"Howard The Coward"

JerseyBill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The Miz and I went to the U.S. Open nineball tournament in Barry Berman's poolroom. Norfolk Va. on Sewell's Point Rd. before Barry moved it to the hotel and acquired the next poolroom.
Steve did well in the tournament I remembered he collected about 3000$ which was okay in those days. I got knocked out after winning two matches so I was bored and had nothing to do. HERE comes Howard Vickory I suppose he got knocked out the same round that I did. I asked him to play one pocket (my undercover specialty) for at least 50 a game I really don't remember could have been a hundred. I didn't play well in the tournament because I was coming off of a layoff and hadn't had enough time to get up to speed.
Howard was a steady nineballer but his one pocket was suspect. The Miz saw across the room that we were about to do battle and gave me the office that he was in on the bet. (The office is a group of hand signals that designates either your in or out on the bet , or youre in a bad game or a good game
.) I knew I normally would like the game I was sure I could win and Steve did too because he requested half of my bet.
Steve hadn't really bet on me before, mostly I bet on him. I wanted to impress him with a nice win but the pool gods weren't going to have any of it. I Blew 300$ and took the steam like I never have before.
After the tournament Steve and I were driving home and he asked how much he owed. I said" ZERO,,I dogged it so bad you don't deserve to pay." He argued and I don't remember who won out.
As we approached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on the way back to Jersey I had this impulse to throw my Szambotti in the BAY. My cue was protected by a heavy wooden cylindrical case and it was heavy. When I threw it out of Steve Mercedes convertible it didn't reach the water and by the time Miz realized what I had done we had gone 50 yards at least. He hit the brakes and said "Go get it you nut case" I said "nope I don't want it" (400 dollar cue back then) He backed up on the bridge fifty yards and said "Get It" I said "NOPE" and he got out of the car on the bridge in a moving lane and picked up the cue that had ricocheted off the railing back in the road. He gave it back to me and we went home. Not speaking to each other for I'm sure three hours.
This is where it gets dicey. There was a tournament in Tennesse and Steve and I went to it. Howard Vickory was there and I asked him to play and he refused. I think he realized he got lucky when he beat me in Norfolk, but I'm not certain.
About a month went by and we went to another tournament in Ohio and Howard was there. This time I wasn't going to allow him to say no. I waited until Mike Siegel was next to him and a few other good players and barked at Howard "do you want to play?" He said no with some excuse and I said "Hey Steve there's Howard the coward" Everyone laughed and he walked away. Well a couple more times I saw Howard and asked him to play and when he refused I yelled the Howard The Coward remark and in front of plenty of players and finally he couldn't take it anymore . He was in danger of getting a nickname that he didn't want. He caved in and played me. I won the money in six straight games and he quit and we never talked about it again. Steve was batting 500 while betting on me which isn't that good considering my almost 90% gambling win average. Of course Steve had to get the last word in telling me how I got lucky to win and how he almost bet on Howard. That was the Miz, a great sense of very dry humor. Many times he cracked to someone that had no idea he was ribbing them.
 
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JerseyBill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I forgot to mention that everytime I went to a tournament with Steve, (after the Howard incident) Steve would pour the coal on the fire and instigate Howard to play me. I think that Howard finally had enough when Steve loudly called him across the lobby by his new nickname though it was shortlived.
 
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