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A little summary of facts, to help clear up some perceptions / misconceptions
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Lightbulb A little summary of facts, to help clear up some perceptions / misconceptions - 08-20-2019, 08:13 PM

Hi folks:

After being stuck in McCarran Airport (Las Vegas) for 24 hours due to the mass delays and cancellations caused by the storms across the U.S., I finally made it home. Now I can use a real workstation -- and not a &^%$#@! phone touchscreen -- to respond to people and threads.

I wanted to first thank everyone for the overwhelming support over the past couple of days once the AzB readership became aware of this situation. I am honored that when I left AzB several years ago, I left with a positive reputation and was remembered. Thank you, all.

Second, I'd like to enumerate a couple of things to help clear up any perceptions and misconceptions about, oh, say, what the 9-ball team "Five Ball Combo" was about from the very beginning, what my involvement with the team was, what happened during Regionals, what happened during the APA World Tournament, etc.
  1. Let's first look at Bill Jackson's intent when he created the team. Back in 2017, I wasn't in the APA at all. I am mostly a pool hall player that plays in a local traveling league in Danbury, CT. (Danbury, CT, for those that may not be familiar, is very close to Brewster, NY. I live in Carmel, NY, which is the next town over from Brewster.) A good friend, Jon Goncalves, was playing in the same local traveling league system I was, and reached out to me to let me know that his friend, Bill Jackson ("Willy Cornbread" here on AzB) was looking to put APA teams together that consisted solely of players that just wanted to play, without wasting a thought on such things as skill levels, handicaps, etc. In other words, sandbagging-free, handicaps be damned, Vegas be damned, "we're here to play and play our hearts out." Bill and Jon both were tired of the stigma attached to playing in the APA and wanted to do something about it -- even if it were just locally, and even if it compromised the team's ability "to go to Vegas." The below screenshots are the original conversations that Jon and Bill had with me to introduce me to their concept. (Apologies for the redundancy in sentences where one screenshot ends, and the other begins -- these were taken from a phone.)

    Conversation with Jon Goncalves:
    Part 1 of 3:


    Part 2 of 3:


    Part 3 of 3:

    Conversation with Bill Jackson:
    Part 1 of 3:


    Part 2 of 3:


    Part 3 of 3:
    Yes, I know, this is for the 8-ball team "Break & One" which is not the team that competed in the APA World Tournament. (Bill and Jon both know I dislike the game of 9-ball.) However, the same intention was used to create the 9-ball team that IS the topic of discussion here. Remember from my earlier post that the bar we play out of, "Tom and Jerry's Irish House" in Brewster NY, had both its 8-ball and 9-ball team win at the Regionals in Albany NY, and that the captain of both, Bill Jackson, had the unenviable task of choosing which one should go, with the 9-ball team being the one chosen. The 8-ball team thus received the cash equivalent of winning the Regionals. There were common/shared players on the 8-ball and 9-ball teams (players that played on both), so these common/shared players -- out of the goodness of their hearts -- pooled their 8-ball winnings together and paid for the Vegas trips of both myself and one other player that did not play on the 9-ball team, so that we wouldn't be robbed of going to Vegas. (That in itself speaks to what this team and players are about.) So those two players were team-shirted spectators for the 9-ball team, "Five Ball Combo."

    There should be no doubt about the integrity of the captain nor of the team.

  2. Let's talk about the local average player level here in the Brewster/Danbury/Carmel/etc. area. It is quite high, and the level of ability of the APA skill levels here (e.g. 2/3/4/5/6/7... etc.) may not match other parts of the country. In other words, a player playing as, say, a skill level "5" may actually be a better player than a "5" in other parts of the country. Right in this local area, we have players like Jeremy Sossei, Phil Davis (winner of the 2019 SBX Amateur Open championship), Dave Gavrish, etc. The high level of play here tends to re-establish what, say, a "5" or whatever skill level packs.

  3. There's this rumor going around that one player on Five Ball Combo in particular, Ryan Parker, "is some 638-rated FargoRate player that no way in hell should be a '6'." We just love Internet sleuths who make assumptions without knowing what in the heck they're talking about. First of all, all those sleuths needed to do was look at the location of that particular "Ryan Parker" and notice he's located in *Massachusetts*. Our Ryan Parker is located in Danbury, CT, which is all the way on the opposite (western) side of Connecticut away from Massachusetts. Kudos and a shoutout to PBIA Instructor Anthony Marcino -- "Tony_in_MD" here on AZB -- for helping us understand who in the heck this "638-rated Ryan Parker" is that was being confused with our Ryan Parker in those rumors.

  4. Let's also talk about the equipment we normally play on during normal league play. What's the adjective or description I want to use? To be politically correct, it would be "less than stellar." We play in bars -- including our home bar -- that have tables that are beat-up, constantly moved and flipped on their side to make room on the floor for a band that's playing there that night, and on non-level, moving floors (e.g. floorboards over a void and they move with a creak). Our players have learned to hit the ball crisply to override roll-off and make sure they pocket it. (There were some comments about how confidently and crisply our lower-numbered skill level players hit the ball.)

    Let's compare that to the pockets on the tables at the APA World Championships:



    Yes, that is a picture by team player Jon Goncalves of the actual pocket cuts of the tables at the APA World Championship. Take note of a couple of things:
    - the gaping maw of the pocket aperture
    - the cut of the pockets (angled inward to bring the ball into the pocket)
    - little to no shelf -- the ball will drop even before you hit the pocket facing
    - not obvious in the picture, the down-angle of the pocket facings (the top of the cushion on the pocket facing overhangs the pocket)

  5. We Facebook-Live streamed *all* of our matches during the whole process, and those matches are all available to anyone, with permissions set to "Everyone." Some of the most disheartening comments we saw were when our skill-level "2," Ariah Parker, was playing her match. The comments mentioned her great fundamentals, how she was obviously very aware of where she was standing at the table, aligning herself, placing her feet on the shot line, and stepping into the shot. She did this EVERY SINGLE SHOT (great PSR!) and was delivering the cue confidently. They said to the effect, "*THAT* is a skill level '2'?!? That's not like any skill-level 2 I'd ever seen!"



    Ariah is a very enthusiastic player, willing to learn, with no bad habits to undo or ego to get in the way. She's constantly consulting the higher skill-level players on the team, not afraid to take a timeout, and when you teach her something, you will smile, because you will watch her use and integrate it right away. She *wants* to become a better player, and you will have the pride that you had something to do with it.

    Here's the obvious, common sense reply to that notion of lower-numbered skill level players "shouldn't have" proper fundamentals: keeping in mind Bill's intention for creating the team in the first place, don't you think that it's not only a courtesy but a DUTY of the higher skill level players to teach proper fundamentals to the lower-numbered skill level players? To NOT teach your lower-numbered skill level players, because perhaps you want them to STAY at that skill level, is the very definition of sandbagging. Not the other way around.

  6. Yes, we had five players that were raised one skill level during our time in the APA World Championships. (No players were raised 2 skill levels.) That is not in dispute. What is in dispute is the record of these players to be raised in the first place. As an example, our 4 had a 2-2 record and was raised anyway. Others had a 1-2 record and were raised. So the notion that the players were just rolling over people is utter malarkey. What really happened is that they were a TEAM -- when one player fell down, the other players chipped in and picked him or her up with their own match.

  7. Related to the item above, it is significant to note that the team played and won the Regionals in Albany NY on Diamond 7-foot tables (better equipment) and most important to note, NOT A SINGLE PLAYER WAS RAISED IN SKILL LEVEL.

  8. From the second match onwards, there was a "green-shirt" (a watcher) watching every single match, start to finish. Not a peep was heard until after the semi-finals -- 9 matches later -- because the team had nothing to hide the whole time. They just played naturally, to the best of their ability, and to what the equipment (described above) allowed them to. Also of particular note is that captain Bill Jackson made great choices. Team matches are won and lost purely due to captain abilities. In Five Ball Combo's case, 9 team matches engaged, 9 team matches won.

  9. Some notable people in the industry stopped by to sweat our matches and comment here. Freddie Agnir and Anthony Marcino are just two examples. They saw NOTHING that would indicate sandbagging, and in fact, noticed the opposite -- that the other teams just weren't stepping up. We saw skill level 8s (as just one example) who grossly underperformed, perhaps fell apart, during their match. I don't want to mention particulars nor who their opponent was on our team because I don't want to call people out. But these people, if they're reading this, know who they are.

I apologize for the long post, but I (and the team) feel that some perceptions and misconceptions needed to be cleared up.

Please feel free to ask questions,
-Sean


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"They haven't got brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake, and they don't think." -Eeyore, The House at Pooh Corner

Last edited by sfleinen; 08-21-2019 at 04:05 AM. Reason: EDIT: fixed some grammar
  
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08-20-2019, 08:29 PM

Thanx, Sean....I was waiting for your post....astute as always.


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08-20-2019, 08:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celophanewrap View Post
2400, Thatís pretty good, I hear itís a fine event. Thatís almost 20% of the amount at the
APA event and close to 1/4 the tables.
I imagine on a percentage basis the amount of drunks is close to the the same.
Iím sure there is the evidence you speak of, but itís not in that photo.
Youíd do well to heed your life lesson, I can also take a photo of a closed and empty bar
As I said, this was a REGIONAL tournament, not nationals.

Reading comprehension is not your strong suit is it?

I posted a short video of a slower time in the tournament room (singles as opposed to teams).

The level of dumbfookery on this forum is amazing sometimes.

Your best move at this point would be to leave the cork on the fork and enjoy your applesauce.


I don't like making plans for the day, because then the word "premeditated" gets thrown around in the courtroom.

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08-20-2019, 10:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverCity View Post
As I said, this was a REGIONAL tournament, not nationals.

Reading comprehension is not your strong suit is it?

I posted a short video of a slower time in the tournament room (singles as opposed to teams).

The level of dumbfookery on this forum is amazing sometimes.

Your best move at this point would be to leave the cork on the fork and enjoy your applesauce.
Well Chuck....
Leave the cork on the fork, what does that mean?

I’m sure someone will send along the pre-edited version, after reading it a couple of times I figured what you have likely figured
by now, you just ain’t worth it.
I like your style, it’s a bit infantile, but good, clever

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08-20-2019, 11:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celophanewrap View Post
Well Chuck....
Leave the cork on the fork, what does that mean?

Iím sure someone will send along the pre-edited version, after reading it a couple of times I figured what you have likely figured
by now, you just ainít worth it.
I like your style, itís a bit infantile, but good, clever
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eJ0iGZ7Ms8

Glad you like my style.

Youre very welcome.


I don't like making plans for the day, because then the word "premeditated" gets thrown around in the courtroom.

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08-21-2019, 02:10 AM

So if the matches were being watched, and the players were moved up to their "proper levels" , it seems to me that both teams are now ready to play the finals at their proper levels. Why disqualify a team after watching them and moving them up. The team rose to the occasion and got screwed for it. Thats bullsh!t


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08-21-2019, 03:27 AM

That whole bullshit post is the equivalent of telling the police officer that you couldnít help doing 70 in a 55 because the road was so straight and smooth so you shouldnít give me a ticket! The cop doesnít care and still gives you the ticket..

You broke the rule..whether it was on purpose or just bad luck you still broke it. The Apa Enforced their rule. Bu bye..go play some where else.


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08-21-2019, 03:57 AM

I guess my question is this:

If the team had a “we don’t give a flip” attitude about whooping everyone, and acknowledged it would make it tougher to get to Vegas...why didn’t they self declare at higher skill lvls once they made it? If they knew Ariah was playing so great, and if any had been to Vegas before to see the eqmt difference, it is their responsibility to proactively announce themselves at a higher lvl.

By the way, I applaud their attitude and approach to the league ( I LOATHE SANDBAGGERS!!), but I think they made a mistake here and got caught in the rule. (and i am from Georgia, nearby the poolhall of the team that won after the DQ)

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08-21-2019, 04:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichSchultz View Post
I guess my question is this:

If the team had a ďwe donít give a flipĒ attitude about whooping everyone, and acknowledged it would make it tougher to get to Vegas...why didnít they self declare at higher skill lvls once they made it? If they knew Ariah was playing so great, and if any had been to Vegas before to see the eqmt difference, it is their responsibility to proactively announce themselves at a higher lvl.

By the way, I applaud their attitude and approach to the league ( I LOATHE SANDBAGGERS!!), but I think they made a mistake here and got caught in the rule. (and i am from Georgia, nearby the poolhall of the team that won after the DQ)
That's just the point -- we hadn't been to Vegas before. Regionals, yes, but Vegas? No. We assumed that, like Regionals (which used Diamonds), that the equipment would be better than what we're used to playing on.

And an important point -- the description above about Ariah and her fundamentals wasn't supposed to be an acknowledgment that "she's playing great" (as in over her skill level). She's a skill level 2 to be sure, as she hits everything center ball, and makes mistakes (both shot choices as well as missing the shot) just like any other skill level 2. The description above was merely to address some comments made on the Facebook-Live stream (remember, we streamed and archived every match on Facebook with permissions set to Everyone) about how just because she has good fundamentals, that she therefore shouldn't be a 2. If there's one definition of sandbagging that we think everyone is overlooking, it's this notion that a 2 should look like they've never picked up a cue before. That's malarkey -- it's the duty of the higher-skill level players to instruct and coach the lower-skill level players on proper fundamentals.

Also, after receiving the notification that the team was going to be DQ'ed, the board gave the team a dispute form and 15 minutes to fill it out. The team huddled and filled it out with most of the points above. When they allowed the team back in to present to the board, only THEN did they ask the team why didn't the team ask the LO to be manually raised if they knew any of the players were close to the next skill level. The issue is that we have no visibility into what the stats that the LO sees as far as whether, say, our "5" is ready to go up to a 6. How are we supposed to know/ask for borderline players to be manually moved up to the next skill level?

Yes, I agree that our good intentions got us caught in the system. What this post and discussion is supposed to do is enlighten people that we are NOT sandbaggers.

-Sean


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08-21-2019, 04:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by trob View Post
That whole bullshit post is the equivalent of telling the police officer that you couldnít help doing 70 in a 55 because the road was so straight and smooth so you shouldnít give me a ticket! The cop doesnít care and still gives you the ticket..

You broke the rule..whether it was on purpose or just bad luck you still broke it. The Apa Enforced their rule. Bu bye..go play some where else.
I don't normally respond to troll posts, but I'll bite on this one, even with its "buh-bye" nastiness. Exactly what "rule" did the team break?

-Sean


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08-21-2019, 06:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfleinen View Post
The issue is that we have no visibility into what the stats that the LO sees as far as whether, say, our "5" is ready to go up to a 6. How are we supposed to know/ask for borderline players to be manually moved up to the next skill level?

Yes, I agree that our good intentions got us caught in the system. What this post and discussion is supposed to do is enlighten people that we are NOT sandbaggers.

-Sean
This could have simply been an oversight by the team captain. It happened to me a while back at LTC's. Had a 3 moved up to a 4 during the tourney and it kept us from being able to stay within the 23 point limit. I was disappointed, but mostly I felt I let my team down as a captain. Now, I can tell you every team members w/l record, handicap, MVP standing, average points earned per match, and I always keep a close tab on average innings per match.

Point is, now I am much more equipped to know when one of my players is in position to potentially rank up. The difference is that many people start to sandbag, I simply request my LO to move them up for the tourney if possible. Maybe the team captain will use this as a learning opportunity. good luck and I hate that you guys used so much time and resources on this unfortunate scenario.
  
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08-21-2019, 06:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jokrswylde View Post
This could have simply been an oversight by the team captain. It happened to me a while back at LTC's. Had a 3 moved up to a 4 during the tourney and it kept us from being able to stay within the 23 point limit. I was disappointed, but mostly I felt I let my team down as a captain. Now, I can tell you every team members w/l record, handicap, MVP standing, average points earned per match, and I always keep a close tab on average innings per match.

Point is, now I am much more equipped to know when one of my players is in position to potentially rank up. The difference is that many people start to sandbag, I simply request my LO to move them up for the tourney if possible. Maybe the team captain will use this as a learning opportunity. good luck and I hate that you guys used so much time and resources on this unfortunate scenario.
Thank you, jokrswylde. I know the captain is absorbing what happened, and he and the LO are working behind the scenes to help the National office understand what happened.

As for the the time and resources working on this, it's actually well worth it for folks to understand as well what happened, instead of "Five Ball Combo are a bunch of sandbaggers, broke the rules, and deserve to be DQ'ed/2-yr-banned/LO-fined."

Thanks again for the understanding and the commiserating,
-Sean


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08-21-2019, 06:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celophanewrap View Post
Well Chuck....
Leave the cork on the fork, what does that mean?

Iím sure someone will send along the pre-edited version, after reading it a couple of times I figured what you have likely figured
by now, you just ainít worth it.
I like your style, itís a bit infantile, but good, clever
You're like, the only one that refuses to see that the APA clearly is rife with sand-baggers, lay-downers and handicap manipulators.

There's screenshots above your post, that clearly indicate that lots of people don't like it (including myself) and are aware that it's happening with MANY teams.

So much so that it becomes the reason to not want to join a t team!! There's something fundamentally wrong with that. I think the people you talk to and the articles you read about this might be a little skewed a certain direction.

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had just like the one above..... many others like us, too.
  
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08-21-2019, 06:57 AM

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Originally Posted by sfleinen View Post
Thank you, jokrswylde. I know the captain is absorbing what happened, and he and the LO are working behind the scenes to help the National office understand what happened.

As for the the time and resources working on this, it's actually well worth it for folks to understand as well what happened, instead of "Five Ball Combo are a bunch of sandbaggers, broke the rules, and deserve to be DQ'ed/2-yr-banned/LO-fined."

Thanks again for the understanding and the commiserating,
-Sean
I haven’t seen too many people calling you guys cheaters/baggers. Mostly i see people just acknowledging that the written rule was broken. But they aren’t making a judgement beyond that. I know I am not judging you...just stating that it is unfortunate that the rule was broken
  
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08-21-2019, 07:03 AM

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Originally Posted by sfleinen View Post
As for the the time and resources working on this, it's actually well worth it for folks to understand as well what happened, instead of "Five Ball Combo are a bunch of sandbaggers, broke the rules, and deserve to be DQ'ed/2-yr-banned/LO-fined."

-Sean
I don't think many believe you or your friends are sandbaggers. I think it is obvious that your friends' team played hard and well only to find themselves in a predicament. You shouldn't translate some posters general defense of all things APA, as an indictment on you and your friends.

As far as the time and resources working on this, I agree it is worth it but for a different reason. It may help other team captains and LOs to avoid such a predicament in the future.
  
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