Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leaving (for) Las Vegas

I fly out tomorrow morning, which also happens to be my 45th birthday. I remember a few years ago assuming I'd mark my 45th with a race somewhere in a sneaky angleshoot at the First O-45 category prize, but since then things have moved on and poker has replaced running as my primary competive outlet.

24 days in Sin City, away from the support network of family, will be a challenge. Slightly more so since for the last week I've run like an hippo online: lots of effort, but to no great avail. When I was running like God in May I naively assumed it would continue and was already adding "IK a day, give or take" to my Vegas roll, but in the last week subtraction has been the more frequent arithmetical operation. On the positive side, I think I'm still playing well, and I've battled on through it without getting too upset with myself or the world.

Talking to other players who consistently do well, it's clear to me that their success is not solely down to them being good players who know all the plus Ev moves, or running well, but also preparing well, both mentally and physically, so I've put a lot of focus on that this week and in the next two before the main event.

Speaking of the running, I'm back training somewhat seriously. While my international career is over, I see no reason not to continue at the highest level as an individual, and I'm already tentatively targetting a few races in the next 12-18 months. Yesterday I went for a session of 200 metre sprints to start the messy business of getting some speed back into these ageing legs. A few kids kicking a ball around asked me "for a race". I was more than happy to oblige them as it broke the monotony of solo 200 metre sprints. Eyeing them up, practically every one of them looked like a potential banana skin, particularly the sleek kid apparently of eastern European origin who asked, the two wiry African kids (well, we all know them blacks run faster than whitey, right?). Ironically I kicked all their asses except one very unhealthy looking local kid I'd almost totally discounted who effortlessly kicked mine. So you never can tell. Thankfully, I'm past the age when losing a sprint to a 12 year old could be regarded as humiliation (in fact, I'm also past the age when beating a number of 12 year olds in said sprint could be regarded as a triumph of sorts). So for once I was a perfectly good loser, shaking the young man's hand.

One thing I found very heartening is that in a resoundingly knack...er, working class, area such as Blanch, here you had a bunch of kids from a mix of ethnic backgrounds all happily playing and identifying together, all speaking with the same accent. I'm not saying that integration should ever be foisted or forced on immigrants, but when it's offered in friendship as a positive, it's refreshing to see it bear fruit. In our council constituency, three African candidates ran, one for FF, one for FG, and one as an independent. While none of them were elected, all performed creditably, and I think it is to our credit as a society that within a decade of arrival immigrants are already participating in our political life and starting to climb the ladder.

Also good to see Joe O'Higgins get elected to Europe. Even if I weren't an unapologetic left wing fanatic (and I am), Joe would be exactly the kind of principled contrarian I'd want representing me.

And how funny was it to see the latest in the long line of creepy Christian right startups, the creepily "full marks for echos of Latin splurging clergical child molesters" titled Libertas, get their comeuppance, or rather they're thanksbutnothanksance, from the general populace? How funny was it to see yer man Ganley bleating about miscounted votes only for it to emerge they'd been overcounted to the tune of 3000 votes? Adding further evidence that extreme conservatism is a mild undiagnosed form of mental illness sharing many symptoms (paranoia, lack of empathy, delusions of grandeur etc.) of other mental illnesses. Also funny to see Ganley publicly announce he was taking his ball and going home.

Today I was eating breakfast when suddenly the kitchen door was flung open with considerable force. I prepared my vocal cords for a "what the fuck?" shout at whichever of the kids was responsible when I noticed there was nobody there. I peered out into the hall. Nothing. Then down. And there, looking up at me, was my daughter's dwarf rabbit, with a look of defiance that said "I am Craig O'Kearney, and I will open doors anyway I damn well want, so deal with it old man".

I love that rabbit. Not to speak ill of the dead or anything but our last poor unfortunate, Pebbles, was a very dim creature by comparison, only vaguely aware of his surroundings at the best of times, a tragic perpetually puzzled creature muddling through life in a fog of confusion before dropping dead from a heart attack in the aftermath of an unprovoked feline attack which presumably simply reenforced the point that he'd have been safer staying in his box permanently. But Craig is an explorer that no box could ever hold back, an adventurer, a risk taker with a glint of curiosity in his eye and a cut to his jib that says he's ready to take a big hearty chomp on the carrot of life. He also responds to his own name an a few commands, and anticipates the opening of doors in advance so that he's poised to bound through them before they shut again, which in my book makes him a kind of rabbit Einstein.


bizarrely enough, while jogging half-heartedly around the environs of Raheny at the weekend, I was issued with a similar challenge by a couple of kids. I declined - my ego needs all the help it can get.

good luck in Vegas, hope you run good in the ME.

Happy Birthday Doke! Hope its a good one!

Good luck in Vegas - will be watching out for you... don't go running in the heat over there again!

The very best of luck (or actually just not getting bad luck) in Vegas Dara.

If you get a chance could you list on here the events your playing (just the tourney number) so I can keep an eye on how your doing.

You have the game, discipline & mental attitude to do really well in at least one of these and I hope you do so.

Thanks Stuntman, challengind old guys to races must be the new craze. I'm having a hard time imagining a sophisticate such as yourself jogging - are you sure you weren't jaunting?

Thanks Queenj. Running in Vegas - too good a chance to miss. I think I've persuaded Dagunman to join me in a 5K race on Saturday.

Thanks Thomas - will try to get a list of events up as soon as I decide my schedule. First WSOP event for me will almost certainly be the $1500 NLH event starting on the 20th.

Happy Birthday Dara!
We'll have to go out for dinner when you get here to celebrate!

That rabbit sounds a bit 'special' alright, sounds pretty funky.

Weather here is it's usual whey better than home standard, however perhaps it's just not as warm as it has been in previous Summers. We were reliably informed by our taxi driver yesterday that the forecast for the weekend is 108F+

Safe journey, see you soon!

Belated Happy Birthday

I'm 28 and beating my six year old is sometimes a struggle, maybe I need to lay off the KFC!

Good luck in Vegas


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More