To throw a tournament/Other stuff

I’m gonna start this post off with a golf story. Yes, a golf story. Deal with it =P besides, it’s not mine, but it’s something that attracted quite a bit of media attention, at least in the golf world.

http://www.golf.com/golf/tours_news/article/0,28136,1987664,00.html

Basically, two college-level golfers found themselves in the heat of the final of a tournament, and they were tied after 36 holes. The winner of the tournament would qualify to play in a PGA Tour event, as well as reap the rewards of taking the title. Grant, who is best friends with his opponent, Seth, had already qualified to play in the PGA Tour event from an earlier tournament, and decided to throw the tournament (lose the tournament on purpose) by hitting his tee shot miles off of the course so that his friend would have the opportunity to play alongside him in the PGA Tour. Both of them are about to graduate this May, and since this might be the last time they see each other for a while, Grant wanted Seth to be there one last time on one of the biggest stages that golf has to offer on the PGA Tour.

It’s a real feel good story, but I was amazed at the reactions of some of the people who read this story in the comments box. Many people were disgusted that Grant would throw away a tournament, and a lot of people said that their invites should be withdrawn because of this act. I mean, this just goes to show you exactly how uptight and crude the golfing community can be. The people said that their integrity was challenged, it disgraces the game, etc. Some people also said that if he were to throw the tournament, at least make it appears like he was trying even though his intent was to lose on purpose, and then tell him afterward. The American curling team did something like that during the Olympics, and it was much appreciated by the opponent, but Grant had a different idea. See, if he had played the hole regularly, and then told his friend that he meant to lose, not only would it have meant that Seth was really trying for nothing, but it would also make Grant look like the biggest pretentious bastard. The fact that Grant decided to throw the tournament in grand style, damn hear hitting the ball into the parking lot, eliminates any doubt and pretense of the act. On top of that, it also shows that Grant’s friendship with Seth means a hell of a lot more than winning a tournament.

What most people really disagreed with was the way they treated the title. Basically, Grant acted like the tournament meant nothing, which really hurts not only the tournament directors, but also the players who were hoping to win. Think about that, the field really tried like hell to qualify for that PGA Tour event, and Grant just lets someone have it. But honestly, it was an agreement between the two of them. They played better than anyone else that week, and the choice was up to them. The community in which they were playing was very supporting of Grant’s move, so nobody else should even think twice about it. This thing is similar to the Ryder Cup where Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus would rather not have the players (Tiger Woods and Ernie Els) duke it out any further since they had to play a big tournament in a couple of weeks, so they called it a draw. And this type of deal happens in sports all the time so as to give everyone the best result. In skateboarding, Bucky Lasek and Pierre-Luc Gagnon were the last two people in a competition to skate their final runs, and they were sitting at #1 and #2, respectively. The winner of the competition would received $30,000, while the runner-up received $10,000. They decided before their final runs to pool their winnings and split it down the middle, with each skater receiving $20,000. This would relieve the pressure of the final run and allow them to do their best skating without any negative consequences. In poker, if players at the final table have gone through long turmoil, they make deals the same way: pool all the winnings they have, take equal portions of the money home, and everyone goes home happy. So this practice shouldn’t be seen as a disgrace, but a great thing for sport in general. Giving someone an opportunity to do what they love for what could be the last time in their lives (Seth may not play competitive golf once he graduates with his degree in Social Work) is a really classy thing to do, and it should be heralded by the golf world as it was in the town where it took place.

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Speaking of tournaments, last Saturday, I finally came through and won a 90-man No Limit Hold’em Tournament! It was a 250 Play Chip tournament, which indeed isn’t the same as real money, but I usually use the play chip tournaments to practice not only my game, but also practice survival in tournaments as well. Now, when most people think about survival in tournaments, they associate that with playing tight. Now, this may not always be the case! Playing tight is a great idea for the earliest portions of the tournament, when maniacs roam about, but near the bubble of a tournament and beyond, you have to really start being more aggressive (since the blinds are getting to a threatening level for the short stacks), stealing pots wherever you can, playing hands in late position, knowing your odds, and just making the best reads you can from the information you have on the players. That means watching their betting patterns, getting into their head, and playing their tendencies. What and when they bet can reveal a lot about their games. Some people choose to lead out with min bets to probe, some people like to check behind on the flop when they’re in position (durrrr is one of the more famous practitioners of this tactic online), and some people are more adamant blind defenders. Knowing the player’s tendencies can give you better reads and allow you to be aggressive in their weakest situations. So even when you aren’t in the hand, pay attention to the action. Try to put your opponents on a hand, even if you aren’t playing it, just to see how they play, and if your reads are on.

So Mother’s Day just passed by, and this year was actually a pretty successful one for my family. My dad bought flowers and a card, and I gave my mom a card, along with a slew of baking material that she needed. After that, we all got ready, went out to DC to pick up my sister, then headed to Tysons in northern Virginia for dinner and a movie. We went to Gordon Biersch for Mother’s Day, which was awesome, although I have to admit, my singleness gets the better of me sometimes (the waitresses were all pretty people). Then afterward, we went to see Iron Man 2, which was great even though I hadn’t seen the first one. In fact, this was actually the first movie I’d seen in a theater since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Christmas Day of 2008. Yes, I’m lame.
The day had to be cut a little short because my sister was suffering from a sinus infection, and needed medication badly, so we drove back home to get her some penicillin. After the day was over, it was time to unwind =]

What do I mean by unwind? Well, recently I’ve been playing a game with my friend Kelly in an unnatural way. What we do we call each other via Skype, and play Family Feud on facebook together. It sounds lame, and probably really nerdy, but it’s the best way that I can spend some quality time with my friend, since we’re several states apart at the moment. But it’s been really fun, and we kick serious ass at that game. But I always try my best to keep in contact with people when they’re long distances away. With Steff, I started the Song of the Day to keep contact between us consistent (not to mention it’s also fun looking for new music to share), and I’m constantly competing with what appears to be half of my family in Bejeweled Blitz on facebook as well. Even though a lot of the people aren’t that far away, the fact that our schedules differ so greatly makes things complicated. I work every day from 7:30 to 4:00, don’t get home until 6 pm, and if you know DC, the traffic is awful by the time 6 pm comes around, so going to UMBC is relatively pointless since everyone is gone by the time you get there. It’s also incredibly difficult to meet people in DC when you’re alone! I mean, very rarely is there going to be that one chance one-on-one encounter with someone that turns into a really solid thing. Life here in DC is so fast-paced that meeting anyone is difficult. The fact that I hate mostly everyone from my high school doesn’t make things better. So it’s been a lonely island over here as it usually is, but hopefully some of my friends land big jobs in DC, and we can meet up more often! I haven’t seen one of my friends in over a year now, so it’s really long overdue. We’ll see!

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Wednesday, I went to see a doctor for the first time in what has to be a couple of years (this post is obviously late). I haven’t seen a doctor since I slipped the disc in my back in 2008, but that was also an impromptu, walk-in visit at the end of the day. I haven’t seen a doctor by appointment in much longer, probably since the year I started college (2005). This was also the first appointment that I’ve had using my new insurance, so everything was going to be crazy. The appointment went over well, although they sent me to the radiology department to get a chest x-ray, which was really confusing because I wasn’t exactly sure why I was getting an x-ray. To make things worse, I was also supposed to get blood work done that day, but the people in charge at pathology LOST my order for blood work! So I was sitting there a good extra 30 minutes, waiting to be taken in, only to find out that they never received anything. At this point, it was near 10 am (I usually get in to work around 7:30, so I’ve used about 2 hours of leave at this point), I was starving, and I needed to get to work. So I called it a day there, and hopefully, I can get the rest of the stuff done later this week, or next week.

Back to work XD

– Danny

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