Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Great Domino Blast Of 2009

Jose looking on


Yesterday the 8th Annual Skid Row Housing Trust "Slamming the Bones," tournament was held. I've quoted from the flier announcing the event. What it means is that a domino tournament was held with residents from all of the hotels participating.
I usually take no notice of this event which has been occurring just a little longer than I've lived here, mainly because I don't know how to play dominoes, have no interest in learning how to play dominoes, have never been incarcerated long enough to learn how to play, and quite frankly find these types of armature festivals a bit garish and condescending, as well as discriminatory. Why discriminatory? It's because the tournament is only available for those who know how to play dominoes, that's why.
Yes, an opportunity to learn how to play was provided. Last Wednesday at noon a lady was to arrive at our hotel to teach those who wanted to learn how to play dominoes the game, and my lovely case manager, Erin, forced me to go. So how can you say the tournament is discriminatory in nature Rick, if those who were interested in participating and didn't know how to play were given the chance to learn? It is because in the fifteen minutes (the lady was a little late in getting there, and I had a meeting at the Produce Hotel at one) Erin, Paul, and I (apparently everyone else in the hotel knew how to play) were instructed I realized that dominoes is not a game one can play well, and expect to win, especially in a tournament setting, without having a great deal of experience in playing. That is why again.

Besides, dominoes originated in China and is thus an obvious commie plot to overthrow the nation.
So the question remains why doesn't Skid Row Housing Trust choose a game that everyone can play, considering cash prizes were being awarded, in the amount of $100, $75, and $50, for the the best three players, and "A Certificate of Appreciation," to everyone else. And a T-shirt! Why not Bingo, or Tiddlywinks, Mahjong, or Blindfolded Pole Vaulting? Good question!
Well we have had bingo tournaments. I've even participated in a couple of them. But the disparity in the prizes awarded is nothing short of monumental. You win at bingo and you get a overnight guest pass, a bottle of shampoo, and a box of kleenex. Basically the prizes that were left over from the Fourth of July party. You don't even get a freaking certificate of appreciation, let alone a freaking T-shirt.
Anyway, enough of my bitching. I am genuinely happy for those who were able to participate (who got T-shirts and certificates), and I congratulate the ultimate winners, who as it turns out, were from our sister hotel, the Olympia.
Yesterday at about ten in the morning I was busy working like a little devil in my box, when Jose appeared magically at my door. I usually leave my door open from eight in the morning until about nine at night, so it wasn't hard to see him.
"See what I got," he said. He was referring to the drab green T-shirt he was wearing, which had the words, "8th Annual Skid Row Housing Trust "Slamming the Bones," Tournament," stenciled on it.
"Wow, that's great, Jose. Who gave you that?"
"Erin gave it to me."
"She did, huh."
"Are you going to come down?" he asked me.
"Ah, I don't think so, Jose."
"You're not going to watch me play?" The usually reticent Jose knows how to play dominoes, and was talked into playing in the tournament by Paul.
"I thought they were going to start at the Olympia," I told him.
"I don't think so. Erin said we were starting here at eleven thirty."
"Well, I'll come down then and see what's happening, Jose."
At the appointed time I came down to the lobby. All of the six players were there. Jose, my neighbor from across the hall, Daryl (who always calls me Jim for some reason, mainly because I've never bothered to correct him), Fred, Nikita, Walter, and one black lady I didn't know the name of. Rodney was down there, but he had the good sense not to play. Erin soon appeared and handed a T-shirt (freaking T-shirts, man) to Nikita.
"Hi Rick," she said.
"Hi Erin."
It being a SRHT affair, everyone was waiting for Tianna and Paul to return with the actual dominoes. So the eleven thirty tournament began at around noon.
Jose was paired against Nikita, an elderly black gentleman who has literally never ventured out of Los Angeles for his entire life. Daryl and Walter paired off, leaving Fred with the unnamed lady.
Chips, cookies, and soda were provided, which ensured Robert made an appearance. Erin and I basically just observed the players. Dutifully I watched Jose and Nikita battle it out, not knowing what the hell they were doing. Nikita won the first round of the best out of three match. Daryl and Walter got into a huge argument over some issue, and Erin, not being proficient in the game enough to referee, had to call someone on her Iphone to get clarification.
Jose won the next two rounds and the match. Daryl beat Walter, and Fred won out as well.
Next, Fred, Daryl, and Jose played. Daryl won the first game, elevating him to be one of the two champions from our hotel. Jose and Fred played, and Jose lost due to a tactical error that gave Fred 50 points, from which Jose never recovered.

The tournament for the time being halted, Erin sat down to practice playing with Daryl for awhile.
"Don't let that sweet, innocent face fool you," I warned Daryl. "Not only is Erin a mathematical genius, she'll go for your jugular the first chance she gets. She's been deemed 'The Maiden of Death' in some quarters, you know."
My friendly obligations to Jose now complete, I returned to my box and to work, while Daryl and Fred waited for the winners from the Rushmore Hotel to show up, and their match.
For some reason I returned to the lobby in the midst of the match. Daryl and Fred won the first game, and they were playing the second when I arrived. Erin sat in watching closely between Fred and one of the two players from the Rushmore.
The play was loud and raucous. A little too much so for my taste, but I wasn't playing.
The guys from the Rushmore won the next two games straight, eliminating our hotel from the finals which were to be held at the Defiance Space.
The guy from the Rushmore who Erin was sitting next to told her appreciatively, "You were my lucky charm."
"Don't say that," she told him.
"Thanks a lot, Erin," I told her. "You were that guys lucky charm and now were out of the tournament."
"I was not a lucky charm! I wanted to punch him!" A lot of espirit de corps our Erin has.
Everybody took off then for the Defiance Space for the finals except me, who had work to complete in my box. Someone has to be responsible.
I finished my work, then moseyed over to witness the festivities. Everyone was there. I've never seen the place so filled with people. Several tables were filled with players slamming the bones. Erin was serving pizza when she wasn't busy getting calls on her Iphone. All the case managers from the different hotels were around watching the players, including my friend Demitri. Jose was there playing an unofficial game with Daryl, Fred, and Hardy. Over a hundred people in all.
I refused to have any pizza as a protest to the discriminatory nature of the proceedings. No one cared, so I returned home to my box.
Jose has promised to teach me how to play dominoes.
I want a freaking T-shirt, and a freaking certificate!

No comments:

Post a Comment