There are some hustlers who specialize in seemingly friendly insults – usually observed between two good friends. A player using this does not disguise his efforts with any subtleties.
He comes out with straight-forward statements of disrespect. He won’t use the direct, in-your-face, intent-to-wish-you-harm insults, or the deadly defamations guaranteed to require friends on both sides to physically restrain the two of you. These are on the level of rude comments, with the occasional dig at your pride and jab in the bloomers.
These tributes to your lack of skills occur on every shot you have at the table. Even if you were successful, he finds some comment of un-appreciation. Each commentary is intended to test your reactions.
When he identifies a knee-jerk reaction from you, he flags as a useful tool to be used throughout the rest of the match and perhaps even in future competitions.
On the results of shots, he offers comments similar to this:
- What were you thinking about?
- I’ve never seen anything so far off target.
- Don’t you put in any practice time?
- You must have had a brain-fart.
- You are shooting far below your skill level.
- Let me know when you get your game back.
- I am disappointed in you. I really thought you were a decent player.
Any of dozens of other comments, all on a similar theme, keep you from concentrating on playing your best. He can get personal too, insulting your hair style, clothes, and equipment.
Examples are “Who cut your hair? I want to stay away from that place.” “I think I saw that shirt in a discount store for about $4.99. What did you pay?”
Silent insults are also available. On making a great shot, he says nothing and acts if it never happened. On a screw up, he catches your eye, shakes his head sadly, and does a slow, thumbs down.
He knocks your skills, rides your dignity, and vilifies your reputation. His creativity is only limited by his imagination. He probably spends hours searching the internet for insult dictionaries and put-down collections.
You could provide the coldest shoulder possible, and proceed at your best pace. On a hustler using this shark, the effort would be wasted. Instead, try the blunt force approach to request. Loudly and directly as that he be ever so quiet in the name of good sportsmanship. It’s debatable whether this would work.
If you are clever and experienced at slinging insults, play the comeback insult game (common in schoolyard disagreements). Keep up the back and forth.
This distracts both of you from the game, but it can be fun. And, because you are initiating this distraction, you should recover faster and make some quick gains while he is still reeling from your volleys.
If you happen to be around when two players are involved in a insult/counter-insult challenge, stick around and soak up some of the exchanges. You might pick up several good ones to be remembered for the next time you need a few zingers.