rejoice because I was ‘meant’ to do that. After a few more very lucky trick shots, the crowd (2 or 3 observers) were quite impressed with me. And the impressiveness escalated as I sank the black ball so swiftly and easily. We won! Pedro and I embraced and the crowd roared!
Amongst all the chaos of celebration, everything went quiet as I thought. How did you do that? You’re not that good. Self-conscious DC thought. Then it clicked. The encouragement of my best friend, it must be! That’s the source to my power! I walked over to my best friend, grabbed him in one hand. ‘So, it looks like this game here wins it all eh?’ Andrew said. I looked at him, I analysed him and then with a slight grin I said ‘you break’. I finished my best friend with a massive gulp and slammed the glass on the table! This is it now.

Australia and Italy vs England in the Inish Turk Community Centre Club Grand Final! It felt like everything in my life has led up to this point. Andrew slammed the white ball into the pack of bigs, smalls and black. The balls went everywhere, the atmosphere and mood started to intensify. It was a fast pace game, with balls flying into other balls, other balls bouncing off the walls and the occasional ball falling into a pocket.

The game was pretty even from the start, then there were 3 bigs, 3 smalls and a black ball left. We were bigs yet again and it was my turn. I smashed the white ball into the pack, 2 of our bigs travelled quite closely to a corner pocket. They were set up quite well, but my eyes starred in horror as the black ball moved quickly going into another corner pocket. Don’t do it. Slow down! STOP! Begging DC thought. The black ball started to tire as it edged closer and closer to the corner pocket. Then the clouds cleared, the sun light busted into the room and the black ball stopped right on the edge of the corner pocket. I kind of started breathing again.

The England International Pool Team then slotted in two smalls, which only left one lonely small ball left. Pedro’s turn was next. He lined up his eye sight with the white ball with the first big ball that was set up. He sank the first ball quite easily and as the white ball reacted to colliding to the sunken big ball it somehow sank the other ball that was set up! ‘It was the shot of the tournament’, people say to this day. Pedro confidently lines up the white ball with the last bigs ball. The white ball fires away and makes contact with the lonely last bigs ball, Pedro knew it, The England International Pool Team knew it and somehow even non-breathing DC knew it. The last bigs ball falls into the pocket and we are one away from winning. Lots of anticipation, dramatic and intense words later Pedro hits the white ball, the white ball hits the black ball and the black ball falls into the pocket.

Sorry but I was running out of descriptive words to use. Nevertheless, WE WON! Our dignity came back because we stole William and Andrews.

I can’t believe I just wrote 1215 words about a pool tournament. But at the end of it all, it was a great afternoon talking to these English guys, giving them crap for being a West Ham supporter and hearing little bits of pieces of their own life adventures. They seriously were top lads. Thank you for a great afternoon Andrew and William! I apologise again William for not remembering your name.

To any concerned readers, I am not an alcoholic, my best friend is not Guinness. We are just acquaintances. … Na, maybe good friends, he’s that tasty here.  

You have your ups and downs when travelling, sometimes things get a little tricky, hard and don’t go your way. For me personally when things don’t work out how you thought they would, it makes a bigger negative impact then if I were at home. Because if I had a bad day, it’s easier for me to retreat to somewhere familiar and stable. Whereas when travelling I don’t really have that kind of stability and nothing is ever familiar. But its afternoons like these that remind me of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
To be more adaptable, to have more stories to share, to not settle for less and to try and be more courageous. ‘Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane and absolute courage’. Matt Damon says that quote, so it’s true. Matt is never wrong.

A courageous 20 second adventure. That’ll make a cool Chapter title down the road. We shall see hey.

But for now, the adventure continues… as does yours.