There's Someone Out There Better Than You

I love cliches.  I had a good one illustrated to me by my father when I was a kid.  My dad grew up poor in Memphis; he has these dried, gnarled bricks for fists and, according to my aunt, he once ended a fight by picking up and tossing a guy over a wall.

Dad underplays all this, of course; that's just how he is.  Anyway, the two of us meet this guy at a car dealership, and Dad spends some time talking to him.  He was fit, but small - maybe 5'5" and 135lbs. - and nothing much to look at.  As we're leaving, Dad looks at me and says, "You know what, Brent, no matter how tough you are, there is always someone out there tougher."

I missed the point for a moment, before it hit me, "Him?  That guy at the dealership?"

"Yup," he said.  "That's him.  He's killed more people than smallpox."

I was kinda shocked.  "Tougher than you, Dad?"

"Please.  I wouldn't fight that guy for any amount of money.  He might kill me on accident."

We're luckier than that in our hobby.  The worst that might happen to us if we throw down with someone tougher is taking a blow to our ego.  In fact, one of the best ways to improve your game is playing your local veterans.

I think we all have a relative idea of where we stand on our individual, local scene.  How does that translate - or does it at all - in the national scene?  It's sort of a fad now to claim that such a thing doesn't exist, but I think it does.  It's not well-developed, maybe, and there are plenty of people who choose not to compete... but it's there.

What's my point?  I have two.

The first is that recognizing someone's achievement in a large tournament doesn't take anything away from your achievements.  In discussions all over the blogosphere this year, I've read over and over again that such-and-such a victory means nothing because *enter reason here*...and doesn't that really translate into '...had _I_ been there I totally would have won.'  That kind of ego is false pride, and does nothing for you - even if it were true, what's the point?

The second is this: failing to recognize you can improve will pretty much assure you won't.  I'm good at this game; all things considered, if I bring my A game nobody out there is going to run me over; win, lose, or draw.  On one of my favorite sites, I've seen it said more than once that this dude can beat almost anyone is 30 minutes.  I choose to believe that's exaggeration for effect, as even top-teir players struggle to beat their peers.  Hell, why else play? 

The thing is, that's not me.  This year I've accomplished several of my goals, but I also had to recognize the areas I needed improvement in.  (If you're curious, that's primarily consistency and list-creation.)  My goals this coming year are to improve further and play some of the top-tier guys in the regional tournaments and, hopefully, earn a place in Vegas.  I'm lucky to play at a store with lots of great players, and it seems several of them may be interested in tournaments this coming year. 

Remember how this post started?  There's a guy out there who is THAT good, the betting man's odds-on favorite to win any tournament he enters.  So I sent him my list, which he ripped apart.

(To Be Continued)


Herr Fernseher said...

Public venues usually have two types of security. The ones that wear "security" shirts are usually tall and look as if they are still eating as if they were still playing high school football. These guys are there to intimidate the punks and handle the lightweights. The second kind of security guys are usually small enough to have a napoleonic complex and move like sharks through a crowd. These guys scare me--they look they're itching for an excuse to break a bone or let some blood. Usually by the time the manager gives them the tap, the mad-dog security doesn't even say a word before dishing out the violence.

I've always hoped that my unpainted army would be more like the second type of security--an unsuspected threat. But I don't think I'm winning enough to intimidate anyone. (Stupid Hawks.) :D

Green Blow Fly said...

You know it's going to be very hard to earn a trip to Las Vegas. You will be facing at least 49 other players and you will need good matchups even if you happen to be the best player there. I reckon the last two rounds of the upcoming Indy GTs will be something akin to Ard Boyz. Luckily there will be sportsmanship and painting scores so WAAC players will have to be somewhat polite. I personally am not setting my goals on reaching Vegas and am planning to focus on regional events and running my own two GTs next year. I am as competitive as the next guy but with all the factors weighing in to reach Vegas I just don't think it's a good idea to get my hopes up. Personally I also have my reservations that regional Indy GTs will tend to favor locals... I've just seen it too many times to know it's not random. It's tough being the away team when the stakes are high. I've read a lot about many of the Indy GTs held this year and to be honest many of them seemed to have some problems. It's a lot of money for most people to travel around the country and play in these events... Should be very interesting to see how it all pans out in the end. I liked it when you could simply pay a registration fee and play at. GW GT, it's not that novel of a concept really.


Brent said...

I recognize the wisdom in what you're saying, GBF. From what I understand, you've been to a lot of larger GT's and Indy's so have seen firsthand the things I've only read.

I've got some thinking to do. I played a game tonight and was pretty grouchy, which isn't that usual for me. No matter what, I don't want to lose sight of why I enjoy gaming. Competition is part of that, but not the most important part.

I think I'll amend that to participating in as many regional Indy's as I'm able, improving the consistency of my performance.


Jwolf said...

We're fortunate to have a good number of 40K GTs in Texas this season, with Alamo and Lone Wolf both adding 40K events. Almost all the 40K events on the GW schedule for the Southern US are in Texas (or maybe all of them), so you won't have to travel that far to get your chances.

Evil Homer said...

I think our local community will be sending groups to several of them.

Green Blow Fly said...

From what I have heard there is a good chance an Indy GT will be added to the circuit for the southeast. I think that would be a good thing.


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