This ends up being a truncated recap. We were expecting to do the whole C Bracket last night at the Rhythm Room, but Alex texted me 30 minutes from start time to say he wasn’t gonna make it due to dog illness. Oh, not HIS dog. Not Eileen’s dog. No, we’re talking about Eileen’s sister’s dog. Is that the craziest excuse for getting out of playing at the Rhythm Room?
You see, two days ago Alex put out an email to the group suggesting we move the tournament to my place because of the low lighting. But nobody said boo about it except Thies who supported playing at the bar. Other than that crickets. So the conspiracy theory that was floated last night suggested Alex concocted this crazy sister’s dog story to get out of playing there.
You gotta love a good conspiracy theory. It’s not quite JFK level, but it’s funnier.
So the sick dog meant Eileen was helping out her sister with the pooch while Alex had to stay home to watch the kid. Unfortunate on multiple levels. So I made the decision that it didn’t make much sense to have the #1 seed forfeit. That’s no fun. Nobody wants to win that way. So we played all the games up until someone would have to play Alex. Worked out for Liverpool who wasn’t gonna make it, and was gonna have to forfeit but now gets his chance to play Alex afterall at some future date TBD. So here’s the games that WERE played.
Quarters: #3 Yosh vs. #6 Brach
Without question the most intriguing match of the night was the very first one. Some notes first.
-Since Alex wasn’t there, we were only gonna get four matches in, so we just booked one table. I would’ve been able to watch all the matches, but I got really into trying to get tickets to the Ben Folds / Cake show at the Greek Theater in September when I found out Brach was going, and I missed a good chunk of the best match of the night. FYI, tickets near them were selling for $176/person for seats they paid less than $50 for. I love Ben Folds and I really like Cake, but that’s a lot. Fucking Stub Hub and your fucking extra fees. And fuck the corporations with their fucking bots that buy up all these tickets and sell them across all the resale sites with algorhythms that automatically adjust the prices to max out value. It is such a racket, and way worse than the sketchy dude selling you tickets outside venues that are illegal while this shit is somehow okay. It’s such bullshit.
But I digress. Not bitter.
Moment of zen. Find your happy place.
Okay. Moving on.
– Turns out you can ask the Rhythm Room to brighten the lights. Who knew? We only found out cause sometime during this match they dimmed the lights. I knew it seemed brighter than it was on Saturday. So I asked them if they’d turn the lights back up on the Ping Pong section, and they said no problem. It was still dark, but less dark than what A played in.
– Several people asked where the spot was that Keegan called interference on the stationary guide rail on Saturday. That got some reactions when I showed them.
– Rhythm Room is the rare bar that has Sailor Jerry’s but doesn’t have Captain Morgan.
When Yosh and Brach played during the regular season, Yosh won in straight sets. The games were close. 22-20, 21-15 and 21-17. But that was before Brach went full two-handed. 2-hand backhands. 2-hand forehands.
It’s so fascinating to watch him do it. You thought it was crazy when Feeney was doing the 2-hand backhand. Brach never takes his hands off the paddles after the serve.
Nobody’s used both their hands this gratuitously since the Mexican standoff scene from The Office.
There’s no denying it. 2-hand Brach is just a better player than solo hand Brach. And with all the space to swing at the bar, he was landing amazing shots one after the other. Yosh didn’t have an answer.
Yosh gave us some intrigue after Brach won the first two nailbiters when he won 21-14 in the third game. A possible 0-2 comeback like we saw on Saturday with Ethan. But Brach squashed any hopes in game 4 and completed the upset. It was the only upset of the night, and the only match that didn’t end in straight sets.
Quarters: #2 Andy vs. #7 Thies
Although Thies has been in the league 5 years now, I’ve only played him twice previously. They were both sweeps. And this one went the same way.
Even though it was lighter than Saturday, it was still pretty dark and you could see the clear difference between the two sides of the table. The side closest to the back wall is just so dark it’s really hard to pick up the ball. We moved the table over a little to get some more light, and amazingly didn’t get harrassed about it by the bar.
Thies started off well in the third game, opening 6-1 against me, but I was able to put it away in three.
Quarters: #4 Spike vs. #5 Dot
I really thought this one was just gonna be great. The 4v5 usually is. When they played this year Spike won in 4 but the games were pretty close. But Spike came into the tournament on a 3-game winning streak including the final game of the season an upset over Alex, and he’d won 5 of his last 6 where it was the exact oppo for Dot, on a 3-game losing streak, and having lost 5 of his last 6.
The first two games were not close at all. And Spike ultimately won in straight sets. Spike did not get to play another game as he’ll have to wait for Alex vs. Liverpool to play and then he’ll meet the winner in semis.
Semis: Andy vs. Brach
I started off on the dimly lit side, and it was a struggle. Brach’s 2-hand cross-court smashes all go off the right side of the table and are super hard to return for a lefty. I also had trouble with his backspin serve which I hit into the net several times and had to adjust to.
He went up early and maintained the lead throughout almost the entire first game with leads of 13-8 and 15-10. I was able to make up ground on my own serve, so it was just about trying not to fall too far behind on his. I made my run at 17-12 and tied it up at 17’s before he retook the lead, and I tied it up again at 20’s. And I was real fortunate he hit a shot a little too far at 22-21 and I escaped with a W.
On the better lit side I felt much more comfortable slamming shots and hitting placed shots on the edges to take it 21-8. Really felt like night and day on the other side of the table.
I positioned myself a little more to the right side for the third game to prepare for those cross-court smashes and it helped a little, as I was able to return a couple of them. It was a tight game again. I finished it in 3 and will play in finals against either Alex, Spike or Liverpool.
Next up is the completion of the B tournament on Sunday. Corey will be waiting in the finals for the winner amongst Steve, Matt, Bama and Clint.
And we’ll find a date to finish out C.