I've been going to the Dallas "Meet Up" for Cribbage since mid-November.
You may remember I wrote about it here.
I love love love this "club".
I love the game, I love the people, I love (some of) the food they serve at the venue.
Mostly I love the interaction with these people though.
It's mostly a group of (older) gentlemen (one guys 96!), some upper-middle aged and a few younger aged.
There are a few of us ladies that sprinkle in and make it entirely MUCH more fun.
Cribbage, if you didn't know, is actually a game played professionally for a lot of money.
"Points" earned every week at these meet ups count towards a grand total that rank you not only in your group, but nationally.
I think I could confidently say I am well liked in this group.
I play for fun, enjoy the banter exchanged between play, laugh a lot and am kind to one and all.
Even the pissy, grumpier old men.
Who I have won begrudging smiles from with my attitude (and maybe a little lip.)
They just remind me of my grump.
Who, honestly, I adored.
The organizer of the group, Brock Lee (say it together really fast and try not to laugh. He was special forces, he will use those skills against you) has taken me under his wing from the beginning; teaching me how to count properly (no thanks to you, grump!), how to throw "strategically", etc. He often plays beside me as we make our rounds of the tables, watches my hands and discusses with me after I've played how I could have improved upon what I did (if needed, sometimes I play brilliantly.)
I still make mistakes, miss points, don't follow ALL of the rules (mostly because I am unaware of them and whomever I am playing don't really care to inform me of them). But over all, an acceptable player.
With the stage now set ... Let the drama unfold.
This evening was like all the others, I arrived before the actual "tournament", played some "free play" with Tonya (whom I am joining next week at the firing range before we head to Cribbage, bring on the fire power!), talked up a few people, greeted a new guy, blah blah blah.
As most nights, Brock grabbed the seat beside me as "serious" play started.
I didn't play that badly ... the cards were just that bad for the first ... oh ... FOUR games. I lost them all.
To me, it was a whatever, like I said - I go out for fun and because I like the people not because I am all about getting ranked nationally or earning points or whatever. Seriously, it's not like I am going to travel to Reno to make my "fortune" ($10k grand prize) doing this in the "World Wide Tourney" (no, I'm not kidding - it really happens!)
I know there are some people in our group who take this seriously - Brock for instance, and another player Rich. They are or have been ranked nationally. Seriously intimidating.
My fifth game was against Rich. Generally a good guy, but gets extremely pissy when he's losing.
We're playing along. Much to my surprise, my luck is changing and I am keeping a decent lead on him.
Which means he's already glowering at me and being unjustly abrupt.
I get a certain hand, I contemplate how to throw my "crib". Toss two cards. Before Rich has tossed his two cards, I change my mind and alternate the ends I am pulling from.
Rich, an official American Cribbage Congress judge says nothing, though I know he has witnessed the switch.
We do the flip ...
I end up getting a 1o point hand. No bad.
Then I turn over my crib.
Between when I threw, he threw and the turn card - I have a 24 point hand (the highest you can get is 29).
He becomes absolutely infuriated.
We finish the game, I "skunk" him. He needed "points" this week to stay in the top 10 nationally ranked, apparently. Without that win, he dropped in the standings.
Then he tears into Brock infront of a group of other players about cheating and abusing trust ... blah blah blah. I guess he thought Brock had given me some kind of signal like a cough or nudge or something which is why I changed my hand. If Brock actually had done something I was so unaware - I pretty much ignore him while I am playing. Besides, even if he WAS trying to signal me - I have no idea how he'd want me to throw cards. He plays logically. My version is more willy nilly.
He doesn't stop there. The last few games he goes on to tell one and all about what "went down" and how I am a cheater.
If I was a different type of person, as these people (laughingly) approached me with these "accusations", I would have either become infuriated myself or hurt.
It's a really good thing that so many people at the club like me and think I am a good person, because his accusations, as a more "seasoned" member and an ACC judge could be really damning. And hurtful.
I did address the issue, asking him how it was I was a cheater, when he saw what I did at the time and didn't say anything. How if Brock did indeed make some sort of ... gesture or whatever, I don't pay attention to him for heaven sake. Etc, Etc, Etc.
If the turn card had been different, if RICH had thrown into my crib any differently ... it would have been a crap crib.
Him losing his standing in the ACC was simply a bad slip of luck.
No conniving on my part.
Funny as it may seem ... my life is so dull, I actually had a little fun getting so worked up.
I also learned I have friends in this club.
People who without pause took my side.
Knew that isn't the kind of person I am.
It's a good feeling.